I always advise my friends and customers to keep a copy of the Linux Live CD. The reason is that in the event that your Windows crashes (Well, they often do), you can boot up the Linux Live CD and rescue all your data.
Most Linux distribution comes with a Live CD. The purpose is to allow the user to test drive the OS before installing on the PC. This bootable Live CD contains the entire Linux Operating System and it doesn’t require any installation. Thus, if your Windows has died, crashes, or refuse to boot up, there is no need to moan over the loss of data and blame yourself for not backing up. You just need to pop in the Live CD and you’ve got a simple, user-friendly Linux OS that you can use to access your data and even surf the Internet.
Getting a Linux Live CD is free. You can download the Ubuntu Live CD ISO file from http://www.ubuntu.com. Once you have finished downloading, you can burn it into a CD (with a ISO burner) and there you have a bootable Live CD.
In the event that your Windows malfunction:
- Boot up your PC using the Ubuntu Live CD. On the boot up screen (see the screenshot below), select Start or install Ubuntu. Don’t worry; this will not install anything on your PC.
- After booting into the Ubuntu, plug in a USB drive. It will be auto detected, appearing as an icon to your desktop.
- Double click on the icon. An explorer window will open up.
- On the menu bar at the top of the desktop. Click on ‘Places‘ and you can see a list of other drives in the PC. Select the drive that contains the Windows OS. Another explorer window will show up.
- Navigate to the folder that contains the data you want to rescue. Copy and paste the files (or drag and drop) to the USB disk explorer window.
- To shut down the Ubuntu OS, click on the power button on the top right of the desktop. A window will appear and ask you if you want to Suspend, Hibernate, Restart or Shut Down. Click on Shut Down.