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My sister's computer has stopped working. I am not entirely sure what the problem is, but I think it is a Windows/software issue. She really just wants to retrieve the pictures off it. I am wondering if I could install a Linux OS (CentOS is the only one with which I am little familiar) on the free space and access her Windows file system. I know there are several 'what ifs', but is this a possibility?

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    A safer alternative might be to use a live Linux distribution on a USB stick or some other removable media, then fetch the pictures to another removable media, e.g. external hard disk. – Sami Laine May 23 '14 at 14:22
  • as SamiLaine said, I would certainly look at booting from a LiveCD or a USB disk before trying to install an OS on the disk's free space. – drs May 23 '14 at 14:31
  • Have made a boot disk on SystemRescueCD. I look forward to trying this out. I hope it works. – Andrew May 23 '14 at 17:35
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Yes !

Better use a rescue distribution like SystemRescueCD. It includes already all utilities you need including partition backup and windows File system support.

It's easy to use. and you can just run it from an USB Flash Drive.

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First you'll have to make sure which hard disk and partition Windows is occupying, let's suppose it's on /dev/sda1.

Open a terminal, run

# mount -t ntfs /dev/sda1 /some/random/empty/directory/

Your Windows files should be accessible from the directory then.

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