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  • File Recovery from a Computer that Won't Boot

Hard drives usually begin dropping hints and clues that they are about to fail before they become completely unreadable. But occasionally, a system crash occurs suddenly and immediately renders the machine unbootable. This occurs when important system files become corrupted, or if the hard drives' boot records or partition tables become severely damaged. This can be particularly frustrating, since your files may be completely intact, yet inaccessible due to the fact that your computer won't start up.

If this happens, there are three possible solutions.

1. Remove the Hard Drive and Attach it to a Working Computer
This is what most technicians would do, given the time, tools and resources. But with the advent of modern mobile computer design, particularly with netbooks and laptops, personal computers are becoming less serviceable by everyday users. The Macbook, for example, requires a special type of screwdriver just to remove the hard drive. Also, depending on the type of hard drive you are trying to recover, you may need to purchase additional adapters and/or enclosures in order to attach it your working computer. Furthermore, it may just be a matter of not owning another computer.

For these reasons, removing a hard drive and installing it in another computer isn't a feasible option for many users. Still if you want to follow this option, you may find our article R-Studio: Data recovery from a non-functional computer useful.

2. Use a Data Recovery Program with a Startup Version
If you install a startup version of a data recovery program onto a bootable device, such as a USB drive or a CD or DVD, you can use it to boot your computer, as long as there are no critical hardware issues with your machine. A startup version of a data recovery program effectively bypasses the operating system on your computer. All the necessary files for booting your computer are contained within the bootable media, meaning that even if you hard drive is damaged beyond recovery, you can still turn on your computer. The advantages of a startup version is that it allows you to access the drive without removing it. However, startup versions are usually limited in their data recovery capabilities, since, by nature, they tend to be stripped down versions designed for working in recovery mode environment.

3. Perform a Network Data Recovery
Emergency data recovery over the network is the best of both worlds from the above two methods. Without removing the damaged hard drive from the computer, you would boot it up using a startup disk with a remote agent installed. This remote agent would then communicate with another computer that was connected via a local area network, or even the Internet. You could then run the full version of a data recovery software from the remote computer, even if the target computer cannot boot.

The advantages here are that you aren't faced with the cumbersome task of physically removing or installing any hard drives, but you aren't limited by the capabilities of a startup version of a data recovery program.

R-Studio comes with a data recovery agent that allows you to perform data recovery over the network. It also includes an agent for starting up an unbootable computer and connecting it to the computer that will be performing the data recovery. This makes it a flexible and powerful data recovery tool for both professional technicians and home users.

Data Recovery Feedback
370 feedbacks
Rating: 4.8 / 5
I really love your R-Studio product, I am doing Data Recovery as a professional, I used RS since the early versions and I loved the product, as far as I can tell, R-Studio, especially the Tech Version (but including the standard) is one of the best and excellent tools for a pro to have in the arsenal of tools in a pro DR lab, especially combining with the specialized Data Recovery hardware providers like DeepSpar, and PC3000, the rest of `wannabees` out there are waste of time, strongly recommend
I lost more than 200K files from my NAS due to a mistake. I tried 3 different recovery solutions over the 4 TB raid disks, and all of them performed ok but to be honest none of them were able to Raw recover the files and rename them with meaningful names out of the Metadata like R-TT did, then I was able to sort again my files and pictures and kind of restore all of them.

R-TT may not be the easiest or most user-friendly solution, but the algorithm used for the renaming saved me THOUSAND of hours of opening ...
Just recovered my old ext4 partition with R-Studio after trying testdisk and R-Linux without success. That partition was overwritten by another ext4 partition and I was losing my hope until I tried R-Studio demo. It detected all my files and directories again!

Bought it and 100% recommend it for anyone with a similar issue.
Genuinely tried every free program available without luck of recovering a deleted file from months ago. Thinking my file was deleted forever and lose all hope I came across this website as a recommendation.

I was reluctant as it seemed pricey compared to other programs, but damn worth every penny. It managed to even find files I thought were wiped from existence.

Kudos to r-tools, thank you!
Why make incremental backups, when there is R-Studio?

I`m an IT professional who has worked from home for over a decade. Early on in my career, I configured an HP ProLiant Server (Raid 1+0) as a workstation that I would remote into from my laptop. As technology evolved, I began to use it only for email and as a config file repository.

A short while ago, one of the drives degraded, but the HP ProLiant Server (Raid 1+0) still functioned fine on the remaining drive. I was complacent and didn`t replace the ...