1: Knoppix[UPDATE: New link] Knoppix is one of the better tools for rescuing data from sick machines. It's a full-blown live Linux distribution with a strong, user-friendly GUI that will allow you to easily mount a drive and then copy the data (which you will locate in an easy-to-use file manager) to an external source. Of course, Knoppix comes with the full arsenal of Linux commands, which place just about everything you need at your fingertips.
2: Trinity Rescue Kit
Trinity Rescue Kit might leave you wondering, "Why isn't this tool being developed faster and on a larger scale? Although TRK is rather slow to develop, what it offers is just short of amazing. Place it on a USB drive, boot your virus-laden machine, and scan the mounted drives with clamav, antivir, bitdefender, and more. This tool is all command line, so you might have to bone up on your commands to really make use of it.
3: Avira AntiVir
Avira AntiVir is a command-line antivirus tool that is fast, robust, and dependable. There is a GUI tool, but installing it is almost more trouble than it's worth. (It requires Java.) Installing AntiVir on Linux isn't the easiest of tasks, but it's certainly no kernel compilation.
4: GParted Live
GParted Live is a live Linux distribution that allows you to manipulate partitions on a drive. It supports numerous file systems and lets you can resize, create, and delete, partitions. You can run GParted Live from a CD or a USB drive, so it's very portable.
SystemRescueCd is another live Linux rescue CD that offers numerous tools to handle numerous tasks, including partition manipulation, file recovery, hard disk testing, ftp, and disk formatting. As with most live Linux distributions, you can place SystemRescueCd on either or CD or USB drive, and it offers an easy-to-use GUI and plenty of tools.
6: Ubuntu Rescue Remix
Ubuntu Rescue Remix is quickly becoming one of my favorite data recovery tools. Like all good live Linux CD tools, it includes an outstanding GUI (it is Ubuntu after all) that can help you handle tasks other tools can't handle. You can recover and rescue Mac files/filesystems, recover data from nonstandard external drives, recover deleted files, and more. The one thing URR is missing is antivirus tools. But, since this is a Linux rescue disc, once installed, you can simply add the tools you need to your USB live CD.
7: F-Secure Rescue CD
F-Secure Rescue CD is based on Knoppix and allows you to check the integrity of your installed applications. It also allows advanced data repair and recovery, as well as recovery from that ever-dreaded malware!
Ddrescue is a Linux tool designed to copy data from one file block device to another. This tool will aid you in rescuing data when your drive is suffering from read errors. Unlike many of the tools on this list, Ddrescue is not a live distribution but a tool you will use on a running Linux machine. So to rescue data, you will have to attach that troubled disk to the working Linux machine.
Safecopy is similar to ddrescue, allowing you to copy files from a disk suffering from I/O errors. It also includes a tool that allows you to read data from CDs in raw mode, as well as issue device resets and simulate bad media for testing and benchmarking.
10: Linux rescue mode
This is the only entry on the list that isn't a downloadable tool. Linux rescue mode is a mode booted with the help of a Linux boot CD, allowing you to repair a broken system. From rescue mode, you can recover a root password, repair or reinstall the boot loader, and more. When you boot into rescue mode, it will typically mount your installed system into /mnt/sysimage, where you can take care of any business necessary.
More rescue tools?
These 10 Linux tools can help you recover, rescue, and repair a Linux, Windows, or Mac machine. Of course, plenty more tools are out there. Have you come across a Linux tool that can help you repair or recover a damaged or sick drive? If so, share it with your fellow TechRepublic members.
1. Hiren's Boot CD
Hiren BootCD is a pretty popular Linux-based rescue disc. It is tagged as “a first aid kit for your computer” and rightly so. It contains tools such as defrag tools, driver tools, backup tools, antivirus and anti-malware tools, rootkit detection tools, secure data wiping tools, and partitioning tools, among others. It is also capable of other useful utilities including re-flashing your system’s BIOS, wiping your CMOS, cleaning out temporary files and folders. You can also securely delete data or backup your data to another drive, recover damaged partitions or even scan your system to identify hardware failures. It is capable of so much more than I’ve mentioned and for a rescue system it should be the first on your list. Hiren Boot CD is available to download as an ISO for easy installation to a USB or burning to a CD.
Rescatux is a linux-based distribution designed to fix problems with both Linux and Windows. It is currently in beta but nonetheless proves more than enough to make it on our list. It comes with an app/wizard called Rescapp that provides access to the tools available on Rescatux CD. With the aid of Rescapp, you can perform tasks such as resetting passwords, restoring grub on linux or the Master Boot Record on Windows. You can also perform checks for your filesystem, repair damaged partitions and recover deleted files. Don’t let the beta tag fool you as it can be quite a useful tool at your disposal.
3. The Ultimate Boot CD
Ultimate Boot CD is a bootable rescue CD that comes with a variety of tools integrated into that give you the functionality and ability to perform some very userful rescue operation on your computer. The disk is made up of a collection of bootable disk images, all stored on a bootable CD. Boot the CD, then choose a disk image and then the system boots from the image, and you're running the programs on the disk. Each image come wth different tools and utilities as well as different interfaces. You are provided with a wide range of tools including data recovery, drive cloning, BIOS management, memory and CPU testing tools. It is available for download in a ISO format and can easily written to USB or CD. Skilled users can do a lot with this tool but for the novice, you should be careful not to break their system beyond repair.
4. Tiny Rescue Kit
The Trinity Rescue Kit is a Linux-based Rescue CD designed for the recovery and repair of either Windows or Linux machines. You may load it up on a USB (or CD) and boot it up. The boot menu offers a choice of boot options synonymous with most linux distributions so you can try different modes if the default does not work for you. Once booted up, you’re provided with a range of tools allowing you to reset lost Windows passwords with Winpass, backup data, recover data, clone drives, modify or recover partitions and run rootkit detection. There are also a ton of antivirus scanners provided including Avast, Clam AV and BitDefender. You shouldn’t be intimidated by the text based interface as it is pretty simple to use. You can grab it from here.
5. System Rescue CD
SystemRescueCD is a powerful tool for repairing Linux systems. It has been developed with system administrators in mind. It can be used to troubleshoot both Windows and Linux servers and systems. When you boot up the system, you’re taken into a console interface so you ought to know your way around. It has a wide range of tools that allow you to manage and repair partitions. You can also backup your data and resolve bootloader issues. You can also provided with a ton of antivirus and rootkit detection and removing tools. SystemRescueCD is available for download as an ISO file so you can burn it to a CD or use it to create a bootable USB drive.