Worse Case Scenario A
Your laptop crashed. Windows just won’t come back on. You can’t access your data. You’ve got to reinstall Windows, which means you’ve just lost that blu-ray film you downloaded off kickasstorrents.com as well as all your photos from your last vacation!
Worse Case Scenario B
There’s a deadline coming up and your PC’s swamped with viruses you’ve never heard of. Everything is infected and moving at a snail’s pace. A quick fix will take a couple of hours, but you have a deadline that needs to be met before that. What on earth can save you?
Linux To The Rescue
Almost any and every Linux distro can pull you out of such sad situations as most are capable of running live i.e. without installation, directly from a CD or USB device. Then there exclusive Linux rescue tools available as well (Ubuntu Rescue Remix or SystemRescueCd). But as these posts are targeted towards non-Linux users, here are some of the simplest we’ve tried and loved. You can use these to rescue your data and finish up the task at hand before you settle down to fix your machine or reach for the phone to call your IT support guy.
Back in early 2000, when we were frustrated college kids with daily deadlines, a friend handed us a Knoppix CD to tide us through times of duress. And wow what a thing of beauty it was. You never lost a project when your system crashed. In fact, the live Knoppix CD was stable enough to handle entire music mixing softwares without an installation. We always have a few latest versions of delicious Knoppix lying around to tide us through emergencies.
If your machine is relatively new and can handle a heavier distro, try a full fledged Ubuntu. Everything from the wi-fi to your blue tooth will start at go without any extra effort. Ubuntu ships with Word processors, photo managers, multi-media tools and everything else you need to handle a full days’ work load. All you have to do is focus on the task at hand.
Sabayon is a complete distro that runs from a live CD. We tried it 2 years ago when Windows was being a bitch on our laptop, just to be able to work faster and we loved it. So when Windows just died on us, we pulled out the Sabayon CD and Voila! Life was good again. It’s a full suite that allows you to access your file system and pull out what you need while managing all your usual tasks just as you do on Windows.
Here’s What You Do
Decide which distro suits you, download the ISO image and copy it to your favorite USB stick or burn on to a CD and you’re safe for life. All you have to do is change the boot sequence to load from the CD-Rom.