New here - PC trouble-shooting/recovery

Hello - I'm new to this site and would like to learn more about PC trouble-shooting and recovery. At work, we have a help desk for support but most of the employees turn to me for all their computer assistance. I know a little bit about a lot but am light years from where I would like to be when it comes to trouble-shooting and recovery issues.

My latest project is someone's personal PC - a Compaq Presario 5000 running Win XP - that won't boot up. I'd like to either get it running or copy the HD data to an external drive but have no idea where to start. If you have any helpful input, sites, articles, etc. I'd appreciate the info.
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  1. Hello and welcome to Tom's Hardware Forums.

    No error messages of any kind or does it simply do nothing?

    I suggest you remove the hard disk and slave it to another system - preferably XP - then remove all the data you need to store. After that, run Checkdisk on that disk to eliminate that as a possibe fault. While that's running I would run a LiveCD of a Linux build on the suspect computer to test the hardware but you might skip that step and wait till the hard disk scan is finished then put it back in and see if that helped. Try Safe Mode first by tapping Function 8 at startup.

    If you're going to be doing dmuch of this, a Linux OS wlil be useful to have - find PCLinuxOS at and burn a bootable CD using something like ImgBurn - an equally free and useful tool.

    It might also be worth clicking to Report your post so the Moderators can move it to the XP sub-Forum where more and possibly better advice will be available.

  2. Thank you Saga Lout. I stopped by BB and picked up a DYNEX PATA external HD case and was able to retrieve the data and do a scan/repair on the drive. I'll reinstall and hopefully everything will be A-OK.

    BTW - what is the benefit of the Linux OS and is there a big learning curve??
  3. unomis said:

    BTW - what is the benefit of the Linux OS and is there a big learning curve??

    Modern Linux have graphic user interfaces (GUIs) that are hard to differentiate from those of Windows systems and you only need to use command lines if you really want to. The main advantage is that Linux can mount a disk with a dodgy file Windows NTFS system when Windows itself cannot. Another good point is that Linux isn't bothered by Windows file access permissions or passwords so files that are inaccessible through Windows can be seen and retrieved using Linux.

    LiveCD versions are available so you can get to know the system before deciding whether or not to add a second bootable option in a Windows machine. Ubuntu and some others have the facility to install within Windows as an application and play around with it.

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