Bad things happen, and sometimes those bad things will happen to your computer, or a computer you are responsible for.

There are quite a few Linux live CDs out there designed for the purpose of rescue systems. The idea is, something bad happens, and you then boot into the CD and use the tools it provides to fix the problem, or hopefully at the very least save your data.

SystemRescueCD includes a whole host of tools that are very useful. If you are already a Linux whiz, you have a full command line available to you, as you'd expect, and an impressive array of tools you might need. I particularly find partimage to be useful, and use SysRecCD to do backups of my Linux system in this way. There are also lots of other system tools, including full read-write support for NTFS partitions through ntfs-3g, meaning

As well as the command line side of things, the CD also has a GUI available, which uses WindowMaker. One thing that is worth mentioning is that it isn't loaded up by default, you have to start it with startx. This is fine if you're reasonably proficient with the command line or know how to do this, but it does raise the barrier significantly for non-Linux people who want a restore system.

GUI applications included in the distribution feature Gparted, for easy reformatting and repartitioning of disks, both Firefox and Dillo for any emergency browsing needs and many other basic graphical programs.

SystemRescueCD certainly isn't for the faint of heart, and you'll need a reasonable previous amount of experience with Linux to be able to use it effectively. But as a backup and restore tool, I find it to be very useful and provide many tools you might need in a lightweight live CD environment.

It can be downloaded from the official wiki.

Avatar for peter Peter Upfold -

Peter Upfold is a technology enthusiast from the UK. Peter’s interest in Linux stems back to 2003, when curiosity got the better of him and he began using SUSE 9.0. Now he runs Linux Mint 9 on the desktop, runs a CentOS-based web server from home for his personal website and dabbles in all sorts of technology things across the Windows, Mac and open source worlds.

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Discussion: SystemRescueCD

  1. rambutan (guest)

    # Posted on 28 February 2008 at 08:04 PM

    I like SystemRescueCD and have used it for a few years. In the past I used it to make partimage backups but now I use $ sudo cp -a /original/ /target/ or # cp -a /original/ /target/ It's a lot more space efficient and you can access the files in the copy. Also with "cp -a" you can backup several partitions to the same partition, provided of course you have the GBs available in the target partition.

  2. rambutan (guest)

    # Posted on 28 February 2008 at 08:07 PM

    Whoops I should warn you cannot use cp -a to backup the current active partition. If you've booted into sda3 then you can back up any partition but sda3.

  3. Diego (guest)

    # Posted on 28 February 2008 at 10:31 PM

    The best rescue CD that i have even used is called Hiren's Boot CD I dont think that this is linux related, but is the best CD to rescue windows. And maybe also linux.

  4. Hieronymus (guest)

    # Posted on 29 February 2008 at 06:55 PM

    I'm partial to Parted Magic as a rescue CD. It has lots of tools but starts in a graphical shell by default:

  5. # Posted on 01 March 2008 at 01:03 AM

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  6. Lonnie Bauerly (guest)

    # Posted on 01 March 2008 at 04:00 PM

    I prefer the Trinity Rescue Kit that allows me to move files through the network to other computers. Vary easy to use and has a small gui at startup.

    Trinity Rescue Kit or TRK is a free live Linux distribution that aims specifically at recovery and repair operations on Windows machines, but is equally usable for Linux recovery issues.

    Here 's a sumup of some of the most important features, new and old: -easily reset windows passwords -4 different virusscan products integrated in a single uniform commandline with online update capability -full ntfs write support thanks to ntfs-3g (all other drivers included as well) -clone NTFS filesystems over the network -wide range of hardware support (kernel and recent kudzu hwdata) -easy script to find all local filesystems -self update capability to include and update all virusscanners -full proxyserver support. -run a samba fileserver (windows like filesharing) -run a ssh server -recovery and undeletion of files with utilities and procedures -recovery of lost partitions -evacuation of dying disks -UTF-8 international character support. -elaborated documentation

  7. # Posted on 03 April 2008 at 05:31 PM

    [...] which I covered very recently has just released version [...]

  8. # Posted on 20 September 2008 at 05:23 AM

    [...] [...]

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