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Unbootable but readable HDD. how to transfer files onto an external?

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August 3, 2012 1:19:58 AM

so my computer recently went kaput and didnt want to boot so i was recommended to reinstal the OS. well if i do that all content will be lost SO im trying to get the data onto an external 2tb HDD and then install the OS and then the content from before BUT i dont know how to create (on windows 7) a system image using a secondary hard drive.. do i need a program to transfer it or what do i do to transfer the files.. so in essence how do i get my files off and onto my external HDD so i can reinstall it after i reinstall the OS? i tried some backup and restore thing but it only uses the c/ drive for backingup and no setting to change it to my other HD.. : heres a physical description: i took out my laptop HD bought a sata cord to connect to my other laptop via 2 usb ports. i need to get my data onto an external via usb with a system image so that i can reinstall the info back on after i reinstall the OS because i think the files corupt and if not then i have to figure out what else could be wrong..

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August 3, 2012 6:08:01 AM

You don't necessarily have to format the drive to reinstall Windows. You can pop in your Windows DVD and try to run a repair installation and see if you can get it booting again. This would be the least destructive option if it works, as you won't need to reset your settings after a new install.

I wouldn't recommend imaging your current OS if you are having problems booting. Since you can access the drive, I doubt it is a hardware problem. Imaging your current Windows install may just transfer your current problem to the new Windows installation. Just write down whatever settings you have, and apply them manually in the new installation.

If you just want to nuke the thing and start over, just hook the drive up to another computer, or boot your current machine with a Linux Live CD, and move whatever you want to keep to your external drive.

If you do go for the clean install option. After you have all your settings in place, and basic software installed, create an image then. That way, you have an image to call on if things go south later. Windows has a utility to create system images and backups.
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August 3, 2012 7:05:38 PM

hmm good imput.
so what happened was i just dragged the important files over to my backup in folders so i can just manually put it back in later. then i decided to give it another go for when it says to either start windows normally or try a repair.. so i waited for the repair to finish and i got to a list of options i could do to try and fix it because it couldnt do it automatically.
since i didnt have anything to back up i tried an OS repair which i had no idea was possible (like you said), so i put in the 3 dvds i made from the beginning, but there was some error code so i just decided to do a full wipe and put it back to factory settings esentially since i had everything. now its stuck on restoring it and its saying "updating system" and its been at 1% for an hour and a half now... wth do i do now... i cant exit and if i turn it off everything will proly go kaput? :s
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August 3, 2012 7:16:23 PM

Hmm, I take it this is an OEM computer, that has a recovery image on a separate partition, rather than a Windows 7 DVD. It could be that there is a problem with the recovery partition that is causing this, or you do actually have more serious hard drive problems than I thought.

If you do have a Windows 7 DVD lying around, just abort the recovery, and do a clean reinstallation of Windows from the DVD. If that doesn't work, that probably means that you have a hardware issue with that particular hard drive. In that scenario, you'll probably have to replace the hard drive.
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August 3, 2012 8:08:31 PM

i wish i did have that dvd.. but an OEM? its just an acer laptop.. and yeah when i first got it you can make a recovery dvd which i decided to burn onto 3 blank disks. and this all happened when my dad slammed the lid.. i had to take the screen out and im going to replace it (because it cracked) possibly if i can get it to work again. but yeah i have no ideaa what happened to it...
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August 3, 2012 8:18:25 PM

Depending on how hard the thing was slammed, it is possible that the hard drive may have also been damaged. Depending on how much it will cost for replacement parts, you may just be better off buying a new laptop.

When you made the recovery disks, were you prompted to make a 4th disk, which is just a copy of the Windows 7 disk? If you have that, you can try to use it.
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August 4, 2012 3:14:55 AM

oh never asked that? :s i dont think.. but yeah i think it might be the recovery worked but it keeps freezing now and its way slower than it was when i first got it.. so if it keeps freezing and what not i dont know if i should just try a new hard drive.. ill probably take it into a store to have it checked but most likely just get a new one :p  too much of a hassle not really worth it anymore lol
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August 4, 2012 3:15:11 AM

Best answer selected by eddyhill1.
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