I have several PCs in my house. One of them, a Microsoft Windows XP stopped booting for me. I was not sure if the motherboard went bad or the disk drive. This PC had a lot of files on it that were important for my wife and her on line studies. Unfortunately, I was a little re-miss in making routine backups. I did not want her to lose here files, and wanted to at least get the latest copy of her files saved off before I performed major surgery o
Luckily, I had a couple of Ubuntu Live Cd's on hand.
I simply placed a live CD in the bad computer and booted into Ubuntu. The live CD noticed the bad drive, which was no longer bootable, and mounted it. It seemed that just the boot record od the drive was bad, as all of the data was still there. I sort of lucked out, that I was able to recover all of the data in her Windows directory.
I copied the files I needed from the disk that was not longer bootable onto my usb thumb drive. This is done under the "Places" menu. The process was really easy, as you can just use click and drag.
Once I had the file copied I exited out. I am not sure if the motherboard is bad, or if it is the disk drive. I may just wipe the drive and start fresh. Still have to make a decision on that one.