Trying to sort out my dad's 2011 era Dell laptop with Win7, which was OK until Sunday. It may be early signs of an imminent HDD failure but I still need another opinion or a way to recover the emails on it - they were being pulled from the domain registrar permanently to the laptop, so recovery is preferred. The problem: It boots into Windows fine, but attempting to launch any program causes it to eventually freeze - doesn't mater what it is (IE/Chrome/File Explorer/Windows Live Mail), it always freezes and always before the UI of the program has fully loaded. There are 3 user accounts on this laptop, all of which show the problem. Booting into Safe mode works perfectly and all programs that can run, do and work correctly. I tried a system restore to the previous point at which we were sure it worked but we're still at the status quo with the problem. Doing so has removed all other restore points. The recovery partition can't be seen by the system so using the system repair option from the advanced menu doesn't work... but taking the HDD out and connecting it to my rig shows it's intact, it's also academic as I made a USB drive of the partition years ago which I still have - using it reinstalled Windows correctly to my spare HDD, which works perfectly and doesn't show any problems. Repairing the original HDD with it made no difference. Attempting to clone the original drive, directly to my spare (smaller but still with more than enough free space for all the data) SSD doesn't work, neither does imaging the HDD onto my rig - I'm getting IO errors from Macrium Reflect from the drive (error code 1117). -- I'm therefore stumped as to a resolution as I'm seeing 2 possible causes, either Windows isn't right or the HDD is close to death. The important thing is to get the emails from it (dad uses Windows Live Mail and all emails are being moved to the laptop thanks to the domain registrar not offering a lot of storage when I set it up 7 years ago). Apps/pictures/videos are replaceable or safe but recovering the emails is essential, the problem I have is that all options I can find rely on actually being able to launch the program, which is impossible in safe mode as the "Windows Live Sign-in Assistant" service can't and won't load in safe mode and it program, like everything else on the laptop, freezes the computer when booting normally. Any suggestions welcome.