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System Recovery with Knoppix 59

An anonymous reader writes "This article shows how to access a non-booting Linux system with a Knoppix CD, get read-write permissions on configuration files, create and manage partitions and filesystems, and copy files to various storage media and over the network. You can use Knoppix for hardware and system configuration detection and for creating and managing partitions and filesystems. You can do it all from Knoppix's excellent graphical utilities, or from the command line."
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System Recovery with Knoppix

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  • by shaitand ( 626655 ) on Tuesday October 28, 2003 @02:40PM (#7330493) Journal
    At the very least it never ceases to amaze the windows geeks.
    • best. livecd. ever.
    • I love knoppix!!!!

      Instantly convertes any stupid pc into a complete workstation.

      It's just that good.
    • I burned me a knoppix cd last week, version 3.3. OpenOffice refuses to start. The OO logo comes up, but nothing else. Does anyone else have this problem? I would think they would test that before they released an ISO...

      • I seem to remember having the same problem, but I think it does start, it's just very, VERY slow. Remember, this is OpenOffice, which is a slow loader to begin with, plus it has to be decompressed first, which is slow, and it needs to be read from a CD, which is also slow.

        Try having some more patience, I think it does actually load eventually.
      • Run knoppix testcd at the SYSLINUX bootprompt to verify the integrity of the cd. Hit F2 for short list of other options []. E.g., knoppix dma will enable DMA, and knoppix fluxbox will use the fluxbox wm.
    • Yeah, knoppix is great. I brought it over to a friend's house once, and we booted it on his roommate's WinXP box that we didn't have a login for... we mounted his drive and read all his files anyway. We found his stash of porn, it was hilarious :)
    • I have been playing with knoppix for a while, and I have been impressed. I can run it from a bootable CD. Nothing needs to be installed,a nd it didn't have problems with hardware. It will come in handy the next time a family members PCs crashes to recover files (especially the laptops). That's my primar reason for using knoppix.
    • I love knoppix and use it on several computers of mine (and mostly on computers belonging to others) but it wont run on my new athlon-64 (with the ASUS mobo...K8V deluxe)

      If anyone can tell me what to exclude on boot I would be very happy indeed. It will boot in failsafe mode and it tends to hang after loading the APM drivers (booting with noapm does not solve the problem.) Any ideas would be great!

  • by Anonymous Coward
    Why don't you use Windows Emergency Repair disks, you GNU hippies? Or fine CD-ROM support that comes with Windows(r) Recovery Console? []
    • Re:Why don't you (Score:5, Insightful)

      by stefanlasiewski ( 63134 ) * <slashdot&stefanco,com> on Tuesday October 28, 2003 @03:10PM (#7330861) Homepage Journal
      Why don't you use Windows Emergency Repair disks, you GNU hippies?

      Because I'm lazy. Why use 4 floppies, which only contain a small number of utilities, when I can just use a single CD-ROM with zillions of powerful utilities, network access, etc.

      Also, with 4 floppies, I've always found that one of the four disks will be corrupted when I try to use it.

      With Win98, I kept 2-3 emergency disks lying around just in case one disk was corrupt. The same strategy for Win2K would require 8 or 12 disks disks.
      • Re:Why don't you (Score:5, Informative)

        by pulu ( 662388 ) <pulu.afe@to> on Tuesday October 28, 2003 @05:17PM (#7332332)
        You might think about This CD [] for windows.... I used Knoppix all the time, but the lack of good NTFS support in linux constantly gets me down. This guy is XP/2003 based, and does pretty much the same thing. You can virus scan too, which windows loves.
        • Yes, that guy has some great programs, Barts Boot Floppy (or CD), and the Barts Windows PE boot cd.

          Both are great, I use Barts boot cd to boot a system, mount a SMB share, and ghost the HD over the network. Great way to backup a system (or linux ext2) to a server. I normally do then when upgrading laptops, takes about 5 minutes of my time, the rest is save/restore time over the network. Its really that easy, boot, use dhcp, mount z: \\server\share in dos, load ghost, save to partition to z:, put in new HD
  • Knoppix is great (Score:4, Interesting)

    by forsetti ( 158019 ) on Tuesday October 28, 2003 @02:48PM (#7330589)
    Many people in my Windows-based office walk past my Gentoo desktop, wondering what I'm running. When they see how well it works (no viruses, no reboots, lots of tools available), they want to know how hard it is to install. Of course, Gentoo is not for the beginner. But, I've been handing out Knoppix CDs left and right. People love it!
    • by Anonymous Coward
      Linux geek? Running Gentoo? Employed? Communicating with colleagues?

      Ah, gimme a friggin break. There are so many lies in this brief paragraph I wouldn't know where to start.
    • They can see that you have no viruses just by walking past your desk? Wow! How bad of a virus problem do you have at your place!
  • Why no SuSE? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by BrookHarty ( 9119 ) on Tuesday October 28, 2003 @02:57PM (#7330702) Homepage Journal
    SuSE also has a live CD, which is pretty good (IMHO) the KDE desktop is a little more polished than Knoppix. Cant say I used either as a full time desktop thou, so not sure how they rank. And couldnt get the Gentoo live game CD's to work with my ATI 9700 pro.

    Also, IBM owns 20% of SuSE, thought they should push it.
    • Why no SUSE (yes all caps now ;x)? Last I checked you had to still do a FTP install and can't use a livecd for the base packages. Knoppix if you like it.. install it with a few simple steps in a very short ammount of time.
    • Also, IBM owns 20% of SuSE, thought they should push it.

      If they did, they would loose credibility. Besides, IBM -- and SuSE -- benifits from more contracts that aren't MS-only since that leaves them open to non-MS possiblities. (insert 200 line explanation that you probably know already)

  • by RGRistroph ( 86936 ) <> on Tuesday October 28, 2003 @03:37PM (#7331179) Homepage
    Knoppix is very useful for getting your data out of a broken computer, prior to re-installing or replacing the harddrive outright.

    I made a floppy based linux especially for this purpose: []. However, if you have a network, it is probably easier to use Knoppix to copy the data over the network rather than burn it to a cd. Note that Knoppix does have cdrecord and mkisofs on it; if you can boot knoppix from one cd drive, and have another to access as a burner (say an external USB cd burner) then you can save your data that way. Knoppix is better than my floppy setup, unless you have no network, and only a cd burner and no other CD device to boot from. Knoppix also supports more filesystems and hardware than I can fit on a floppy or care to deal with.

  • Another good live boot cd is Timo's rescue cd:

    It's got a lot of drivers (as modules), ext2 (which should work on ext3) undelete utilities, and all the daemon and client utils you could want. It's great for non-booting laptops that need to have data dumped off of them so you can reload the OS (something that happens a lot).

    One thing it doesn't do is autodetect everything like Knoppix does, and it doesn't have X, but it does fit on a minicd where Knoppix does not.

  • Knoppix seems like a massive overkill for this task. Personally I've been using tomsrtbt [] for this job for some time, and I don't expect to be switching to Knoppix anytime soon. Admitedly it doesn't have any of the graphical fluff, but quite frankly if you need graphics to get into the system I very much doubt you're going to be able to fix it once you're in anyway.

    Knoppix is great, but it's a ten-tonne anvil doing the job of a nut-cracker in this situation.

    • Pretty small set of utliities there though. I'm sure it has it's place, but I can use Knoppix to boot and fix pretty much any machine, with stuff like RAID and plenty of network cards supported. Plus I have ssh and scp, which is damn useful for backing up stuff quickly. Not to mention floppy disks crap out just when you need them.
    • note that you can boot right into a CLI if you use 'knoppix 2' at the boot prompt.

      really - if the computer boots from CDROM, you've got a much richer toolset (and manuals) than tom's.

  • The best tool :) (Score:5, Informative)

    by hunte ( 455338 ) on Tuesday October 28, 2003 @04:13PM (#7331600) Homepage Journal
    I'm a very happy Knoppix user, IMHO is the final swiss knife!

    Here a small list of very powerful features:

    - NTFS (safe read only) support + all FS support
    - the linux fdisk
    - qtparted for working with partitions (like Partition Magic, but GPL)
    - partimage (like Norton Ghost, but GPL)
    - the cool LinNeighborhood (for easy windows/samba usage)
    - diagnose all hardware with the knoppix auto-detect kernel
    - all the best network diagnosis tools (nmap, nessus, tcpdump, ethereal, etc)
    - vim
    - kde
    - easy support of external usb2/firewire external drives
    - 1174 packages on a single autoboot CD

    (is present a DVD version too on ftp!!!!!)

    A nice link -> []
    • I have nothing against qtparted but I think that it isn't a good idea to remove parted altogether. I'd certainly like to use it from the command-line, because some of the computers that I can fix using knoppix don't have the power to justify using X11.
    • There's also a version similar to Knoppix which uses Gnome instead of KDE as its window manager.

      And guess what it's called?

      You got it right: Gnoppix []

  • I got Knoppix to boot the PC I run at work, but my home PC does not boot Knoppix.
    I get to the point it starts the XServer, then the screen gets all black and the CD unit stops making noise and the light blinks in a repetitive pattern. The keyboard does not work and I have to hard reset the PC.
    I tried sending the noscsi and the noagp arguments.
    Even the expert mode, with no changes.
    Before hanging, the PCI video board seemed to be detected correctly as well as the monitor.
  • What do you mean 'shows how to' its obvious and knoppix recognises your drives settings automatically.
  • by Experiment 626 ( 698257 ) on Tuesday October 28, 2003 @06:15PM (#7332882)

    Over the past few weeks Knoppix has gotten me out of a couple tough spots.

    First, I was setting up RedHat on my laptop. Unfortunately, RH9 came with no drivers for my ethernet or wifi. No problem, I'll just go online and... Uh oh, Catch-22, I can't download network drivers till I get online. Fortunately, Knoppix recognized the ethernet card and got me up and running, I downloaded to the hard drive, rebooted to RedHat, and set it up.

    True, I could have also solved that using sneakernet / USB drive / whatever, but the next time Knoppix helped me it was more indispensable. I was adjusting my LILO settings and came up with a conf file that ran just fine in lilo, but caused a kernel panic every time I booted with it. No rescue disc either, being a floppyless computer. I booted Knoppix, fixed the lilo.conf, mounted my /boot partition, and made a working bootloader.

    Anyway, Knoppix is good to have around. When something is messed up, it will get you up and running, see all your files, and see most of the hardware out there too. Plus of course the obvious Linux evangilism uses.

  • While I have used Knoppix, where I needed to recover data I've used SystemRescueCD [], and as my main drive has just died (the second one this month!) I'll be using it again shortly. It's based on the Gentoo LiveCD, is less than half the size of Knoppix, and contains all the utilities you need for rescuing and repartitioning (Partimage, parted/QtParted, fdisk, sfdisk, dd_rescue, plus all the usual stuff). Granted, it's not as friendly as Knoppix for the uninitiated as it just dumps you at a prompt after auto-d
  • One thing that KNOPPIX is missing, probably for legal reasons though, is support for nforce video network cards. Lots of MBs these days are the sort with only 1 nforce NIC on it, and not having net when booting up my new box with KNOPPIX is a bit of a pain.
  • Knoppix vs. Morphix (Score:3, Interesting)

    by jbolden ( 176878 ) on Tuesday October 28, 2003 @09:04PM (#7334419) Homepage
    Rather than the "Knoppix" is great which everyone agrees with I was wondering if any Morphix users out there can contrast the two.
    • I'm a happy morphix user. They've got distros with games (linux games incl on disc), for games (Wine for windoze games configured), and for general light/heavy GUI stuff. I've passed out a few Morphix LightGUI discs at work. They came in most handy when two servers inexplicably had /usr and /etc nuked by a script following bad symlinks. Bootup up, got on the net, mounted drives (SCSI even), and copied the files from another very similar machine with no fuss.

      I've also used it to copy over a bad windows dri
      • "dd if=/dev/hdb1 of=/dev/hda1" can work, but if for example hda1 is larger than hdb1, it will be truncated to the hdb1's length. Also, if you have any fs errors, they'll copy straight over to hdb1. It's a better idea to use something like cp -a or rsync, that way you can easily verify what's been copied if you have to abort sometime.
        • Haven't tried rsync, but "cp -vfr" works nicely, don't need -a really since I'm just copying winblows drives.

          The drive truncation was what I was figuring what would happen, but thanks for confirming (although in some cases I've noticed that winblows doesn't properly recognise when 'nix resizes its partitions).
  • The reason most linux distributions stop booting is that something has fscked up the boot sector or a new kernel build has gone bad. Either way
    you can easily rescue your system by booting off a kernel floppy , no special rescue disk required. Even if the boot failure is
    because of corrupted init files you can always boot into single abuser mode so I fail to see the need for a bells & whistles rescue CD. If your whole drive is screwed then its reinstall time anyway, rescue CD or not.

"Even if you're on the right track, you'll get run over if you just sit there." -- Will Rogers