Performing File System Surgery

Ugh. In the middle of moving files around on my home Windows PC the filesystem was corrupted and I lost access to my files. I knew the files were there but the the few configuration files that Windows XP needed to give me rights to my folder were kaput and because I was the administrator on this machine, it couldn’t even boot up.

I installed another copy of the core Windows files into a new directory (c:\windows2) so that I could at least boot up.

Access Denied when I tried to navigate to my Documents folder.

I found a helpful forum post on a site called Techspot and learned that this is what happens when you install another version of Windows on the same computer. The Administrator on the new version of Windows didn’t have rights to read the files written by the old Administrator.

Following instructions on the forum post, I then booted up off of that new install in “safe mode” and re-assigned the file permissions and am now copying over the files out of that old directory into a new disk.

Disaster averted! Without my old Outlook .pst file, I didn’t even have my Grandmother’s phone number! Yet another reason why I really should get this stuff uploaded to the cloud!

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One response to “Performing File System Surgery”

  1. Manny Avatar

    Next time something like this happens, I find that a Linux Live-CD is an invaluable tool to have around (and you can even put it on a 1GB USB stick to carry around with you). You can boot up straight from the CD (or USB disk), mount your hard drives, then copy any files you need to off onto a separate drive and then re-install Windows. Plus its handy to have if you need to reset a Windows administrator password *wink* 😉

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