How to recover important files from Windows locked or not working
Not sure how to recover important files from locked windows? Find out how to do this in this guide. We have some important files saved on the hard drive or in the memory of your PC but the latter has suddenly decided to leave on foot? A blackout has made our PC inaccessible, which hangs on startup without letting us enter the desktop?. How to recover important files from Windows, in this case, follow the step as given in this article.
In these cases, recovering files imported from locked or non-working Windows is of vital importance, especially if we do not have any other backups to use to recover the files.
In this guide, we will see how to recover any type of file (video, documents, music etc.) from any PC with Windows installed but blocked at startup or showing strange windows of error.
Acting quickly is obviously a priority before the hard drive ends up under stress and decided to break permanently, losing forever all the files saved.
Once the files are saved, it will be possible to concentrate on the recovery of the operating system, with the last beach of the format (which we can now execute without fear).
1) Download the recovery tool
The first thing to know is: even if Windows is locked the files are always available on your hard drive, just find a way to access it.
Obviously, to be able to access the files we will have to use an “external” operating system, able to operate independently from Windows and accessing the disks present on the PC, so as to show us all the files stored.
The best free tool is definitely a GNU / Linux distribution, a complete operating system bootable from a CD or USB stick to be started before Windows.
There are lots of GNU / Linux distributions to use for this purpose, but we recommend using Xubuntu (a lightweight and high-performance version of Ubuntu) for its great compatibility with all peripherals and the ease with which it can be downloaded.
Xubuntu is available as ISO (image file) downloadable either via browser or via torrent (perfectly legal being free license).
If we are interested in the ISO downloadable directly via the browser, simply click on the following link -> Xubuntu ISO direct download , for the i386 32 bit version and the 64 bit version.
If instead, we want to download the ISO using the BitTorrent network just download the appropriate file from the following link -> Xubuntu ISO file torrent
Whatever method you choose, we wait for the download to finish, then move on to the next step.
2) Preparation CD, DVD or USB stick
At the end of the download, the ISO image obtained must be saved on a support to be used.
In the past CDs and DVDs were very fashionable, but a USB stick with at least 2 GB of space is also good for creating the recovery environment.
To use optical media, simply use any burning program to save the ISO on the disk.
If instead, we need a USB stick (faster) we can help you in creating boot support with a free program like UNetbootin, available for free here -> UNetbootin
Just download it and start it to make it immediately operational (of course, first connect the USB stick to the PC that we are using to create the recovery environment).
Select the Disk Image item and then click on the button with the dots (…) to select the ISO image of Xubuntu, then down select the drive letter of the USB stick to be used in the Unit item and then click OK .
After a few minutes, the USB stick with the recovery environment is ready, we can move to the PC with Windows locked or not working.
3) Start recovery environment
Insert the USB stick or the disc burned into the reader/writer of the PC with Windows locked and start by pressing the power button.
To prevent the PC from immediately calling up the operating system on the hard disk (instead of the disk), repeatedly press the F8 key as soon as the PC starts up; this should be enough to call the Boot Selector or Boot Menu, a small BIOS / UEFI tool that will make us choose which support to boot.
The graphics may change the basis of the BIOS / UEFI present, as well as the key to press repeatedly to see this screen appear.
You can do a search in this direction on Google looking for the model of your motherboard (or model of the notebook) followed by “Boot menu”.
We select in this menu the voice related to the key (USB, Removable or similar) or the voice related to the disc player to finally start the recovery environment.
After a few minutes of waiting, we will see finally start Xubuntu with a usable desktop, a mouse pointer, and various tools ready to be exploited.
Let’s make sure that the mouse and keyboard work properly and get to grips with this operating system because it will be the basis for recovering important files from locked Windows.
4) Access to fixed disks to recover files
After becoming familiar with the new operating system (which we remember works completely from USB or DVB support, it does not save anything on the disk and only works in RAM memory) we can try access to the hard disks and partitions on the Windows PC locked using the File Manager tool, which can be obtained by clicking on the mouse button at the top left.
Once opened the File Manager window we will see all the partitions and disks present on the PC locked in the side panel. Recognize the right partition from the size and type of folders it contains.
Click on the disk or partition icon to open it immediately in File Manager; if it opens correctly it checks that it is the right partition looking for the Windows folders inside.
As soon as you find the right partition you will need to take you to the path where Windows saves all user (or users) files, ie the Users folder.
Here you will find all active users on the PC, with the ability to access the common folders ( Downloads, Music, Videos, Documents, and Images ) to recover all the files.
The files saved in this way will have to be copied from another part. So it better to keep another quite large USB stick or better a portable hard drive. Save all the files in a new space separate from the locked operating system.
After the recovery of the files you just turn off the recovery environment (Mouse-shaped button -> shut down or restart) and try to recover Windows in complete peace of mind knowing that our files are now safe.