Rescuing Linux Systems--Generic and Distribution-Specific Safety Nets - page 6
Sending Out an SOS
The previous section highlighted the rescue modes provides by various Linux distributions from their primary installation CDs. The ultimate recovery disk for a Linux distribution is, of course, the boot CD from which you installed that distribution or a rescue disk produced when installing that particular system. However, if you run many different Linux distributions or even multiple versions of the same Linux distribution, keeping track of all of those rescue floppies and installation CDs can be tricky at best.
An easy solution to this sort of problem is to use one of the many distribution-independent rescue disks that are available on the Web. Some of these began life as small Linux distributions themselves, while others grew out of popular Linux distributions such as Red Hat. The common thread in all of these rescue disks is that they are tailored toward providing the tools you need to repair and recover other systems - they are not designed to be Linux distributions, but Linux sysadmin toolkits. Their focus is on relatively small size and providing the tools you need to get other Linux systems up and running again.
The next sections summarize the most popular and powerful rescue disks that I've found and used to repair different types of systems in the past. Some of these are floppy-based, which has some obvious advantages--even if you don' t have access to a working Linux system, you can quickly create boot disks from online floppy images using the RAWRITE.EXE program. Others are provided as ISO images, which have the obvious advantage of being larger and therefore (hopefully) providing a wider selection of tools. You can also usually create bootable CDs from a DOS or Windows system depending on the CD burning software that you have, and whether you have a CD burner in the first place.