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I tried to upgrade from 13.04 to 13.10 last night and something went wrong. At first I was able to boot to the log-in screen, but it was showing a blank screen with a cursor.

I used boot-repair to attempt to fix the issue and now it only shows a blank screen. I want to format and install 14.04, but I cannot access my files through the "Try Ubuntu" option as suggested. When I try to copy the files over to another HDD or external HDD I get a permission denied message.

I've just installed Ext2 on my Windows 8 HDD, but it doesn't allow me to view the files without formatting first.

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Step 1: Boot from live media (CD/DVD/USB)

Step 2: mount the partitions that contain the files you need (NTFS if they are from Windows 8) See this and try to apply the solutions there for Windows 8

Then if you have permissions problems accessing the files open a terminal and issue the command

gksu nautilus which will open the file browser with administrative rights (AKA root access) allowing you to copy off the files as needed.

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