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Hardware Hacking Software Linux

True Stories of Knoppix Rescues 335

Omniscientist writes "We've all been there: Our system is on the edge of death and we need to either fix it or retrieve important data that still remains hidden away in its dying clutches. LinuxDevCenter has a funny article on a heroic tale of a sysadmin relying on Knoppix to save the day. I for one, always make a boot disk in case of problems, but Knoppix can turn a bad day into a good one for just about anyone. Perhaps every administrator should have a Knoppix CD on reserve."
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True Stories of Knoppix Rescues

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  • Offtopic (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 10, 2005 @03:05PM (#11312307)
    but how is this story "Hardware Hacking"?
  • Well... (Score:4, Funny)

    by Blue-Footed Boobie ( 799209 ) on Monday January 10, 2005 @03:06PM (#11312323)
    I, for one, welcome our new bootdisk making...

    Aw, fuck it.

  • by Anonymous Coward
    I have used knoppix and dd to migrate virtual machines from Virtual Server/Virtual PC to VMware. Now if that ain't a rescue, I don't know what is.
  • by ZeeExSixAre ( 790130 ) on Monday January 10, 2005 @03:07PM (#11312331)
    The article is well-summed-up in this gem here:

    I suppose the moral of this story is to be careful when you play around with the dd command and your MBR.


    • Just out of curiousity, is there a way to use DD (or another utility) to make a copy of just a bootrecord. When I'm making images of windows drives I have to DD the entire partition, which doesn't work right if the destination partition isn't the same size as the original. A tar.bz2 of the OS drive works nicely, except that it's missing the bootsector...
      • by Macrobat ( 318224 ) on Monday January 10, 2005 @03:52PM (#11312986)
        Just out of curiousity, is there a way to use DD (or another utility) to make a copy of just a bootrecord.

        Oddly enought, I found out the answer to that last night (and I wasn't even asking about that particular problem):

        dd if=/dev/hda of=hda.mbr bs=512 count=1

        Got that from this [seul.org] site. So take their word for it, not mine.

        • As mentioned in TFA, you'll be copying the partition table too, so if the destination partitions aren't the same you'll end up just like the author did, having a good boot record but erroneous partition table. Read the article for his fix (using "gpart" from his knoppix).
        • That only copies the first sector of the disk. While it is true that the partition table is contained in that sector, the boot loader is only a stub to load the Real Deal. If you dd that sector back onto a disk, the partition table will indeed be correct, but I'd highly doubt it would boot properly.
    • I suppose the moral of this story is to be careful when you play around with the dd command and your MBR.

      I messed up my MBR once, back when I was dual-booting Linux and WinNT. Had to type the hex in manually (I found it in a book) before converting it to binary and dd'ing it back onto the disk. I was surprised myself when that worked. Since then I've always kept a copy of it on hand, Just In Case...

    • The Windows XP install CD has a nice utility called FIXMBR in recovery console mode. Type it in at the command prompt, hit enter, voila. It's batting 1,000 for me so far. Works great. Does Knoppix have such a utility?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 10, 2005 @03:07PM (#11312333)
    works like a charm to save data on corrupted windows boxes..
    • works like a charm to save data on corrupted windows boxes..

      1. INDEED! I've saved several millions of dollars worth of info by booting NT* servers with a Knoppix CD (or Gentoo before they dropped samba support from the live CDs). I was praised as a herald. Nope. It's not me. I just used the right tool for the right job. Recovering a Windows system with Windows is near impossible.

      2. Aside, I use Linux bootables (Gentoo mostly) for checking the life of my HDs. I run a Gentoo machine (installed near 3 year ago). hda has seen a LOT (even before I put Gentoo on it - it was an MDK drive after it was a Win* drive). I've noticed SMARTd telling me latley that his life may be running short these days, but, after a e2fsck, it's fine. /me shrugs. I still need to replace him regardless.

        It's only a 10G drive (I have 4 others, much larger, in this box), but he needs to be replaced soon.

        Aside, I've saved a LOT of Win* Servers / laptops / desktops with "Live CD's".
      • by dasunt ( 249686 ) on Monday January 10, 2005 @07:14PM (#11315606)

        I've noticed SMARTd telling me latley that his life may be running short these days, but, after a e2fsck, it's fine. /me shrugs. I still need to replace him regardless.

        Er, yes.

        SMART handles stuff such as "this drive takes several tries before reading the right data" or "this drive has remapped a lot of bad clusters lately". Its much more than filesystem integrety checking, and even if fsck is fixing your problems now, you might want to see why smart is pestering you.

        More Info [wikipedia.org]

    • I have to go against what most people say here... I had a not-so-old yet 80gb drive (like, a few days over warranty) fail on me lately. (was a Western Digital). It was my 2003 server, luckily, it was just used as the OS drive (and to store a couple other things) - one NTFS partition. I've tried knoppix, and it was of no help. Mind you most tools (ntfsdos pro, Win PE, ERDC, - the list is long). The only thing somehow that managed to read some stuff back was another Win 2003 box. By that, I mean that I manag
      • If the hardware is sufficiently fubared then probably nothing is going to save you. If the data on a failed disk is valuable enough, you can pay $1000 or so to MAYBE get it back.

        I don't know what procedures you may have tried but if you suspect hard drive failure then the best thing do is use something like dd_recover to copy off as much of the partition as possible and then use filesystem repair tools on a copy of that. Of course, this presumes you have twice as much free storage space as the afflicted
  • by drunken dash ( 804404 ) on Monday January 10, 2005 @03:08PM (#11312347) Homepage
    i just burnt myself a cd of knoppix-3.8 the other day, for just this reason! although i've had no reason to use it (yet), im hoping my system starts acting up soon so i finally have an excuse to use it :P
  • Damn Small Linux (Score:5, Informative)

    by tuxliner ( 589414 ) on Monday January 10, 2005 @03:10PM (#11312372)
    In case you need a smaller, Knoppix based, distro : Damn Small Linux is much smaller and is very good as a system rescue tool too.
    • Re:Damn Small Linux (Score:3, Interesting)

      by BaldGhoti ( 265981 )
      Unfortunately, the name is frequently frowned upon by PHB's. "Does the name of that program use... PROFANITY?"

      I've used Knoppix to recover data from a WinXP box with locked-down security--my fiancee's OS bit it when she installed XP SP2 and the files were restricted to her account, so I put a spare HD in her machine and copied over all of her data using Knoppix (which conveniently ignores Windows security settings). Then we did a full reinstall from scratch--no data loss at all.
    • INSERT (Score:5, Informative)

      by EnigmaticSource ( 649695 ) on Monday January 10, 2005 @03:43PM (#11312854)

      If you're going to suggest a Knoppix-STD alternative, why not name one that's intended for data recovery and system restoration...

      The only recovery disks that I've found worth using are a custom gentoo based live-cd and INSERT

      Knoppix-STD or some other live disk is good for imaging and file recovery, but lacks real utility... like editing a windows 2000 registry, or doing vfat/ntfs hacking

      Go Ahead, try INSERT [inside-security.de] (and yes, i know it's Knoppix Based)

    • Austrumi is a much better alternative to DSL imo. You get more apps, and they're "full" programs like abiword, gnumeric and the GIMP.

      Based off DSL but nicer in terms of included programs is Feather Linux. It's 14mb more, but unless you're putting it on an actual business card cd it's well worth it for the extra apps.

      And for an in between option where the business card distros don't quite have enough, try SLAX. Can do more or less anything that knoppix can, but only includes one program for any one job.

    • Re:Damn Small Linux (Score:3, Interesting)

      by kaustik ( 574490 )
      I actually posted this a couple of days ago, but don't think I got it in in time to have actually been read:

      There is a very handy little tool called the Metropipe Virtual Privacy Machine [metropipe.net] that fits nicely on a 128MB USB drive. You pop it into a computer that is booted into Windows and can bring up a virtual machine running a tiny version of Linux, complete with GUI, web, email, etc. There is even a tool included that opens up an encrypted tunnel to Metropipe, bypassing any proxy servers
  • by Rude Turnip ( 49495 ) <{valuation} {at} {gmail.com}> on Monday January 10, 2005 @03:11PM (#11312376)
    A co-worker was trying to salvage some files from a dying Windows 98 machine. Win98 was having the damndest time accepting a USB memory drive (even with the right drivers installed). Five minutes with Knoppix and all his important files (mainly family tree stuff) was backed up to the USB memory drive.
    • by advocate_one ( 662832 ) on Monday January 10, 2005 @03:23PM (#11312557)
      Christmas at my Daughter's house... her machine was playing up and I'd bought her a 256Mb USB Keydrive to use to keep her important data on...

      cut a long story short... how the heck do you install a USB key drive onto a win98 system that has no internet connection and the driver files are only to be found on the USB drive that win98 recognises as new hardware, but won't actually scan it for the drivers as it hasn't allocated it a drive letter yet... well, Knoppix saved the day and allowed me to get the drivers copied off to a fresh directory on her hard drive so that win98 could then find them...

      She now wants me to set it up dual boot for her as she was mightily impressed with how far Linux has come in the few years since she last played with it (Mandrake 7.2)

      • Used Damn Small Linux make sure it has the dos tools. Set up the device to be bootable or to use a boot disk.
        Boot it.
        At this point you can just wipe the drive and install linux :-P
        Or you can mount the dos drive and copy the files over.

        I have a PC with the ability to boot USB and DSL is awesome. http://www.damnsmalllinux.org/ [damnsmalllinux.org]

        You can also put it on a micro CD or business card CD.
    • by soloport ( 312487 ) on Monday January 10, 2005 @04:04PM (#11313151) Homepage
      The mortgage broker, two floors up from us, was sold a "firewall/e-mail server that runs some kind of Linux". He was experiencing e-mail issues and tried to get the "vendor" to come out and service his "product". Unfortunately the vendor couldn't remember the root password to his own box. In addition, he wanted to charge the MB for more hours to re-install and configure it a second time.

      After NOT agreeing to the vendor's plan and showing him the door, the MB asked me if I could "crack into it" (yes, he actually used the right term). So... Knoppix to the rescue!

      The following procedure worked well:
      * 'mount' the HDD's main partition, rw
      * From a shell prompt, enter 'su -' (in Knoppix this just drops you in, with no p/w required)
      * Change the root passwd
      * Make a backup copy of HDD's /etc/shadow password file
      * Copy the line for the root user in the Knoppix /etc/shadow file
      * Paste it into the HDD's /etc/shadow file, replacing the old line
      * Profit.

      Also noted that there were no users created (the vendor had been logging into Gnome as root to do everything). So added an user account with sudo 'ALL=(ALL) ALL' rights, etc., etc.

      It was a strange way to find a new customer :-D
  • I agree, but... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by schmobag ( 804002 )
    ...what's with the "Perhaps..."? IMHO, some kind of linux rescue cd is a sysadmin must-have.
    • as a sysadmin for many years; you learn very quickly NOT to put anything valuable on the same drive that boots/manages the operating system.

      i use /hda for booting/system and /hdb for *data*. if something screws up on any of the /hda partitions - you *reinstall* (or, try to recover it). bottom line is that none of your data gets messed up, because its on a *seperate drive* (note: not just seperate partition).

      i even take it one level further now by putting anything i need (especially development tools/kits)
      • as a sysadmin for many years; you learn very quickly NOT to put anything valuable on the same drive that boots/manages the operating system.

        Better yet, don't put anything valuable on the same computer that boots/manages the operating system...

        i can easily move stuff between machines - and, i just need to install vmware to get started (beats installing everything again).

        Sounds to me like you're using vmware for no good reason. You could, quite easily, install all your programs (and libraries, and header

    • Well, there are many better alternatives to knoppix imo.
  • by Storm ( 2856 )
    I always keep multiple Knoppix CDs in my laptop bag, plus a couple of variants. I have two of the latest, one for emergencies, and one for Linux evangelism...Plus, when I was toting a Powerbook, I had to have a Mac Knoppix.

    In addition, being a security engineer, I always have a copy of Auditor and a Knoppix STD "in case of emergency." Hey, you never know when you will be called on to...er, penetrate.

    • I probably have the original knoppix as well (every linux magazine gives you a copy quite frequently) but my main live cds are as follows:

      STUX, a live cd with pretty much everything, but very "heavy", only for 256mb+ machines

      Knoppix STD, primarily because it's still the best for working wireless cards. Also some mp3s on the cd to listen to, and some fiddling with mkisofs means that from non-nix OSes it looks like that's all that's on the cd

      SLAX, plus a few modules. I like modularness and I really really lik

  • by gardyloo ( 512791 ) on Monday January 10, 2005 @03:14PM (#11312425)
    Not only Knoppix, but many of the new "live CDs" work very well for such rescues on hosed (Windows, and others) systems. I, myself, have used Knoppix, Mandrake, PClinuxOS and Mepis as rescue CDs (preferring Mepis, but that's just me), and I've seen Ubuntu, SUSE, and some others used in the same ways.
  • No Backups? (Score:3, Funny)

    by goldspider ( 445116 ) <ardrake79NO@SPAMgmail.com> on Monday January 10, 2005 @03:15PM (#11312430) Homepage
    OK let me see if I have this straight.

    Some "battle-hardened" sysadmin (who apparently doesn't to do regular backups... hmm...) salvages a few systems with Knoppix, and it's front-page news?

    Must be a real slow news day.
  • by krbvroc1 ( 725200 ) on Monday January 10, 2005 @03:18PM (#11312476)
    I've used bootable linux CD-ROM for many system saving tasks. Usually it is to fix windows machines that have been infected with a virus. A friend, neighbor, or coworker will be unable to boot due to some registry corruption or 'missing lsass.exe' virus corruption. Using knoppix I've been able to mount the NTFS file system and repair from a special hidden copy of the system hives.

    I've also used Toms root boot disk - which is linux based but much smaller (designed to fit on a floppy).

    Recently, I've been using Kanotix distro which was derived/inspired by Knoppix. Its debian sid based and includes many more drivers built in - my laptop wireless works out of the box with Kanotix and the ndiswrapper. It includes 'captive-ntfs' which lets me mount NTFS as writeable (important when modifying those registry hives). Kanotix website is in both German and English. I wont link to it since I haven't asked permission.
    • Dude, it's the freaking WWW. You should have implicit permission to link to the front page of ANY site, and there's a good argument that if you put anything in the publicly accessible space, then it should be able to be linked to.
      Seriously, grow some cojones and a brain, and realize that they might WANT you to link [kanotix.com] to them.
      • Dude, it's the freaking WWW. You should have implicit permission to link to the front page of ANY site, and there's a good argument that if you put anything in the publicly accessible space, then it should be able to be linked to.

        Dude, it's called being nice. It can be rude to link to a site and let them be slashdotted without asking them if their servers can handle it. We aren't talking about an site designed for high bandwidth; they offload their ISO downloads to a few mirrors and bittorrent. In additio
    • Usually it is to fix windows machines that have been infected with a virus.

      What would be killer is if there were a Linux-based program that would scan a Windows file system for viruses and remove them, for those times that you don't have a hidden copy of the system.
  • Knoppix website (Score:3, Informative)

    by Patik ( 584959 ) * <cpatik&gmail,com> on Monday January 10, 2005 @03:18PM (#11312478) Homepage Journal
    It may not be the official homepage, but it's the best one I've found. Knoppix.net [knoppix.net]

    I recommend downloading it via bit torrent here [uni-kl.de].

  • Where i work, at the University of Cincinnati, our "official" (official because it's what my boss favors, not because of university policy or anything) live distro is knoppix and it has certainly helped in situations where machines have been royally screwed up, for whatever reason. i've had better luck with mepis, hower. i find that it is faster and more compatible (especially with properly recognizing and using sound cards), and that it is also more fully featured. it makes a good install, too.
  • I for once, do not welcome "Heroic" as an adjective for such a small feat as to recover a partition table from Knoppix. Really, the "Heroic" adjective is a bit too much. How about the one who saved the Windows Server day by using a boot floppy then? Restoring a failing Windows install, THAT is heroism!
  • by rscrawford ( 311046 ) <(ude.sivadnu) (ta) (drofwarcsr)> on Monday January 10, 2005 @03:21PM (#11312521) Homepage Journal
    My young sister brought me her laptop which was probably the most compromised machine I'd ever seen: tons of adware, spyware, and viruses had made it almost unusable. I'd promised I'd fix it, but I couldn't even get it to boot to the point where I could rescue her files. I made some fixes so that I could boot it, but whenever I tried to copy her files to a special share on my Linux box, some virus would pop up and kill the connection before it was done. I was just about to give up, when I thought of booting up the computer with a Knoppix CD I had. So I did, and mounted her hard drive and tar'ed up all of her files and copied them to the Linux share. I scanned all of her files for viruses and whatnot on that computer while wiping her computer and reinstalling Windows. I wasn't able to convince her to switch to Debian, but I did install AdAware, Spybot S&D, Thunderbird, and Firefox, and hid all links to IE (I did install the "View in IE" extension for her, just in case).

    She's gotten a new laptop since then, one which runs WinXP. But she's now a Firefox fanatic; she even asked for a Firefox T-shirt for Christmas. I'm so proud. Now if only she'd let me dual-boot her machine.
    • So I did, and mounted her hard drive and tar'ed up all of her files and copied them to the Linux share. She's gotten a new laptop since then, one which runs WinXP.

      I used Knoppix for backing up the Windows 98 disk of my parents, but I'm not sure if the same routine will work with XP (think Alternate Data Streams etc.). Does anyone know? I'm not particularly fond of imaging programs...

    • I usually try to prevent a reinstall by mounting the drive on another computer and scanning it with AV software, Ad-Aware, and Spybot. Toss the drive back in the bastard system and boot up. From there, run Hijack This to manually rip out things that Spybot and Ad-Aware miss. After that, they're "Fixed." If they're using 95/98/ME and are willing to buy the upgrade, I get them on the latest NT OS (WinXP currently). The 9x family is a complete pile of shit and a stark contrast to the stable NT family. Af
    • I had a bit more luck. My roommate moved in with an NT-2000 box, that she couldn't remember the password to (It'd been in storage for a while). I resized the partition, and installed Knoppix... It was months later that I found a tool to replace the NT passwords, but by that time she had gotten used to knoppix.

      This weekend she asked me to toast the NT partition alltogether (once we replace her fried power supply). I'm sooo proud of her!

      For your sister, ask her for permission to set aside about 5GB f

    • Every once in a while I get someone begging me to clean up their infested Windows box. I really hate having to do a clean and install, so I now use knoppix and ClamAV [clamxav.com] to do the initial scan, and deleted the infected files (except for the mail folder). I then booted into Windows and used Their built-in anti-virus, AdAware [lavasoft.com] and SpyBotS&D [safer-networking.org] to do the rest of the cleaning. So far it seems to have worked (although one person subsequently got re-infected with an email virus).

      I'm starting to ask people for p

  • can you run a cluster with it?
  • Our 615s in the lab take forever to reboot.

    So I have a Knoppix live cd that has XGalaga on it; MAN is that fun! Now I look forward to the reboots!
  • My dead drive (Score:5, Interesting)

    by superid ( 46543 ) on Monday January 10, 2005 @03:34PM (#11312720) Homepage
    I had a slave drive with about 4GB of family photos. This included years of photos of my kids, and many irreplacable photos of my wifes mother who has since passed away. [ this is known as foreshadowing ]

    I built a brand new system and took that drive out and put it into another XP system as a slave....no problems at all. Then we had a power failure. I have 9 computers in my house, many with several drives, every system was fine, with the exception of that one drive. XP decided that this drive was no longer formatted.

    I took my lumps from the wife and began to look into data recovery. I tried SalvageNTFS [salvagentfs.com], ScroungeNTFS [memberwebs.com] and a demo [ontrack.com] from OnTrack. I forget the actual status that each tool reported but suffice it to say that none of them were successful and I just moved on. I did keep the drive though. A few weeks ago I stuffed it into what is to be a new webserver and put in a knoppix live cd. *poof* got everything back...every photo was recovered.

    Can't explain it, but I'm keeping a Knoppix CD in my box of tricks from now on.

    • Sometimes, even Knoppix can't save the day.
      I had a 160GB slave drive that I had only had for 5 months. After a reboot (which I don't do often at all, running Mandrake 10.0) the drive was mounted read only. WTF? Unmount it, try to remount it. Uh-oh. Can't remount it. Reboot, sector errors. Crap. Fiddle, fiddle. Boot Knoppix. Nothing worked. Bad sectors on the drive. Fdisk couldn't read it, it kept getting worse and worse. FUBAR. I finally got the RMA from newegg and hopefully will have a new d
  • My 120 gig Maxwhore drive died but I was still able to recover my unbacked up information using some tools it had. I was quite amazed at being able to recover them.

    I have a stack of CDs, USB drives and pseudo mirror over the net.

  • Funny, just yesterday I blogged about some similar [kisrael.com] experiences...I had an XP box that would log me out as soon as I went to log in, and because all my passwords were blank some of the linux rescue CD based fixes wouldn't work...

    I decided to just grab my personal files off (one rule I have is to put all my personal stuff in c:\data\ ) To make a long story short, Bart's Preinstalled Environment (BartPE) bootable live windows CD/DVD [nu2.nu], at the recommendation of Enkidu on alt.os.linux, turned out to be a better b
  • Knoppix Hacks -- which has some nice tips & tools in it (even stuff you probably could have thought of but never bothered).

    NOTE: I am not the author nor do I work for O'Reilly Publishing. Anyone who says otherwise is going to find out what I learned from the O'Really series.
  • by Esion Modnar ( 632431 ) on Monday January 10, 2005 @03:42PM (#11312827)
    Like how to "build in" a cheat code into your Knoppix remaster.

    The trick is, after you rsync the /cdrom directory to the master directory (see the book), cd to master/boot/isolinux and edit the isolinux.cfg file. Put your favorite cheat in the first APPEND line.

    This worked for Knoppix 3.4 and up. Don't know about earlier versions.

  • by ManDude ( 231569 ) on Monday January 10, 2005 @03:46PM (#11312900)
    I had always read about this happening to other guys, but never thought it would happen to me.

    I was coiming into work early Monday morning knowing I had to reinstall everything on the secondary email server that went down on Sunday. I thought I would be the only one in, but Suzie from accounting had come in early too.

    I always loved her emails when she needed some help. They were cheerful and she had clearly always researched the problem she was haveing rather than the normal "it just doesn't work".

    She came up and told me when she booted up the system it wouldn't get past the initial Windows boot screen. She was wearing a tight baby blue collared shirt with a short black skirt. No stockings and black high heals. She leaned low and as I was looking at her black bra said in a slow sexy voice - "Can you fix it?"

    That's when I pulled out my Knoppix . . .
  • While we're on the subject of Knoppix, I love this tool(kudos to the dev team), but at the end of the day I don't have the damned clue how to use half the functionality of it, and I'm going to take a guess that it's that way for a lot of other techies, too. Someone really needs to get on the ball, and write up some documentation for it, talking about what the different tools are, what the best ones are for specific problems, etc. Though this thing really begs for a whole O'Reilly book on it just due to dept
  • System Rescue (Score:3, Interesting)

    by bigjnsa500 ( 575392 ) <bigjnsa500@yQUOTEahoo.com minus punct> on Monday January 10, 2005 @03:55PM (#11313035) Homepage Journal
    Knoppix just takes way too long to boot and doesn't have some of the features that System Rescue [sysresccd.org] does. Plus he's got a PPC version. I've use the PPC version to repair a OS X box (yes, they do crash too) and the Intel version to constantly recover user and Administrator passwords in XP. It's so easy with this disk!
  • A friend of mine was having issues with a Toshiba laptop - it had been acting "oddly" for a while and after applying SP2 would no longer boot - but attempts to reformat and reinstall XP were failing as well. He was going to haev to send it off for weeks of repair.

    I said that we might as well take a shot at booting Knoppix and see what worked, or if data could be recovered from the HD (not sure if he ever really reformatted or not).

    Well, even Knoppix wouldn't boot! At first... after some fiddling we maan
  • I LOVE Knoppix (and other Live CDs) but...

    I used Qparted on Knoppix to resize some partions on two different dual systems.. nothing would boot after that.. Non of the 'tricks' to recover the MRB and anything else would work..

    I was able to, at the very least, backup my data via Knoppix.. but then I had to completely WIPE the HDs clean and restall everything.

    This is a known problem with Qparted.. I guess.. but it is not very well documented that this a huge problem.
  • Just this morning (Score:3, Insightful)

    by blueforce ( 192332 ) <clannagael.gmail@com> on Monday January 10, 2005 @04:02PM (#11313122) Homepage Journal
    Just this morning, mozingod had to come rescue my win2k workstation with knoppix to reset the local admin password.

    *Somehow* my machine got deleted off of an AD domain so I coulnd't log on. Everything's been running so smooth with this machine - no, seriously - that no one, me included, knew the local admin password.

    Knoppix to the rescue, 13 reboots later, I'm back in and the new admin password is 'asdf'.... I mean... it's really long and... un-crackable....
  • by Cyn ( 50070 )
    I had just finished burning the latest Knoppix CD on a hot summer afternoon when my cat jumped into my wifes unsuspecting arms, and they both tumbled backwards out the window.

    I launched myself out, CD still in hand, trying to catch her from a 7 story drop - and lo and behold if both my wifes and my cats lives weren't saved because of the strength length and durability of a Knoppix CD.

    After everything was said and done, we tried the (amazingly unscratched!) CD out in my wifes computer (she wanted to thank
  • While I am a big fan of Knoppix, my prefered tool for system rescue is System Rescue CD: http://www.sysresccd.org/ [sysresccd.org] A great collection of tools and the ISO burns to a mini-cd!

  • About four or five months back, I used Knoppix to rebuild the boot record for my main HD when it got totally horked, allowing me to copy about five years worth of personal files and data to a backup drive temporarily while I reinstalled WinXP.

    ...of course, it was the Ubuntu installer (another Deb-based distro), coupled with my own stupidity trying to set up dual-boot with WinXP that hosed it up in the first place.

  • ... is a CD labeled "backup 2005-01-11".

    Granted, that's not always practical. As someone who has to admin and backup a system with a 1.25TB RAID array, I know that all too well. SDLT? Daily SATA hard disk snapshots? Even /reading/ that much data takes forever.

    My solution - periodic off-site hard disk backups plus DDS-4 dailies. If I can go to LTO dailies soon, I'll be happy.

    When I /do/ need a rescue CD, usually (but, alas, not always) to make systems bootable rather than to recover data, I tend to use Sy
  • by Deathlizard ( 115856 ) on Monday January 10, 2005 @04:57PM (#11313930) Homepage Journal
    I've been using Pebuilder [nu2.nu] for my recovery needs with great success.

    It's easy to customize with plugins that you can create, download, and add. The UBCD for Windows [ubcd4win.com] is a must have for pebuilder and makes it a real powerful tool. from browsing to e-mail, web browsing, disk recovery and lots more. I basicially used one of these CD's as my PC's OS while I was waiting for Dell to send me a new hard drive when the one in my machine at work crashed.
  • I highly recommend downloading a copy of the Ultimate Boot Disc [ultimatebootcd.com] as well. This one's saved a couple of systems for me. It has a great collection of low level disk tools, including hard-drive manufacturor specific tools. I keep a copy of both the UBD and Knoppix by my computer at all times.
  • First, let me state that any competent sys admin should have a live CD around somewhere. We all know this. Of course, on a properly managed system, somewhere in that ideal world where all of us (even the endusers) understand why separate partitions and drives are a beautiful thing, a reinstall is the solution. But then there's reality. You know you've worked on systems configured by some absolute moron, or at the very least systems that aren't set up as you'd like them.

    Live CD's are lifesavers in that

  • by CedgeS ( 159076 ) on Monday January 10, 2005 @05:17PM (#11314164) Homepage Journal
    I know I've done this before, but here's my guide to recovering and rescuing data using Knoppix. [shockfamily.net] I just updated it about a week ago for version 3.7, and the new instructions and images haven't made their way into knoppix.net's [knoppix.net] wiki yet.

    People are using knoppix for this all the time; I can tell by the amount of email I deal with on the subject.

If it's not in the computer, it doesn't exist.