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Recover Files From c prompt

Posted on 2010-01-06
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Last Modified: 2012-08-13
I have a machine that won;t boot to windows.  all I need to do is copy files form the my documents folder to an external drive.  I know how to get to the c prompt on startup.  How can i copy files to a USB drive?  Any better way to recover?  It has been so long, what are the DOS commands for copy?
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Question by:cadwal01
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by:Kamaraj Subramanian
ID: 26196313
connect your harddrive to another machine and configure as it secondary (through jumper) and take the data's
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by:LeeTutor
ID: 26196316
The basic command is simply COPY.  There are also other options such as XCOPY.  You will probably need the CD (or CHDIR) command to change directory to whatever "folder" as it is now called to get to the source or the destination folder.  And  to change from the C: hard drive to your external hard drive you just type the drive letter (e.g. F) followed by a colon.  The syntax for all DOS commands may be found by typing the command name followed by an argument which is a forward slash followed by a question mark, e.g.,  COPY /?
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by:LeeTutor
ID: 26196334
So, for example, you might need to do something similar to this:

C:
  (to change to the C: drive in case you're not already there.

CD \"Documents and Settings"\<username>\"My Documents"
   (to change directory to the My Documents folder of username account, where <username> is to be replaced by the actual user name)

Then, assuming your external drive letter is F:, type the copy command:

Copy *.* F:

Any source or destination folder or file name that contains blanks needs to be surrounded by quotation marks.  The "*.*" in the last command copies ALL files in that folder to the F: drive.
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by:LeeTutor
ID: 26196342
Here is a pretty nice tutorial on using DOS commands:

http://www.bleepingcomputer.com/tutorials/tutorial76.html
Introduction to the Windows Command Prompt
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nobus earned 2000 total points
ID: 26198042
easiest way is to boot from a bootable cd and copy your data - i prefer Knoppix since it let me use USB disks, network, and internet :
ftp://ftp.kernel.org/pub/dist/knoppix/KNOPPIX_V6.0.1CD-2009-02-08-EN.iso      Knoppix      
www.nu2.nu/pebuilder/                               BartPe
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by:senad
ID: 26198061
DIR C:\MYDOCU~1 /s/p

XCOPY C:\MYDOCU~1\*.* D:\SAVEDOC\*.* /s
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by:senad
ID: 26198072
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by:BillDL
ID: 26199458
I tend to agree with itkamaraj's suggestion of temporarily connecting the drive from the problem computer as the slave drive in another computer running Windows.

If the affected hard drive is formatted as NTFS, then you will have to have a computer running Windows 2000 up to to Windows 7.  If the hard drive in the problem computer connects using the wide grey "ribbon" cables (IDE interface) then you will need a hosting computer that has a spare IDE connector, or a spare SATA connector to which you can attach an adapter.  If the affected computer is a laptop and the drive is easy to remove, then you should be able to find an adapter to suit, but don't mess with trying to remove a laptop drive if you aren't sure and confident in what you are doing.

The other alternative, if you can easily remove the drive from the problem computer, is to get a cheap external usb hard drive enclosure to suit the size of the hard drive (2.5" for laptops, and 3.5" for Desktops).  An external usb enclosure for a laptop hard drive usually doesn't need an external power source, whereas the ones for 3.5" desktop hard drives come with a power supply adapter.  The drive would be seen as a "Removable Drive" in any fairly recent PC running later versions of Windows that don't require special drivers, ie. Windows 2000 onwards.

Assuming the hard drive is formatted as NTFS, then there could be permission issues accessing the user folder on the affected hard drive unless you were logged in on the hosting computer as a user with administrative rights.

I think you really would be better off working in a graphic user interface eg. Windows computer with affected drive attached as slave, or boot affected computer to a Linux Live CD as suggested by nobus.  Although the Linux desktop, etc may be a little unfamiliar at first, it is fairly similar in use for tasks like copying files out to removable drives.  Like nobus, I've used Knoppix for such things things, but my own personal preferences for Live CD are (in no particular order of preference):

http://www.livecdlist.com/pclinuxos
http://www.livecdlist.com/linux-mint
http://www.livecdlist.com/damn-small-linux
http://www.livecdlist.com/ubuntu
http://www.livecdlist.com/suse-linux

They all do much the same thing, which is to load the resources to memory and run in their own environment from there without using the hard drive containing the Windows installation.
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by:nobus
ID: 26201246
i posted even a windows cd, but i prefer Knoppix (see comment)
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by:BillDL
ID: 26201994
Hi nobus.  Sorry if it sounded like I was being critical of your suggestion or critical of Knoppix.  I was just reiterating that I felt your suggestion of a Live CD was better for cadwal01 than trying to work from the command line, and in so doing I mentioned my own preferences just to give alternatives if cadwal01 couldn't get the feel for Knoppix.
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by:nobus
ID: 26202286
no - not ar all  - everybody is entitled to his opinion, and post it here imo
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by:LeeTutor
ID: 26211054
cadwal01, any feedback?
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Author Comment

by:cadwal01
ID: 26235677
Sorry, called out of town.  Let me work through the options and get back with you all by end of weekend.

Regards.
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Author Closing Comment

by:cadwal01
ID: 31673820
I ended up using Bart PE because, well, it downloaded first.  Worked like a charm.  All answers helpful.  Much thanks.
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by:nobus
ID: 26264712
i suggest you still try the knoppix as well - it's very use ful (eg for not booting PC's) , and supports USB, LAN internet ...and more !
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