Rescuing files from Vista machine before installing opensuse

My Vista desktop crashed. I can’t get it to boot or repair itself. Backup CDs won’t boot it. I’m now planning on installing openSUSE, but want to check to be sure there aren’t things on my Vista desktop that I failed to place in a different drive for safe keeping. I have booted it from the openSUSE CD I created, but can’t find a way to view the files on the C: drive. Can this be done?


Yes. Assuming the hard drive is not damaged, and there is no other hardware damage, saving should be easy.

First, download and burn opensuse 11.2 LiveCD.

Then boot from that CD. Connect an external hard drive and/or memory stick.

Format them with yast, with ext4 filesystem. Create only one primary partition on the external device. Mount with:

mount -t ext4 /dev/sdb1 /mnt

Then mount the Vista’s partition. This step may be more difficult. I will tell you once you reach there.

Then browse through the disk and save files to /mnt

This is outline only. Sure you will have many questions.

There are other ways if your computer is connected to a network or if there is a second hard drive in the desktop.

Thank you for the speedy reply. I will get on it, but it will probably be a slow process at this time of year. Don’t give up on me. I will get back to you.


If the hard disk is suspect, I would recommend downloading and using the manufacturer’s drive fitness utility. You may be able to have it replaced under warranty, and they’d want this anyway.

With data on the drive, there’s a problem scanning though, as media errors may cause more bad blocks; with the disk going into self-destruct the more it’s used.

So try the data retrieval first, with a dirty NTFS filesystem the journal format is undcomented proprietary MS unreverse-engineered secret and a mount is normally failed in that situation, so that might be one of the difficulties ZStefan has in mind.