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View Full Version : Linux Live CD saves the day .... again!



HAL9000
29-09-2009, 12:29 AM
Client called me on Friday asking if I knew of anyone that could effect data recovery from a Windows NT4 / SBS4.5 installed on a RAID 5 system. There were some files on the server that are needed for a court case later this week.

I look after a specific application for the client, while the PC shop next door looks after the infrastructure. They had not been able to recover any info and from their notes had been play Russian roulette with the clients data by attempting a Windows NT recovery process.

This machine was the companies old server and had been left in the back room idling for no good reason other than it was a good heater (nah just kidding, not sure why it was not backed up and retired properly)

Anyway I picked the machine up on Sunday and got to work on it this afternoon.

Problem 1. NT BSOD, just verifying the error was not easy to fix.
Problem 2. Would not boot off CDROM, the BIOS had HDD and floppy boot options only

So I pulled out an old Knoppix 3.1 Live CD and made the boot floppy in another machine.

Problem 3. Even with boot floppy I could not boot off SCSI CDROM.

Sigh!! Opened up the box to see if there was another way I could connect an IDE CDROM or even IDE HDD.

Problem 4. This Dell Server has no IDE connectors.

So I pulled out an old PCI IDE card I have and installed it with an IDE CDROM. Booted off the floppy and hey presto! Knoppix running, RAID5 partitions all visible and network all configured correctly.

So after 5 hours copying 20Gig over 10/100 network I am now copying to external HDD to take to client tomorrow.

As I said A Linux Live CD saves the day again!

blanco
29-09-2009, 08:08 AM
Well done Hal.
That's what I call Fortitude. Too many guys give up
too easily. I have spent my working life troubleshooting
various electronic products and thank the Lord that I
was born with a positive, non defeatist attitude which
has paid off for me bigtime. Keep it up!

HAL9000
29-09-2009, 04:27 PM
Thanks Blanco

It does make me wonder though how many people have lost data because the techs either give up, or just do not have the experience in recovering data from broken Windows installations?

Give me a person who has been around the block a few times and actually keeps in the forefront of their minds "Make no changes to drives until all other avenues explored", and remember that a Windows recovery procedure is one of the last things you try.

This also reminds me of a day I turned up at the Laptop repair place I used to work at many moons ago. One of the techs showed me a 2.5" drive in which the single platter had completely disintegrated. I mean it was like sand in there, and to top it off the client could not understand that his data was gone, insisting that it be taken to a forensics place for them to attempt recovery!