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Windows XP a Goner? First Aid for your Windows PC

Windows XP a Goner? First Aid for your Windows PC
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Everyone is familiar with the problem: a computer runs reliably for years, and suddenly something goes haywire. Windows XP refuses to boot, leaving you to stare at the dreaded blue screen or other error messages.


Harbinger of total failure: something went wrong with the last boot


Nothing doing: only a reinstallation will help. But how to back up the data?

Another scenario: a user inadvertently launches a virus received by e-mail that starts deleting files from the hard disk. He does the only thing he can: he switches off the computer immediately to save what can still be saved.

In these situations, who among us has not yearned for a bootable CD that would enable you to search the computer for viruses and to burn your important files to CD or back them up via the network? In the old days, with Windows 95 and 98, this was not a problem: you would simply start the computer in DOS mode, rummage around in your pile of dusty diskettes for the virus scanner and a tool like Norton Commander, and back up the data. Although it was a tedious process, it worked.

It doesn't work any more. In newer Windows versions the NTFS file system is used, which offers numerous security features and other advantages. This file structure, which can limit access to certain users, also has a journaling function to restore data and supports encryption and compression without additional software. However, it also has a huge disadvantage: access from other systems, if at all, is only possible with special tools. In addition, access is mostly read-only. While that is enough to rescue data, changes to files such as BOOT.INI are not possible.

All of this means that in order to fix problems on newer systems, you need a few extra tricks up your sleeve. Let's take a look at some of them and how they can be employed.

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