The data recovery tool for system administrators

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Rusian Melniychuk,

Rusian Melniychuk,


The risk of losing data grows alongside increases in storage capacity and with the amount of data available. SystemRescueCD makes it possible in many instances to reconstruct lost data.

More and more personal data is being deposited on hard disks and SSDs, in part due to the increasing capacity of low-cost, mass storage devices. The risk of data loss from servers, workplace computers, and notebooks increases along with the generation of ever larger amounts of information.

Loss can occur, for example, because of operation errors or hardware damage. Additionally, mandatory routine backups are not yet widespread enough in spite of the changing conditions in data management.

Once data has been lost, access is also lost to important text files, images, databases, and spreadsheets. At the point of loss, the only hope is to find a tool with the capability for reconstructing the maximum amount of data. SystemRescueCD is just such a tool, and it can provide invaluable assistance for Linux systems.

Let's Get Started

The SystemRescueCD comes as an ISO image that is about 445MB in size. It is intended for 32-bit and 64-bit architectures [1], which means that it can be used even on very old computers. Because it is started and used from a CD, the computer does not need the ability to boot from a USB drive.


The program starts with a greeting from the GRUB bootloader that offers an unusually large number of options. The Gentoo-based system can be booted with a variety of kernels for different hardware architectures.

There are multiple alternative boot options available if problems arise with the graphics card for the computer. One of these alternatives is to boot with a standard VESA graphics driver found on older systems. For computer systems still using a 4:3-sized monitor, you can view the graphical interface on the display screen with the help of SVGA or XGA resolution.

Several other tools can be loaded from a floppy disk image. This option is particularly useful when the cause of the data loss has already been contained. Once containment has occurred, it is not necessary to have an entire operating system at hand with all of its tools. The floppy disk image option is also useful for employing Memtest, Aida, and HDT programs to test hardware and monitor the systems without long start times. (Figure 1)

Figure 1: The GRUB bootloader is overflowing with start options.

The following two options make the entire stock of data recovery software available for use in most applications. The directly start the graphical environment option invokes the X server and then the Xfce desktop. The default boot options option leads to the root console once the keyboard has been set up. A number of editors can be used directly from the console.

Once you have manually set up Internet access, it is also possible to use the text based web browser ELinks. To start the graphical interface from the console, enter the command startx . After a surprisingly short amount of time, an Xfce 4.12 interface appears with an open terminal window. Apparently, this was intentionally kept simple and therefore may look a little bit antiquated (Figure 2).

Figure 2: Xfce is configured without doodads.

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