Linux Recovery Enviroments

Discussion in 'all things UNIX' started by NGRhodes, Jan 27, 2009.

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  1. NGRhodes

    NGRhodes Registered Member

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    I am pondering over what is currently the best option for a Recovery environment in the event your system is left unbootable and/or unable to access system tools to fix things.

    Here is my quick summary of my experiences, please feel free to comment and expand.

    LiveCDs.
    Due to being Desktop orientated, can quite often have useful recovery tools missing and slow due to having to load a desktop, which is quite pointless as tools used for repairing or recovering a system are all command line.
    But on the flip side I do like having a graphic browser for searching how to fix problems (especially as not always got a 2nd machine to utilise).

    SystemRescueCd (www.sysresccd.org).
    This is the well known recovery system, its a very complete set of tools.
    This is my current preference. It even includes some GUI versions of tools.
    Sometimes a pain remembering to download latest version (especially when you need a specific version of kernel).
    I've only needed to use it a few times (last time was a stick of ram corrupting and causing junk to be written to disc, render system unbootable/unusable).

    What do I want from a Recovery Environment (and I am yet to investigate):
    One that primarily runs from USB (but I would keep a backup on CD for those times when USB fails - I had a machine which should but does not boot on usb and 2 of the 4 ports only work at usb 1...). Also is useful being able to quickly copy files for further analysis or last minute backup. Also so I can keep it up to date, eg I need additional drivers that are not free that need downloading to get wireless working on my old laptop.
    One that is tied to my primary distro would be nice for familiarity and recovery (eg damaged package manager and knowing things like EXT4 tools will be available when I upgrade my system to EXT4). Flaw with this is that if I need to help recovery someone's machine on another distro might cause problems due to not being distro agnostic.
    A minimal GUI for a web browser and other tools.
    Common recovery/repair tasks listed in a menu (eg ncurses).

    So has anyone got any suggestions for other recovery environments to look at ?

    Cheers, Nick.
     
  2. Mrkvonic

    Mrkvonic Linux Systems Expert

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    Are we talking home or office? Because I find the two to be drastically different.

    Office, the best solution is probably pxe.

    Home, recovery:

    SystemRescueCD, as mentioned, runs with PartImage and TestDisk.
    Super Grub Disk, for fixing bootloader related issues.
    Helix, bootable Linux forensics CD.

    You may also want to chuck in CloneZilla into the lot; excellent for resuce, back and recovery, supports network and nfs boot; since it comes with basic drivers, you're likely to have connection if you need. It also works well with NTFS partitions and USB hard disks. Tested and proven!

    P.S. A three-part forensics, recovery article saga on the way :)

    P.S.S. Check also the CloneZilla & PartImage tutorial:
    http://www.dedoimedo.com/computers/free_imaging_software.html

    Cheers,
    Mrk
     
  3. NGRhodes

    NGRhodes Registered Member

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    I was thinking Home/small office.
    I've heard of Helix, I hope to never need it !

    I am reading your CloneZilla article now.
    Backups is another topic, I am currently playing with sbackup and timevault as a method of backing up /home , but not got as far as system backup (though I have comeup with the idea of jus backing up custom config files + package list to save time reinstalling).

    Cheers, Nick
     
  4. rdsu

    rdsu Registered Member

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  5. Kerodo

    Kerodo Registered Member

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    I'll 2nd the Clonezilla recommendation, I use it with Linux & Win with excellent results, never had a single issue or problem to date, and it is updated frequently.
     
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