If Windows is suffering from serious problems, sometimes the only option to fix a computer is to boot into another operating system. For just such occasions, one tool that you should keep to hand is a CD to which you've burned a copy of the Ultimate Boot CD software, otherwise known as UBCD.
UBCD is, as the name suggests, a bootable disc. You can download it as an .ISO image file from:
http://www.majorgeeks.com/files/details/ultimate_boot_cd_%28ubcd%29.html but be aware that it runs to around 620 MB.
Once you've downloaded the file, you'll probably want to burn it to a bootable CD or DVD disk. When you need it, just pop it into the troublesome computer and boot from the CD or DVD drive instead of the hard disk.
You may then find, for example, that you can access and rescue files via the inbuilt Linux OS that were not accessible from the broken Windows installation. You can thus copy off the files before attempting any further or riskier repairs.
The UBCD boots straight into a helpful menu so you can explore the options. One of these is PartEd, which is a graphical Linux-based disk partition editor, virus scanner and file manager. So it's great for fixing machines when Windows simply won't let you in.
The Ultimate Boot CD is free, so download and burn a copy now. You might need it in the future. And if you have an older copy lying around, note that it was recently updated so you may wish to refresh your existing disc.
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