I've got a hard drive with personal files I need. Long story short, when I tried to update from 13.10 to 14.04, Ubuntu flipped out and bricked, and now it won't boot. I want to just do a fresh install of 14.04, but I need some files that are on the old bricked installation. I tried to use a live disk to just copy them to an external hard drive, but the system told me that I don't have the proper permissions to access or edit the files. How can I get these files off before I wipe the old installation and reinstall?
There are two ways you could do this.
If your main computer is a desktop, then you could try using a SATA/IDE to USB. Some models don't support power through USB, you will need to use an alternative power cable.
Or just try using sudo on the live CD to get permission to move the files.