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Become A System Rescue Guru With Linux, Part 1

SystemRescue CD, the Ultimate Rescue Power Tool

May 15, 2008

One of my favorite Linux features is its endless adaptability as a cross-platform rescue tool, and my favorite rescue Linux of all is the excellent Gentoo-based SystemRescueCD. SystemRescueCD comes with every imaginable necessity:

  • Support for most computer filesystems, including Mac's HFS+ and all Windows filesystems
  • Samba
  • rsync
  • a useful assortment of network diagnostic and fixit apps
  • rdesktop, free Windows terminal server client
  • tightvnc, cross-platform remote desktop
  • several VPN (virtual private network) servers and clients
  • LVM (Linux volume manager)
  • Linux software RAID
  • GParted, graphical partitioning tool
  • Partimage, for cloning partitions
  • Testdisk, for recovering data from lost partitions and damaged drives

And a lot more stuff you can read about at SystemRescueCD. With a SystemRescueCD or USB stick you can perform heroic rescues on any Linux, Unix, Mac OS X, Windows, and probably a number of lesser-known platforms as well. Yes, you can really fix these systems- you're not limited to the tired old reformat-reinstall dance that those big shot innovative vendors rely on.

SystemRescueCD comes with WindowMaker for folks who prefer a graphical environment to the command line, but it's pretty limited. It's good for running GParted, Leafpad, Firefox and Dillo, and for running multiple X terminals. It's nice and lightweight, so it should work even on frail old PCs and laptops.

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