A friend of mine gave me a laptop to fix. It has XP Pro on it which won't boot. I started by re-installing XP Pro after spending many frustrating hours trying other ways to solve the problem. Anyway, it gets so far with the installation, does a memory dump, checks the hard drive integrity (which comes through ok) and then reboots and starts installing again. When the installation gets so far, the same thing happens again; in effect, an endless loop that goes no where. I ended up using an evaluation version of Ontrack HDD Checker to check the hard drive. Basically Ontrack does four different checks. The hard drive fails one of the tests. Of course I fully expected it to fail the surface integrity test, but passed that and failed the file system integrity test. I was left with two ways to go. 1) Put in a new hard drive and install XP from scratch, or 2) Format the existing hard drive, then let Ontrack do its thing again and then if it passed all four tests, install XP from scratch. By the way, has my friend been doing backups. Don't be silly; of course he hasn't!!! I then thought, "How the hell am I going to get his data off the hard drive?" It just so happens that I have an external USB CD recorder. It also happens that his laptop is modern enough that it will boot from CD. With me so far? What I was thinking of doing is making a bootable CD which I can put in the inbuilt CD-ROM to boot the system up with. One problem, however, is that I wouldn't be able to get USB support for my CD recorder. So the question is, "Does anyone out there know how or where I can get a software product that I can put on CD that not only boots his laptop, but also loads the necessary drivers that will make the laptop's USB ports available?" Of course, it would also have to support writing to the CD. Sounds like a big ask to me, but who knows? Of course, what would be good would be a Windows operating system on CD, however that's not likely due to the different types of hardware. It would not have been a problem is it was a desktop computer as I could've simple put his HDD in my desktop computer, configured it to be the next logical drive and voila. Unfortunately, laptops are not nearly so flexible.