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Thread: Thank you KNOPPIX!!! You saved my XP data

  1. #1
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2006

    Thank you KNOPPIX!!! You saved my XP data

    Hello All,

    I would just like to say a word of thanks to the developers of Knoppix. Thank you.

    Background: I use System Commander (SC) and was dual booting Win98 & XP and tried to do a DVD install of Mandriva. Followed instructions in SC to create partitions and such and after this was done, rebooted system into both Win environments to make sure that everything still worked. Set BIOS to boot CD first and put the mandriva DVD in drive. (drive is a DVD-rom and have booted both CD & DVD's successfully in the past). Anyway, rebooted and nothing I could see happened (screen went blank and hung-no hdd lights, no spinning of disc, etc...). waited about 5 mins and then pressed reset button. SC window came up and clicked XP icon. Got the message "HAL.DLL corrupt or missing...". Hmmm not good. Rebooted and tried Win98. "SWH??? file missing, please reinstall Windows" hmmm really not good. now nothing boots. Have a utilities disk that will allow me to read NTFS partitions, so used that and data was still there. Ok, that's good. (Took words of wisdom from Douglas Adam's: DON'T PANIC!!! hehehe XP data safe just can't get to it yet.)

    Nothing of importance on Win98 partition so reinstalled 98. I still like SC, and Partition Cdr. (PC) so after 98 was back up and running, including all MS updates even though no longer supported, system at least bootable. Reinstalled SC and PC as well. Went searching to find out what may have caused problem for XP in first place and discovered that most common problem is that XP can't find boot.ini file, normally located on 1st bootable disc. (BTW, have 3 drives in system. 98 & SC on drive 1, XP on drive 2, empty FAT32 drive on 3 just for times like these.) 1st bootable disc was the one with 98 on it and having just reformatted and reinstalled 98, no chance of finding boot.ini at all. Tried to run bootcfg /rebuild from booting XP's CD but for some reason Scandisk failed and can't rebuild or make boot.ini if it does. hmmm. I had Mandriva's 2006 live CD as well, so tried booting it and basically, I couldn't find my way around in the OS. Very convoluted and not user intuitive IMO. Now gotta try something else. Came across Xandros as friendly to Windows users, but they don't have a live CD version, however forums mentioned Knoppix. Came to Knoppix and read forums and low and behold, found instructions on just how to use it to recover from Windows non-booting problems and everything is on a single disc....Hoooray!!! Just what I'm looking for. Downloaded and burnt Knoppix CD, and with hope and glee, checked MD5 download and burn was good. Now getting really excited Put CD in drive and rebooted computer. knoppix's boot process found all HDD's; 1 on ATA66 and 2 on ATA100 controller as well as all 3 optical drives, 2 floppies, ZIP disc and USB flash drive. (heavy grinning, won't be long now ) ...more linux boot lines then it get's to autoconfig of bar and little spinning line start going and then it FAILS!!! DAMN!!!! heart sinks and heavy sighs ensues....hmmm....remembered from boot screen there were options about pressing F2 & F3. ok, so reboot again and look at options. Some familiar some greek. One says failsafe. No HW detection at all. hmmm Seems like a good place to start. Added failsafe switch and boot process takes off again and it boots successfully. YEAH!!!....However happiness is short lived when discover that mouse doesn't work and can't click anything. Try to ALT-TAB/CTRL-TAB/SHIFT-TAB my way around and eventually the drives on the left side of screen become selectable. Arrow to various drives and ALT and Arrow my way around and find drive with XP data. Arrow around some more and data is intact. Folders and Files are found, and tested a few .pdf's and .doc files and everything is working. YEAH!!!! Happy thoughts are here again. Now time for bed since it's 4 AM and know that data is OK.!!! Can at least sleep peacefully with that knowledge.

    8 hours later back in front of system. Successfully booting 98 so now head to Knoppix site and user forums for some intense searching and reading. find several posts about Knoppix failing on bootup and most likely culprit is DMA. Solution is to start Knoppix with NODMA switch. Search a little more but don't really find anything else that seems to pertain to my particular setup so back to resetting BIOS to boot CD again and restart Knoppix. Everything going as before, only now little green bar with spinning line completes and boot process continues... YEAH!!!!! We're booting, we're booting, I'm gonna get my data, I'm gonna ----- CRAP, SON OF A B%^$#@ and many more explitives !!!!! Monitor screen goes blank with OSD (On Screen Display) saying something about a Frequency mismatch...and basically everything stops. OK...calm down and think. Remembers seeing frequency options from F3 screen at bootup. Check. Check current freq and so rebooot adding various H & V freqs. Happens several times and getting frustrated. Ahhh Idea.. reboot to Windows and check what freq is being used there. Running 1024x768 V=72 H = 41K. Check video settings and only option listed as changeable is the V. Ok will start there.

    Reboot, F3...boot nodma v=72 (enter) far so good,...little green line with spinning pipe....good.....KNOPPIX MAIN SCREEN!!!! YEAH!!!! HAPPY DAYS ARE HERE AGAIN!!! I'm gonna get my data, I'm gonna get my data, naaay naaay na nayyy nay!!! (sticks out tongue at computer..heheheh )

    Mouse works, so can now click. Open Firefox and head back to Knoppix site in case of any more surprises...Ahhh...have to make drive that I'm going to copy data to Read AND Writable...back to destination drive and find options to do that...Ok, drive set to R & W access....goto XP drive, find Docs & Settings, grab the whole damn folder copy paste...Yeah!!! it's working....(20 mins go by - 9G's worth of data) done. Grab Prog files, and extra copy of outlook expresses .dbx files. These were also included in the docs and settings folder but at this point, having them by themselves felt better....Ok...all data backed up to FAT32 drive.

    Logout of Knoppix, reset BIOS to normal boot, boot into 98. Check data on backup drive. All is visible and accessable. YEAH... Make quick backup of data to DVD. Don't need a HDD fail at this point. Data on DVD also good. Proceed with the install of XP and recovery....Thinking about putting Knoppix on HDD but after reading several posts...many of which say STOP...DON'T DO IT...DON'T EVEN THINK ABOUT IT!!! Ok I'm convinced...Keep Knoppix on hand in case of any more problems.

    Thanks again to the developers and everyone that had a hand in creating this wonderful product, and to the various contributors to this forum that had the same types of problems and to those with the answers.

    Now to go back to looking at either for Xandros or Linspire as my next Linux attempt. Still not sure of which one is better, so if anyone is still reading this post after this.... your comments either way would be welcome.

    Have a great day,


  2. #2
    Member registered user
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Hampton Roads, VA USA

    My $.02

    For my part, I've tried Lindows (Linspire) and didn't like it at all. I have not tried Xandros so can't comment on that. If you've discovered you like Knoppix there are multitudes of remasters that are geared for HDD installation. But, if you'd like the distribution on which Knoppix is based head over to and check them out. Using the network installation you can have a system up and running in short order (with the caveat you have broadband). Debian defaults to the Gnome Desktop but you can change it to the KDE that comes with Knoppix.

    Just my little opinion.


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