Move files from desktop Windows to MacBook?

AppleFan22

macrumors regular
Original poster
Jan 3, 2014
239
10
Okay, so I really buggered up my mother's computer, and long story short, I somehow deleted all of the drivers, and now folders can't/won't open. At all. However, all of the stuff (pictures, files, videos, etc.) are all still there. Just inaccessible.

Is there a way I can connect her Desktop Windows machine to my MacBook Pro to rescue the files? The only connections it has that may be useful are USB, HDMI, and VGA, all of which I can connect to my MacBook. I tried plugging a USB to USB cable into both ends, but nothing happened. Maybe I did something wrong, I don't know. Any ideas would be appreciated!
 

doynton

macrumors 6502
Oct 19, 2014
299
15
The only connections it has that may be useful are USB, HDMI, and VGA, all of which I can connect to my MacBook. I tried plugging a USB to USB cable into both ends, but nothing happened.
None of those will work. You can either fix windows or buy one of these cables USB to SATA, remove her Windows HDD and plug it in. Assuming it isn't encrypted that would be the easiest.
 

AppleFan22

macrumors regular
Original poster
Jan 3, 2014
239
10
None of those will work. You can either fix windows or buy one of these cables USB to SATA, remove her Windows HDD and plug it in. Assuming it isn't encrypted that would be the easiest.
If I were to remove the HDD, and fix it all up nice again, would it then be able to be plugged back in again, and run as normal?
 

doynton

macrumors 6502
Oct 19, 2014
299
15
If I were to remove the HDD, and fix it all up nice again, would it then be able to be plugged back in again, and run as normal?
You can certainly put the disk back in. If you want to fix the Windows installation it would only be possible to fix it in the Windows machine though. You need to re-install the drivers you deleted - you can't just copy them in (and OSX will not even write to NTFS by default).

Easiest is to take out the drive and copy all documents, photos etc onto your MacBook using a SATA to USB converter cable. Then they will be safe.

Then put the disk back in the Windows machine and try to fix it. If it boots and you can get internet it will be pretty easy. You'd be better off asking on a Windows forum (like eightforums.com for example) for help for that though.
 

Gjwilly

macrumors 68030
May 1, 2011
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SF Bay Area
Which version of Windows?
Do you have the Windows install disc or the factory restore discs?
Assuming the drive is still good you should be able to get her back and running in a few hours.
 

AppleFan22

macrumors regular
Original poster
Jan 3, 2014
239
10
You can certainly put the disk back in. If you want to fix the Windows installation it would only be possible to fix it in the Windows machine though. You need to re-install the drivers you deleted - you can't just copy them in (and OSX will not even write to NTFS by default).

Easiest is to take out the drive and copy all documents, photos etc onto your MacBook using a SATA to USB converter cable. Then they will be safe.

Then put the disk back in the Windows machine and try to fix it. If it boots and you can get internet it will be pretty easy. You'd be better off asking on a Windows forum (like eightforums.com for example) for help for that though.
I wish it could be that easy to download the drivers; I've botched it so bad that files and folders won't open. It just comes up with an error message. As someone below said, it'll probably have to be a clean install...

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Which version of Windows?
Do you have the Windows install disc or the factory restore discs?
Assuming the drive is still good you should be able to get her back and running in a few hours.
Windows 7 Professional. I think we have the disk, but I'm not 100% sure. I do however, have access to the Windows 7 Pro ISO image. If I burnt that to a disc, and tried booting from that after wiping the hard disk, would I be able to install the OS again from the ISO disc?
 

Gjwilly

macrumors 68030
May 1, 2011
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SF Bay Area
Is there a sticker on the bottom or the side with the Windows 7 key code?
If so then yes, burn a CD from the ISO, boot off the CD, wipe the hard drive and install fresh. Then just go to the manufacturer's website for the rest of the drivers.
If there's no sticker, and if you can get the computer running you can use a freeware key extractor to find the key. Magical Jelly Bean has a free key reader out there and I'm sure there are others.
If she had Microsoft Office or other $$ programs there are key readers for those also.
 

Gjwilly

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May 1, 2011
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SF Bay Area
If it's a fairly new machine it could also have the license key in the BIOS. Search for Windows 7 SLIC and you should find threads telling you how to modify that ISO into an OEM version that will automatically read the key from the BIOS and self-register.
 

AppleFan22

macrumors regular
Original poster
Jan 3, 2014
239
10
Is there a sticker on the bottom or the side with the Windows 7 key code?
If so then yes, burn a CD from the ISO, boot off the CD, wipe the hard drive and install fresh. Then just go to the manufacturer's website for the rest of the drivers.
If there's no sticker, and if you can get the computer running you can use a freeware key extractor to find the key. Magical Jelly Bean has a free key reader out there and I'm sure there are others.
If she had Microsoft Office or other $$ programs there are key readers for those also.
Finding the code for activation is no problem, but will I be able to set it up first, without the code?
 

Gjwilly

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May 1, 2011
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Finding the code for activation is no problem, but will I be able to set it up first, without the code?
I'm not getting it.
If Windows is so buggered that it needs to be reinstalled then you need the code in order to install it.
And until you've installed it, there's nothing to set up.
 

maflynn

Moderator
Staff member
May 3, 2009
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Boston
Finding the code for activation is no problem, but will I be able to set it up first, without the code?
Windows will give you 30 days I believe if you don't activate it upon installation, so you don't need the code initially.
 

AppleFan22

macrumors regular
Original poster
Jan 3, 2014
239
10
I'm not getting it.
If Windows is so buggered that it needs to be reinstalled then you need the code in order to install it.
And until you've installed it, there's nothing to set up.
Any time I've set Windows up before you can wait to activate it. So you can install windows and blah blah blah, but you can wait a couple of days, even weeks before you are asked to activate it.

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Windows will give you 30 days I believe if you don't activate it upon installation, so you don't need the code initially.
Cool. I think it may have been fixed, but we may still have to reinstall Windows, as the HDD's partitions are askew
 

Gjwilly

macrumors 68030
May 1, 2011
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SF Bay Area
Any time I've set Windows up before you can wait to activate it. So you can install windows and blah blah blah, but you can wait a couple of days, even weeks before you are asked to activate it.
Yes, you can wait to activate but depending upon which installer you have you might need the code during installation.
Some of the installers have multiple version of Windows and the key code tells the installer which version to install.
 

dwig

macrumors 6502a
Jan 4, 2015
650
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Key West FL
...If I burnt that to a disc, and tried booting from that after wiping the hard disk, ...
DO NOT DO THAT ! ! ! !

At least for your first try. Don't wipe the old HD. Windows has a "repair" function that can very often reinstall Windows on a drive with a mangled copy of that same Windows version. When this works, all of you old files will still be in place along with all or most of the system configuration.
 

AppleFan22

macrumors regular
Original poster
Jan 3, 2014
239
10
DO NOT DO THAT ! ! ! !

At least for your first try. Don't wipe the old HD. Windows has a "repair" function that can very often reinstall Windows on a drive with a mangled copy of that same Windows version. When this works, all of you old files will still be in place along with all or most of the system configuration.
I have everything backed up anyway, so it's all okay. The partition is back now, we just need to try and move the drivers or whatever. I just don't see why Windows needs to be so bloomin' complicated, and have loads of files you need to download and install, to make other files work...