Linked by Casey Keller on Tue 6th Apr 2004 22:06 UTC
Bugs & Viruses As a veteran of Operating System experimentation, I can personally vouch that I have flubbed things up more often than I have gotten it right on the first time.
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Allthough Dijkstra is probably gonna disagree
by Lennie on Tue 6th Apr 2004 22:26 UTC

There is a programmers proverb which says:
'be prepared to trow away your first version'

Gentoo CD is great & there are others.
by James Pryor on Tue 6th Apr 2004 22:27 UTC

Obviously there is the well known LiveCD of GNU/Debian - knoppix http://www.knoppix.net
I haven't yet gotten around to it but I want to use http://cowww.epfl.ch/~swalter/mbcd/index.php MultiBootCD to make a custom CD with a small knoppix image, winxp pe, and maybe some good anti spy/av/worm apps.

I keep Mandrake's CD 1 handy
by Bannor99 on Tue 6th Apr 2004 23:05 UTC

in case something gets fouled up, even if it's a non-MDK distro.I used it just 2 days ago to fix a screwed-up Xandros install.If you boot up with "linux rescue", you get the option to re-install the boot loader (not always very useful, re-install the Windows bootloader, or, the most useful option, a recovery console that's far more capable that the anemic one supplied on Win2K/XP.
The "re-install boot loader" option I've found to be unreliable so I usually go straight to the console, mount the partitions, chroot to the appropriate linux installation
and fix GRUB or LILO.

What I do ....
by Darius on Tue 6th Apr 2004 23:09 UTC

If I'm in the mood to play with operating systems, I have one of those mobile dock drives that will let you pull out one hard drive and stick in another. That way, you don't have to worry about losing data on your 'good' partition.
The downside to this is that having the hard drives in these mobile docks make hard drive while line 10x louder ;) I swear that if any manufacturer were to make a guaranteed 'quiet' drive, I'd be willing to pay $300+ for one just to have my sanity back.

All-in-one CD for Windows Users
by pixelmonkey on Tue 6th Apr 2004 23:15 UTC

Floating around on file sharing networks is an ISO called "Ultimate Admin CD" which is based upon http://www.nu2.nu/pebuilder/">Bart , a great tool for creating Windows Boot CDs (that load a minimal XP environment and task manager which can be used to execute other tools). It's basically a compilation of major boot CD tools (Norton Ghost, Acronis, AV, Winternals, etc.)

You might want to give that a shot to have "true" disaster recovery on an XP/2000 system, or any system that uses NTFS. It gives you tools to fix the registry, perform virus scans, backups, etc. Saved me a few times, especially for friends' fsck'ed PCs.

But then, remember you'd have to own all the software on the Ultimate Admin CD to legally use it :-)

(Other than that, using Acronis True Image for backups instead of Windows' flakey "System Restore" is a great option. True Image does true incremental backups, and has its own bootable CD).

more on knoppix
by Ophidian on Wed 7th Apr 2004 01:03 UTC

to the article author: IIRC the gentoo cd you are using is based on knoppix. i would do as another gentleman in the thread suggested and get it.

just to show off to some die hard windows fans, i once ran a samba file server off of a knoppix cd. the server never missed a beat.

re; Darius going mad
by Brad on Wed 7th Apr 2004 01:27 UTC

Darius, what make them so loud when you put a drive in? Is it just all peices of thin metal and no isolators? I suppose if it's the drive cage, starting with a silent drive to start with would help. Samsung spinpoints are dead quiet. If it's quiet to start with, maybe it won't be loud in the rack.

RE: more on knoppix
by Gabriel Ebner on Wed 7th Apr 2004 01:29 UTC

> IIRC the gentoo cd you are using is based on knoppix.

As a diehard gentoo fan I have to ask you how can you even dare to compare gentoo with _k_n_o_p_p_i_x_? :-)

The only part that might come from knoppix is the hardware detection in the initrd (the slider looks _very_ much like knoppix), but the rest of the live CD is gentoo (compiled by catalyst).

re; Darius going mad
by Darius on Wed 7th Apr 2004 02:15 UTC

It's not that they're loud to start out with, just that all of my hard drives start to scream like banshees after about 3 months of use. I don't know if I'm just cursed with hard drives that whine or if they all get that way over time.
The reason why the mobile dock makes them louder is that the mobile dock fits into the case like a CD-ROM drive and the drives (which are in a plastic case) slide in like CDs. So the hard drives are fine as long as they're quiet, but *when* they start to whine, since you don't have the computer case to help shield the noise, they are that much louder.

Samsung spinpoints are dead quiet

Are they that way by design, or maybe you just haven't ran into a noisy one yet.

re; Darius going mad
by smashIt on Wed 7th Apr 2004 02:36 UTC

I use a 160gb spinpoint in my external USB-case, and the loudest thing of it is the 40mm fan for the powersupply ;)

When it comes to noise, I can realy recommand this drives.
and they come with 3 years waranty ;)

my lifeboat
by rain on Wed 7th Apr 2004 02:46 UTC

You are probably going to hate me for mentioning the dead one. But BeOS has saved me so many times when other OS's has broken down. And even read partitions that was unreadable by the OS it belongs to.
BeOS coupled with a rescue CD is my lifeboat.

re:re:darius go mad
by Brad on Wed 7th Apr 2004 02:59 UTC

Darius, they are quiet by design, fluid bearings. Quietest drive on the market it seams since they don't make the real quiet seagates anymore. I have a 160 gig SATA models. No issues in 5 months I've had it. I have heard the new fluid bearing western digitals are very quiet too, so I may switch back, since they were what I always used till I got a 80gig model that was louder then all hell. I basicly have to put my ear to it to here this samsung.

Sorry this went a bit off topic, but then again HDs are a big part of recovery, since they are often the cause of a problem such as needing to do a recovery when they go bad. Or the noise causes the user to throw the computer into a wall cause the noise sent them bonkers.

re: yellow dog
by 2501 on Wed 7th Apr 2004 05:10 UTC

i used to run yellow dog and i never had any problems with the installation. i really wonder what went wrong with ydl in this article.

i have never tried gentoo but i would love to try it.

- 2501

Yellow Dog
by None on Wed 7th Apr 2004 05:51 UTC

I remember reading on yellowdog linux's site that there was an issue with firmware upgrades. It appears that in one of the OS X upgrades a firmware patch gets installed and does something funky to the boot sequence. I dont remember if there was a fix or work around. This may or may not be the same issue.

Hope this is somewhat helpful.

Off-site backups.
by Anonymous on Wed 7th Apr 2004 20:46 UTC

In the case of a big corporation... I cannot stress the importance of off-site backups enough! What happens if not only does the hard drive crash, but the room catches on fire, and burns down everything, including your backup tapes? No problem, the office down the street, or even across the country has a backup tape, with an environment setup for disaster recovery.

Squealing drives? Uh-oh.
by cr on Thu 8th Apr 2004 03:46 UTC

OT from the main article, but not from the comment stream, and it needs saying.

If your drives get real noisy after a few months, it would behoove you to pay some real attention to airflow in that box.

Hard drive heads are little chunks of ceramic or ferrite. They fly mainly on a film of air, but part of the lubrication, especially at takeoff and landing, is a silicone compound. That lubrication is supposed to last the drive a "lifetime". The main bearings for the platter spindle also have "lifetime lubrication".

Excess heat buildup around the hard drives will bake that lubricant, drastically shortening the drive's life. I once worked at a hard-drive refurbishing facility; I've seen what that lubricant looks like when it's baked. It's not slick anymore, instead it's stiff, even abrasive. When the heads take off and land on that, they get sanded until they're no longer aerodynamic. Meanwhile, the spindle bearings are overheating and warping, if they don't just crumble and sinter from the heat first.

All of that, just from "baking a drive" -- installing it where it gets no cooling airflow, or only gets the waste heat from other hot components.

Next time you've got that box up for a while, shut it down, open it up and feel around in there. If your hard drives are too hot to touch comfortably, you're killing them.

http://crashrecovery.org/
by Robert M. Stockmann on Thu 8th Apr 2004 23:58 UTC

In case of disaster and being in need of disaster recovery i routinely use The CrashRecoveryKit for Linux. This tool can recover your LILO and GRUB boot records, backup your data on both NTFS and ext2/ext3 and other partitions over the network to your master linux server. Or even use a USB2.0 usb-storage device for backup purposes.

About the Captive ntfs read-write filesystem access. It works, but the speed of copying and writing to NTFS lacks seriously. Moreover the Captive tool needs almost a complete GNOME GUI layer, which made me decide not to use it into a thing as the CRK for Linux. If i want a tool which support ntfs in a read-write fashion, i expect it to work from the command line like this :

# modprobe ntfs
# modprobe captive-ntfs
# mount -t ntfs -orw,captive /dev/hda1 /mnt

Robert