yesterday i had a laptop drive that was crashing on me. windows 7 has been running in repair mode for a good part of the day but the thing just refuses to boot properly. the laptop’s built-in diagnostics program confirmed that the hard drive has indeed failed the tests. i had to copy whatever data there is left to save. the big problem was that windows 7 cannot boot properly because of the failing hard drive. chicken and egg. to top that off, i can’t even pop the hood on the thing to get the drive because it will void the warranty—its just a month old.
to get around these problems i used an ubuntu 10.10 usb boot disk to start up the laptop, connect to the network and start copying whatever files i can.