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Old 07-08-2004, 05:50 AM   #1
Registered: Nov 2003
Location: France
Distribution: Gentoo
Posts: 30

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Best live-cd distro for rescuing a system


I would like to know what distro you sue to rescue systems?
Basically, I have been using knoppix to do so, but it's missing lots of feature (i.e.: GUI Partition resizing, memtest, Anti-Virus, etc.)

After googling, I found 2 which seems good: and
One thing is really like about them is the write/read on NTFS!!!

Have you tried them? are they any good? or does it exist a better one?

Old 07-08-2004, 06:43 AM   #2
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Registered: Feb 2003
Location: Calif, USA
Distribution: PCLINUXOS
Posts: 2,876

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I would like to know what distro you sue to rescue systems?
I find it is best to keep a few options handy. You never know what you will actually need or what will end up working when you really need it.
Knoppix, Damn Small Linux, and Tom's boot disk would be my first choices.
Knoppix has usually been great when needed for my own Linux setups or when friends (mostly running Windows 98 or ME) needed to access the internet to recover from a virus. I have noticed that Knoppix version 3.4 has a Captive NTFS option. I have not tried it out yet, but as one relative now has XP I think I will check it out in case it is needed.
While I create and format partitions all the time with the Linux utilities, I have not felt like I should trust them to resize partitions. Also since it can take a long time on a large disk I attempt to avoid ever needing to resize any partitions. Obviously situations will arise where resizing is the best option. I have just started fooling with some partitioning tools from Acronis (non-free stuff) that needs Windows to install but then can create bootable floppies or CDs for partitioning. Create, resize (Reiser, Extx, NTFS, FAT), recover, edit. I am still checking it out.
If you check out the
Knoppix cheat codes you will see there is indeed a memtest choice. Type "memtest" at the boot prompt. I think this may be new.
Antivirus is another matter. I have a F.I.R.E. forensics CD but it is not updated regularly and has not been what I have used yet. It does include antivirus which needs to be updated to use, of course. Usually I download AVG (with Knoppix) and boot in safe mode, or F-Prot DOS version and boot from a floppy.
Besides checking out your links, Coume, I hope to see some other interesting choices in this thread.
Old 07-08-2004, 07:36 AM   #3
Registered: Feb 2004
Location: 'Ol Blighty
Distribution: SLED 10, SUSE 10.3
Posts: 722

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You'll probably HATE me but this is one area where I actually use a specially created WINDOWS CD which contains a few programs. This version of Windows runs totally from the CD and can run even if you have a Totally hosed up hard disk. It's based on the Microsoft Pre-installation environment Winpe which is used by Corporates for maintaining loads of computers and doesn't even need a hard disk at all to function although you obviously will need to be able to reformat / re-create partitions to recover your system .

To build the cd go to --

On this CD ( 220 MB) I have the following programs

1) " bootable Skeletal Windows"
2) File Browser -- this can also read / write NTFS files as well.
3) Internet Browser (Firefox Mozilla)
4) Partition Magic
5) Drive Image 20002
6) CD/DVD burning (Ahead Nero)
7) Network support
8) Adobe PDF reader -- in case I need to look at documentation whilst repairing a system.
9) Driver to load if all hard disks are on an external card (SCSI / ATA etc) and none on IDE on mother board.
10) Winzip (if I need to get stuff from the Net while recovering)
11) WS_FTP -- an FTP program like KBEAR --very useful

This system also has USB and firewire support so you can recover using external USB disks as well.

added --
Note that ALL these programs will run TOTALLY FROM THE CD!! so you can experiment with this without having to install anything on your computer. You don't need a hard disk at all to try these out. !!!

Hope this helps -- I'll probably make an ISO available from my site if people are interested.

-- end of addition.---

I always backup my Linux partitions at least 2X a week using DRIVEIMAGE 2002. Forget the modern Bloatware version DRIVEIMAGE 7 or Norton GHOST. A typical 10 GB Linux system can be backed up in around 10- 15 mins to an external hard drive. I burn later to DVD but you can burn directly to DVD -- takes longer of course.

So to recover this is what I'd do.

Boot my special Windows PE CD.
Reformat partitions if necessary
Restore my last backed up Linux partition(s) using DRIVEIMAGE 2002

Now boot your distro install CD and select the repair option --

What you'll need from the repair function is to be able to change FSTAB entries -- you may have changed number / size / position of partitions and of course you'll have to re-install GRUB / LILO .

Most distros allow you a repair option. With SUSE it's easy -- you select installation and then after selecting language and keyboard you'll get the repair option and it will guide you through the process. Just choose check file systems, fstab entries and boot loader.

Other distros will I'm sure have a similar option -- or you can do it manually -- but a bit harder. If you mess the fstab entries up or the GRUB / LILO boot loader you won't be able to boot. Normally it's an easy and painless process.

Once you've done this remove the CD and just boot.

Should work for ANY distro and Windows if you have this on your system as well.

What I'd like is to make the Wincd I'm now using to only have LINUX programs but as it works and is only used in an emergency I'm not sure I can be bothered -- also my network still has a windows machine or 2 on it.

I'm not fazed anymore now by disk crashes, distro updates, lost data etc. as this recovery system works every time.

Last edited by 1kyle; 07-08-2004 at 08:58 AM.
Old 07-20-2004, 10:50 PM   #4
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Registered: Feb 2003
Location: The Real Washington
Distribution: Debian, Android
Posts: 1,819

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I used Insert to clean 134 virii from a windows 2000 machine today. It uses clamAV and has the captive NTFS software on board. See the link in my sig for more. I am always on the hunt for the perfect live security distro and will post more options as I find them. I am an inch away from creating my own perfect live distro for use as a rescue kit. Any links to docs on the subject are always welcome if anyone knows of a cool howto on live distro making.


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