accessing windows formatted hd using linux?

Posted on 2004-08-09
Last Modified: 2010-04-20
Hi, i was messing around wiht my windows xp and now it wont load. i will freeze just before the first windows picture ever show up.
The problem i had was because i replaced one of the system files in the system32 directory.

There can be 2 solutions to this, i thought. one is to use another computer to access my hd and replace the file with the one i backed up, or i can access it using linux.

the second option, i have seen someone doing it before. that guy boot using a cd and was able to access my hd which was formatted in windows, and fix the windows from there.
the thing is, the person is thousands miles away and out of contact. i need to fix my computer asap.
can anyone guide me? i need to access my windows hd and replace the corrupted file with the one that i backup(original file)

or perhaps, is there a better way to fix?

Question by:sutejok
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LVL 11

Expert Comment

ID: 11759235
can you boot up to linux ?

if you can there is a hope but if your file system is NTFS then the chances are slim ( i think )

if the file system is other than NTFS you can most prolly mount the windows filesystem by typing

mount /mnt/windows   {most of the times ,this will work }

you may need to be root.

if it is NTFS ..I am not sure bout the current distros but the ones 2-3 years ago could not write to NTFS partition they could read from NTFS but could not write . BUt there are projects which attempts to do that
you may like to check 


Author Comment

ID: 11759451
hmm. i cant boot on that computer. but i got another computer which has one.

but is it possible that i boot using cd rom? thats how my friend did it last time. the computer has not access to linux but he somehow use cd rom to boot.

Accepted Solution

chikkala_cnu earned 500 total points
ID: 11759747
You can solve your problem if you can get knoppix from

after getting knoppix you can boot using this cd and it will automatically mount all hard disk partitions in your system.

Then you can copy the files you want to recover your windows.

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Author Comment

ID: 11760338
hmm. looks like a good one. but i need a smaller size solution.. i'm using dial up... is there one?
LVL 22

Expert Comment

ID: 11760381
You have 2 options...either the one recommended by chikakala cnu:

boot using a live CD. Like him, I'd recommend using Knoppix, but there are a number of other 'Live CD' distributions that will also do the trick. See here for a fairly complete list:

Any of them that say 'rescue' by them are probably suitable. Remember that once you've booted using the live CD, that you'll need somewhere to copy the recovered data to.

The second approach is to install the hard drive into another PC that can read NTFS partitions as the slave drive. You can then copy the data across as required.

NB - Rule of thumb when doing data recovery - never write to the disc that you are recovering from (unles you know EXACTLY what you are doing).

Alternatively, there are always 3rd party organisations that wil lcharge you an arm and a leg to recover the data that you require. If you were in UK, then I'd be more than happy to do it...provided the price was right;)
LVL 22

Expert Comment

ID: 11760399
Final thought - there is a nice utility called hany recovery for use if you have done significant amounts of damage to the data and its structure called handy recovery ($30) which is very easy to use if you are trying the recover fromt he drive connected as a slave:
LVL 22

Expert Comment

ID: 11760447
LNX-BBC is an alternative:

Knoppix- Lite also would be suitable:

TomsRtBt supports ntfs and is the tiniest distro for this type of work..but not that user friendly:

I haven't tried any of the other ercue discs, so I cannot vouch for their maturity or capabilities.

LVL 23

Expert Comment

ID: 11760476
Unless you absolutely can't avoid it; trying to use Linux to make changes to a NTFS filesystem is not a good idea.  It's possible but dangerous due to the experimental nature of the drivers able to write to that kind of filesystem.

Seriously, you should try Windows 2k/XP's own recovery console first... boot the system using the Windows CD

When it gives you a choice between Enter to Install and R to repair, choose R. Then login to your installation

The "Copy" command can be used to bring files in from the removable devices..


Expert Comment

ID: 11761687
Try using this floppy version of boot disk. This will be handy if you have floppy drive.

After booting using this you can overwrite system32 file.


Author Comment

ID: 11774465
thx guys. i solved it. someone helped me by pluggin my hd to his comp so i can get the backup file back working.
but i think chikkala_cnu answered my question.
thx guyss

Author Comment

ID: 11774468
thx guys. i solved it. someone helped me by pluggin my hd to his comp so i can get the backup file back working.
but i think chikkala_cnu answered my question.
thx guyss

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