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Recently, my friend's computer has encountered a painful error that reads "A disk read error has occurred. Press control + alt + delete to continue." After doing a great amount of research online, we've come to the realization that this is a very difficult problem, and we'd like to try and get the information off of it before undergoing any potential solutions that may or may not erase the data. To that end, I went and bought a 4 Gigabyte USB stick. We were wondering what version of Ubuntu (or Linux) would be best to use as a Live CD and attempt to recover this information? The computer in question is a Sony VAIO VGN-NS190J laptop, if the type matters.

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Any Ubuntu release should be able to copy files from a Windows partition, as long as the hdd is still functional, and the file system is intact. There is nothing particularly special about the VAIO brand in that respect. In case you have a less general, Ubuntu related question, please, do not hesitate to ask. –  mikewhatever Mar 5 '13 at 0:09
If what you're looking for is more than any live operating system than can boot from a USB stick simply to access data in your computer (to copy files from there), i.e. if you also need some special data recovery tools etc. perhaps you can have a look at the numerous options listed on distrowatch.com –  Sadi Mar 5 '13 at 8:27
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