Linux tools to recover files from Windows laptop that shutsdown on boot?

I have another computer that I’m trying to rehab with my new Linux foray. It’s a laptop that is using Windows 7 that shutsdown on boot. Sometimes it shutsdown with the blue screen and sometimes it shutsdown immediately without any screen change. The last BSOD was a BAD POOL ERROR.

I would love to recover the pictures on the hdd if possible using some Linux tool or solution, if one exists.

The current hdd is still being recognized in the BIOS, so I guess that tells me there is at least a little life left in the hdd. I ordered an identical hdd and transfer cable in hopes that I could mount it on my current desktop and pull the pictures off it, but this may be $34 wasted by my ignorance. lol

Am I heading the right direction?+

Before doing anything advanced – did you try all the proposed solutions?

I have 2 ideas:

  1. Disassemble the computer, and grab the HDD out of it. Then install it in a good working PC, and try to get the files. This is probably safer, as the BSOD-ing computer may have other defective hardware components.
  2. Boot that PC from a live USB. Mount the HDD, then attach an external drive; try to copy the files…

It shutsdown in Safe Mode as well. Albeit, it does take longer before the shutdown occurs. In Safe Mode I’ve never seen the Blue Screen message.

Thanks for the suggestions. I think we are on the same page. The drive should be in a few days. I’ll report how it goes.

Another option. Get on e-bay or buy from somewhere else a HDD to USB cable. Less then $5.
Boot the problem PC from the live Linux USB and also attach the now external USB HDD.
From your live Linux, you should be able to access all the files both on the HDD in the PC and the external HDD. Copy anything you want from the internal HDD to the attached USB HDD. You can do this w/o doing any disassembling.
One word of caution. The external HDD made need to be formatted. If so, be sure to format the external HDD and NOT the HDD inside the PC.

1 Like

Thank you for the advice. I’m excited to see what happens when the hardware arrives.

That means your Windows is fine but you have something installed and running that causes the issues. If you want to analyze which program is at fault, then remove every program one by one, until those crashes don’t happen anymore. This way you will find out which program is the culprit.

1 Like

How can I remove anything if the computer shutsdown in seconds in an y mode? I barely get to the Control Panel after it loads before it shuts off.

I live-booted Peppermint Linux to see how it acted and it didn’t shutdown. But I didn’t see the hard drive I’m trying to recover in the File System.

You said you can enter Safe Mode. There it is.

I can. But it shutsdown there as well, it just takes a few seconds longer. I did mention that I’ve never seen the blue screen message in Safe Mode, it just shutsdown without the blue screen info.

I would go for the second of these two options.
After you boot to the Linux version, if you go into the control panel and check the disk, that should tell you if you can continue using the disk after.
A boot repair in Windows may help fix the issues once you have got your stuff off
Or after you have made a copy install Linux on it and copy the files back

Only issue with suggestion 1
If you put your disk into another different machine, Windows May detect the change and not boot correctly, ask for the licence number and in some cases I have found offered to reformat the disk and just wipe it… so you loose everything

Bonne courage


I didn’t mean it as a system drive, but an additional drive. That troubled drive stores some precious data and a damaged (Windows) system, even the file system may be dirty there.
Sorry, that I wasn’t clear enough.
Let’s pseudo name drives, and computers:
Nice computer “A” with good working system drive: “drive A”.
Problematic computer “B” with the drive to save data from: drive B.

I would get drive B from computer B out.
Install it in (or attach to) computer A. Boot computer A from drive A.
Copy precious data from drive B to drive A.
Before trying to reuse computer B, I would check that there’s no serious HW problem. Power supply gives appropriate voltages, heatsinks should be cleaned, run RAM test for a couple hours, etc.


It should be unmounted among devices, isn’t it there?
I don’t really know peppermint, but


fdisk -l

should report something that remembers your drive, does it?

1 Like

Good answer I would go for that


It quite often happens that odd or random crashes are caused by bad RAM or RAM DIMMs being badly seated in their sockets
Never forget to test for bad RAM. Bad RAM or badly seated RAM can appear as almost any random error or crash.

Observe sensible anti-static-discharge practices while doing the following.
Remove the RAM from its sockets, check that the pads are clean (no obvious dirt or corrosion), re-seat them (or it) and “wiggle” it up and down a couple of times before locking it in place. I have come across this around 5 times in the last 15 years.
The RAM itself might be faulty (I have had that a few times). If you have spare RAM swap it for the old RAM and re-test. If the laptop has two RAM DIMM sticks, and if it will run on just one, remove one at a time, swapping it from socket to socket to determine if either DIMM or either socket is faulty.

These are important trouble-shooting steps. Don’t ignore them. I have fixed a few “bad” laptops and had them suddenly come “good” again after trying these simple steps.

Never forget the simple steps.


Update —

I was able to recover the data trapped on the laptop hard drive, but the sudden shutdowns are still occurring even using a different OS.

I did find a small copper tubular piece , that appeared to be snapped off from some indeterminable source, that was under one of the RAM sticks. There is obviously something broken somewhere and I’m now assuming that is the main cause of the shutdowns.

I’m giving up on a solution seeing how I’ve already replaced the thermal paste, hdd, and battery pack and still have a bad PC. I’m hesitant to add to the cost of this failed repair to order RAM and test it out only find that it didn’t help either.

I thank you all for all the guidance in this process, I’ve learned a lot thanks to you.

Happy New Year!

p.s. - I was able to recover the photos from the hdd trapped in the bad laptop by using a transfer cable and mounting it to the working desktop.

1 Like