I was asked to assist in recovering information from a Vista Home Premium laptop which fell victim to the "Configuring Updates: Step 3 of 3" loop. This is the process i used, and i copied full 6 gigabytes of files off a stuck laptop.
Please bear in mind that this tutorial is presented as-is and i take no responsibility for lost data or non-functioning operating system which may result from any wrong turn during this process.
0. Have a working PC ready (i recommend an XP PC) and a ethernet hub/switch or a crossover cable
1. Find/Download and burn a CD copy of Ubuntu 7.04 (Feisty Fawn). It has excellent drivers for SATA disks, so this will help you access a SATA drive. I tried the ERD Commander 2005, but it just couldn't see the SATA drive of the laptop.
2. Boot the laptop from CD into Ubuntu
3. Doubleclick the network settings of the Ubuntu, and configure the wired network with a static IP address. Also do the same on the other PC (i used ip addresses 192.168.100.1 and 192.168.100.2 with netmask 255.255.255.0)
4. Connect the ethernet cables of both machines to the hub/switch or to eachother if using a crossover cable
5. On the windows PC, create an empty folder with a short name, like 'recover' and make it a windows share with following security settings:
a) Sharing Permissions - Everyone - Full Control
b) Open Properties on the folder from Windows explorer, go to security tab, add everyone to the list of groups and usernames, and mark the full control Allow checkbox
6. Open Places, select Computer, double click on the disk drive, and identify which files need to be recovered (probably the user's folder under C:\Users
7. Open Places, Network, and from file, select connect to server. The type of conection should be Windows Share. On the dialog box on the server field type the ip address of the Windows PC, and in the share field type the share name (in our example, 'recover'). You must also name this connection (name it 'recover') Then press OK
8. On the left side of the window, you will see a new item, marked SMB and named recover. DoubleClick on it.
9. You may get a dialog box asking for a username and password, type in your username and password from the Windows PC
10. You should now have a view of the shared folder in the right section of the window. The Ubuntu doesn't give any message when connected, but test it by trying to create a folder. If all goes well, you are connected to another PC, and you can start copying your data over to the shared folder
1. I found that the autonegotiation of link speed in ubuntu is not performing at it's best, and you can get stuck with a 100 Mbps Half Duplex link - VEEERY SLOW.
To avoid this, open a terminal (applications, accessories) and type the following:
sudo ethtool -s eth0 speed 100 duplex full autoneg off
This command assumes your thernet network interface is eth0. If you don't know what you are doing, better leave it as it is, it will eventually finish, although aeons slower
2. Be very careful when working with the disk drive while logged in to Ubuntu. Ubuntu is a Linux, and it doesn't care at all about the files on the Vista disk drive. Also, being a linux, using a delete command REALLY DELETES a file, it doesn't send it to a recycle bin.
So again, be careful