Recently an old desktop with countless important files on the HDD died. Now I have the drive connected to my laptop through a USB enclosure and am finding it impossible to copy or even read the files I need since they were on my password-protected admin account.
I've tried changing the ownerships and permissions of the folders as well as the individual files under the Properties>Security tab, but still can't do anything with the files. I've also tried booting from the old drive, but that just gives me the exact same BSOD problems I was having on the desktop.
Right now I'm downloading a DVD-based Linux OS in hopes I can boot from it and copy the files to my laptop HDD from there, but it's taking too long and I'm hoping for another solution. Any ideas?
You're heading in the right direction with the optical disc based linux distro. I've recovered files from windows disks numerous times. If you boot of the disk you should be able to copy the files straight from the USB disk to the hard drive inside your desktop. My personal favourite distro is ubuntu.