The first thing that runs through your mind when your computer refuses to startup, or you find a colorful broken line of rainbow blocks at the Windows welcome screen, is to panic. And that’s what I did a year ago after I thought my hard drive had failed. Once I realized I could apply a Linux Mint Cinnamon image to a USB drive, I booted Linux via USB and found all of my data was still available. So, if you are looking to simply move your pictures, music and documents over from a corrupt version of Windows to a thriving version of Linux, you are reading the right article.
First things first, install Linux to your machine. Yes, anything you do or change while running Linux via USB will not be permenant; it only lasts until you shut down or restart your computer. After installation you will notice Linux creates it’s own side of things, including empty Photos, music, Documents and Download files. However, if you click the computer icon on the Linux home screen, visit your harddrive and navigate to your designated file under users, you might just find all of your beloved data.
Rather than hooking up an external harddrive and wading through tons of individual files after a devastating malfunction, simply open your preferred file on your harddrive, the one that contains movable songs for example, and right click Music within the left hand navigation, select “Open in New Tab”. Now all you have to do is highlight your songs, and drag them to the new tab and let Linux do the rest. Now, I deleted the songs from the Windows side as I went because I had to free up space to enlarge the Linux partition… but feel free to do it however you see fit.
Once you have successfully saved all of your precious data to the Linux side, you may delete the Windows partition, and add the other space to your Linux side, thus freeing yourself from Window’s wrath… I mean ties that bind, ugh, cutting the apron strings? Well, I think you get what I mean. Keep in mind that you will need to download Wine, or VirtualBox through the Software Manager to run your previous Windows programs (which will most likely require reinstalling).
P.S. For those interested, please check out my previous posts, Windows to Linx: There and Back Again, and Linux Mint Partitions: Two Towers, to read about my experience and tips transitioning from Windows 7 to Linux Mint 13: Cinnamon, as well as working with Linux Mint Partitions through GParted. Thanks for reading 🙂