If a computer has no operating system is there any chance I can get my files back when I install Windows again?

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Basically I messed up my computer , I got a weird virus and now every time I boot my computer is says it has no operating system

Other answer:

You can then access the contents of your hard drive and copy them onto another hard drive that you can plug into your computer.
there are many data recovery software
yes you can get your data
remove the hard drive
get a caddy to connect the drive to a usb port (its probably a SATA drive – so you would need a USB sata caddy)

if you have another computer plug the caddy into a free usb port –
If you aint then go to a friends

copy all the files from that drive to another drive(maybe to another external USB drive (you can delete the ones you dont want later)
(personally I would advise using teracopy to do the copying – you can use this to verify the copied files are the same as the original)

dicsonnect the caddy,
remove the drive from the caddy and replace in the computer

TWB has given a very long and detailed answer.

Worst scenario? It's not "virus" at all, and your hard disk has mechanically failed. Then you are out of luck.

Other scenarios involving deleted system files or corrupted partition tables are also possible, and in that case the Windows repair or Linux Boot disk should help.

I would start with the Linux option, because that lets you examine the hard disk without attempting to write anything to it. Even if the disk has been "formatted" there are utilities built in to Linux that can recover data files.

Since you did not list the model number or the OS, this is a generic answer. Some or all of it might help you.
That error is a catch all for many different problems.

The first thing you want to try is Advanced boot option if it came with Windows 7. When you press the power button, start tapping the F8 key and the Advance boot menu should opens. Try selecting Last Known Good Configuration (your most recent settings that worked).

If that does not fix it then try running a Windows System repair disc to see if it can fix the problem. With any luck it might find a problem it can repair. If you do not have one and can find someone who has the same version of Windows you do then you can use the link below to make one.

For Windows 7 systems.


For Windows 8 and above systems.


If you have Windows 8.1 you can create a install/repair thumb drive with the link below. This will allow you to try to repair 8.1 first and if that does not work do a fresh install. Make sure you have a good product key and all the drivers before starting a fresh install.


If you downgraded to or have 10 you can create a install/repair thumb drive with the link below. This will allow you to try to repair 10 first and if that does not work do a fresh install. Make sure you have a good product key and all the drivers before starting a fresh install.


You can skip down to the bottom part about using recovery to set it back to factory settings if there are no files you wish to recover.

If that does not work, the next thing is to try to recover your files. For this you will need a bootable thumb drive(flash drive) so you can boot the lappy. This will also allow you to verify that the lappy and its hard drive is good and all you have is a Windows problems. You will need to find a working puter to download Unetbootin USB installer. You need to read the instruction carefully and know a little about Linux to use this. There can be dragons present if you do not understand what your doing. I make no guarantees.


Once you make the bootable thumb drive you need to add a OS for it to boot. I recommend Linux Mint ISO. Its UI is similar to Windows. Download Cinnamon 32bit.


If you have a Windows 8 or above then you need to turn off secure boot and select boot from USB before using the thumb drive. The thumb drive boot will also allow you to check out the rest of the puter. If it boots and everything else works then that is a good indication that the drive is bad.

If it has a CD/DVD you can burn Linux Mint ISO right to a CD and boot with it.

Once you got the bootable thumb drive created, insert it into one of the USB ports. Also plug in the medium you selected to copy your files to. Press the power button and start tapping the F key that opeens the boot menu. Select the USB thumb drive and it will boot to a menu asking if you want to start Linux Mint. Click on Mint and let the system boot. Find your hard drive and copy your files to your back up medium. If the hard drive is a SATA drive it will show as sda. If it has partitions then the first partition (C Drive) will show as sda1, the next partition will show as sda2 and so on. If you have 2 drives the next drive will show as sdbx. X being the partitions if it has any. Normally external drives show as sdd or sde. I have seen Linux recover data that people claimed could not be recovered. Keep in mind while looking for your files, and this is a Vista or above version of Windows, that you have to find your USER folder. The folder will look something like this. \Users\nameofuser\Documents. Repeat that for music, pictures, and videos.

Lets see if the hard drive can be made to boot again.Since the repair options are not working your best bet is to reset the lappy back to factory settings as if it just came out of the box. This will erase everything on the hard drive. Make sure you back up all your files before doing this.

If your resetting a lappy, make sure you have the AC adapter plugged up. You do not want this process interrupted. This should take one or two hours. It is best to check on it to make sure everything is going fine.

If your lappy came with 8 installed or above there is a good chance that fast boot is enabled. That will make it very hard to get to recovery until you turn it off.

If you can not boot into Windows then try Advanced boot option in safe mode. When you press the power button, start tapping the F8 key. If you have Windows 8 and above you have to be REALLY fast tapping the F8 key to get into safe mode. Once you get into safe mode you will see the advance boot menu. Select repair your computer. (This option is available only if the tools are installed on your computer's hard disk.) Select your language and then enter your user name and password. Then click on (brand name) factory Image Restore and next. Answer the question and it should start the recovery back to factory settings.

Recovery from the BIOS/UEFI. My preferred method.

For Acer Gateway, eMachines, press the power button and when the Acer logo appears on the screen, press the left Alt, and the F10 keys. Release them when the recovery screen opens.

For the rest you press the power button start tapping the F key for your puter and the BIOS/UEFI menu will open. Select recovery from the menu, answer the question and the recovery should begin. Depending on your puter this will take one to two hours.

Manufacturers BIOS menu F key


HP/Compaq ESC

Samsung F4

Sony F2

Dell, Fijitsu, Gigabyte, Toshiba F12

Your BIOS menu should look something like this. Yours might be different. I am posting this to give you an idea of what it looks like.

ESC = BIOS menu

F1 = System Info

F2 = System Diagnostic

F9 = Boot Device options

F10 = BIOS Setup

F11 = System recovery

1. the virus did not delete windows or whatever OS you have, it most likely just re-named a single important file or modified the MBR of the drive
2. take the computer to a repair shop. there is a VERY good chance they can fix it with no harm to your files
yes there is a chance, but there is also a chance that when you put in the operating system it will overwrite the place in the hard disk where the important files was
you can download special data recovery software that MIGHT find some of your files
remember for the future – backup, backup, backup
I backup all my files onto blank dvd's every six months
Master Of Puppets:
You could try data recovery software through a bootable Linux distro, but it's possible the virus could infect other files as well…..
Gamer girl: