Like in the topic of this post - my boss turned off his PC (quite an old one, based on a Pentium 4, 32 bit) while Windows XP was performing a system update. And of course Windows lost some important files. Now the computer is not starting any more (after Windows XP loading screen, it goes dark and nothing is happening). So, as an Ubuntu and Debian user, I have an idea - I could make a USB stick with a 32 bit version of Ubuntu 15. I could then boot into the Live install version.

Will I have an access to hard drive on this PC?

The reason is that there is a folder with all of the invoices and other quite important documents.

Thank you in advance AskUbuntu!

Best wishes, Raph.

3 Answers 3



Windows uses NTFS as the default filesystem. Ubuntu uses ext4, but has native support for a wide variety of other filesystems, including NTFS (with the ntfs-3g driver).

When you run Ubuntu from a Live media you'll be able to access Windows' drives from the file manager, using the left "devices" bar.

But considering the specs of your boss's computer, you'd have way better performance at recovering the files by using a less resource consuming Ubuntu flavor, such as Lubuntu or Xubuntu. Since it's a simple recovering job, I'd recommend Lubuntu for its smaller size.


You can recover your data using Ubuntu live. Follow these steps :

  1. Boot into Ubuntu live.
  2. Mount the partition that contains the files to be recovered.
  3. Copy the files to any other external storage.

It is possible and I have tried it for myself.


You may find it easier to simply mount the drive in another Windows computer, where it will appear as Drive E: (or whatever). Even if the system files are corrupted, preventing Windows from booting, there's no reason to suppose data files are also. An adapter, with various types of hard drive connector leading to a USB plug is cheaply available, and should be part of every computer trouble-shooter's toolkit.

Alternatively, use an XP installation disk to boot into Recovery Console, and try the routine steps to repair Windows.

If at all in doubt, take this job to someone more expert. You can do harm.

If you are your boss's computer adviser, why on earth didn't you make sure he ran regular backups?

  • 1
    Correct answer, but the OP asked if Ubuntu could do it, Feb 16, 2016 at 15:40
  • The fact that lateral answers MAY be criticised or removed doesn't mean that they always MUST be. Feb 16, 2016 at 17:32
  • I didn't edit, remove, flag neither downvote your question. Just a comment. Feb 16, 2016 at 17:34
  • I suppose you felt it was helpful. Feb 16, 2016 at 17:40
  • Well, I'm writing website for my temporary "boss", so I don't know him well, and he did backups - he copied desktop shortcut to "documents" folder into pendrive every week :) Thank you for advise, just wanted to make sure if I think correctly, mostly because I'm dealing with programming/coding, not really trouble-shooting stuff.
    – Dektiv
    Feb 16, 2016 at 19:16

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.