My wife's computer blue screened about a week ago, and being it was 2 years old and a laptop, it was correct timing for a replacement. With most blue screens, you can remove the hard drive and place them in an enclosure and USB them to another machine to pull the data off. Well not with this drive. Once the drive was mounted in Windows, XP would freeze up. Once you unmounted it, XP would start running like a champ. This occurred on 4 different machines. Crap!!!
So I tell a coworker, Jim Erwin, about the issue and ask for his advice. He stated that he uses a version of Linux called Knoppix to load a full Linux copy straight off of a CD without a hard drive in the system. I had to shake my head and say, "What?". I couldn't believe you could load Linux from a CD to a running operating system in under 5 minutes with no Hard Drive. Amazing!
So I had to challenge him on this and had him bring his CD and I brought the Laptop in. We put the CD in, hit the power button, and 30 seconds later, Linux says "Initializing Startup Sequence" through the speakers. Absolutely amazing. Once the GUI loaded, we saw the drive and I created a share on another machine to push the files to. Less than 3 hours later, we had transferred 20GB of data off of the laptop. Popped out the CD and we were done. Never had to learn how to install Linux, never had to learn very many commands, just put in a disk and ran with it.