Collect data from notebook with messed up screen

theclay
theclay used Ask the Experts™
on
I have a Samsung notebook running Windows XP.  We used it to record some data in the field.  As it was being transported back to the office to get the data off of the notebook, the screen became competely unreadable.  I believe the notebook is still functioning other than the display.

Obvious solutions would be to find some kind of USB display so we can see what we're doing.  I could also plug in a USB keyboard and - using another notebook - figure out which keystrokes to use to copy the data to a thumb drive.

A third option (and this is where i need your help) is to write some kind of script that I could have on a thumb drive that would run automatically when the machine starts up.  I am familiar with C++, but that's about the extent of my programming prowess.

So the question(s) would be:
1. Is it possible to get the thing to run a script from a thumb drive on startup?  Obviously at this point we have no way of accessing the registry or startup menu.
2. Would there be any other simple solution to this problem?  I don't have a USB display device or keyboard in the office.  If we have to, we can go out and buy one, but I'm exploring other options first.

Thanks
Comment
Watch Question

Do more with

Expert Office
EXPERT OFFICE® is a registered trademark of EXPERTS EXCHANGE®
I've got to ask the obvious questions - is there a VGA port on the laptop?  Can you boot from a CD-ROM or DVD and read the screen?  Does the screen work if you boot into Safe Mode by pressing F8 as soon as the BIOS finishes loading?  

You can potentially boot using a thumb drive or a DVD/CD image of a Linux OS, if it's a display driver problem and not a hardware problem you may see the screen that way.  

Commented:
Try connecting the laptop to an external display
Juan OcasioApplication Developer

Commented:
The best solution?  Buy a new laptop.  You can them remove the HD from the broken laptop and remove the data using a USB HD enclosure.

Of cours, the other option would be to get the laptop fixed.  The VGA screen would work short term, but it may be a pain to have to continuously attach it every time someone comes back from the field to retrieve data. If you have a docking station for the laptop, this would alleviate this issue, however
Ensure you’re charging the right price for your IT

Do you wonder if your IT business is truly profitable or if you should raise your prices? Learn how to calculate your overhead burden using our free interactive tool and use it to determine the right price for your IT services. Start calculating Now!

On older windows machines (XP and older) it's possible to automatically run a program by creating a file called 'autorun.inf' on a USB however newer Windows operating systems prevent programs from automatically running as this has become a magnet for spreading viruses, trojans and the like.

Author

Commented:
No VGA port.  This is a notebook with a touchscreen - not a laptop.  All that I have are 2 USB ports.
Do you have an optical drive?  What about Safe Mode?  Do you see any legible video during initial boot-up, before Windows starts to load?

Author

Commented:
I see nothing during bootup and I have no keyboard to hit F8 during startup.  The screen looks like it took a blow - has a shattered look that starts on the bottom right corner - although you can't feel anything abnormal.  It seems like the cover is still good but underneath it's destroyed.  I'm thinking the best move would be to go out and buy a USB keyboard.

Author

Commented:
Autorun.inf works but isn't running automatically as soon as I plug in the thumb drive.  I have to click on the thumb drive to run the program.  If I had a keyboard on the thing it would be a simple matter of typing in the path to the batch file on the thumb drive.  I appreciate all the input here.  At this point I'm planning on buying a keyboard as it will be good to have one around here anyway for similar problems in the future.  If anyone has any other insite I'm still open for suggestions.

Author

Commented:
OK, correction there:  Autorun DOES work IF there are no other files on the thumb drive.  When the only files on the drive were Autorun.inf and the batch file I wanted it to run, it happily copied the files I needed from the dicrepit notebook.

Commented:
Good luck

Author

Commented:
This worked great since this is an XP machine.  Thanks

Do more with

Expert Office
Submit tech questions to Ask the Experts™ at any time to receive solutions, advice, and new ideas from leading industry professionals.

Start 7-Day Free Trial