I have had the problem a thousand times, where one of the sales reps I support comes to me and says that that they can't access Windows or that they get the blue screen repeatedly, or their computer implodes in some other such fashion. They are usually quite distraught until I introduce them to their new best friend. I hold up a live CD containing none other than a Linux distribution. Ubuntu
is my favorite, but I also enjoy working with Knoppix
, DSL (Damn Small Linux)
, or PClinuxOS
. Any of these Linux distros can be a great recovery tool for Windows users. Each has it's strengths over the others, so you'll have to decide which is your favorite. You boot from the Live CD, then you can run anything from the CD (coupled with a RAMdrive) and copy Windows files to a USB hard disk or burn them to CD. I have found that doing this is often faster and easier than trying to tell what went horribly wrong in Windows and using the recovery console. In the corporate world I can save files, then simply wipe out the hard disk and start over. Talk about making my life easier, not to mention my user gets to retain their vast library of email and presentations for future use. It is a quick and dirty way to recover from a Windows installation gone bad.