Quincey Hobbs COLUMN
More than one trick can be used to restore missing files
Q My wife was trying to start our computer but it will not start. There is a message that says that a file is missing.
The computer is an upgrade from Windows 98 to Windows ME. We don’t really have any important information on the computer but we do have some digital pictures on it that we would like to get if we could. Do you have any idea how to get pictures? – J. Russell
A. The answer is in the message. The error message will tell you exactly what file needs to be replaced.
There may be a way around this file depending on what file is missing. Nevertheless, you should be able to get your operating system back or at least be able to retrieve your pictures.
First, use your ace in the hole, your backup. I know that you have a backup of your system.
In the absence of a backup, I would try to start the computer in safe mode. In Windows ME, this is done by holding down the “F8″ key while the computer is booting up.
You should hear a beep, then see four options listed. Select option number three “Safe Mode.” Safe Mode is a stripped or “low carb” version of your normal operating system.
From here you should be able to perform a system restore. If you go to the start menu and look in the system files that are in the accessories header in programs, you should see system restore.
The system restore establishes a memory of your computer’s system files and settings. This may sound like a backup but it really isn’t. These memories or checkpoints, as they are called, do not remember what data you have stored.
In system restore, select a checkpoint date before you started having problems. When the restore is complete, you should have access to your pictures, but you will need to reinstall programs that were not installed at that checkpoint.
That doesn’t sound like a bad trade-off to me.
Worst case scenario: You cannot boot into safe mode. There is another method to retrieve your pictures.
Install another hard drive onto your computer and set it as the master and your current hard drive as the slave. Once your current drive is set as the slave, then it will be seen as a storage drive.
Look on that drive for your pictures and transfer them to another drive or media. You can accomplish the same thing by installing the hard drive with the pictures to an existing computer as the slave drive.
Quincey Hobbs has more than 10 years of experience in the information technology field including time working with signal routers (hubs) as a switch communications team member, team member of the University of Arizona’s Center for Computing and Information Technology and as an instructor at Pima Community College. E-mail questions to firstname.lastname@example.org or send a fax to Business Editor at 573-4569.