Tools for the job (Part 2) - Boot-repair-disk, Trinity Rescue Kit & PartedMagic

6/1/2012 2:43:10 PM

Let’s look at some examples of live CD distros:

Puppy Linux

Puppy Linux is a really tiny (128MB) distro that will boot off a live CD or USB stick. It has a clever system that allows files and configuration changes to be written back to the CD or USB, making it a portable OS that leaves no footprint on the host machine. It may be a little sparse and quirky for some, but it gives you a useful operating system in minutes, and can be used as a complete portable desktop.


At the other end of the spectrum, Ubuntu is a full operating system which can be installed or run from a CD. The .iso image is 685MB in size.

By default it comes with many useful tools, and a full graphical interface. Although it may be a little like overkill for most situations, I have found it useful when stuck without a working internet connection. Once, it was the only disk that I had to hand, and it allowed me to boot up and download drivers for the network card on a stricken Windows PC.

Ubuntu Rescue Remix

URR is a more targeted version of Ubuntu. It’s much smaller at 223MB, and it’s CLI (Command Line Interface) only by default, although you can install a GUI.


This is a nice simple repair solution for the majority of dual-boot problems. Lost your Windows boot option in Linux, or not getting Linux after installing Windows?

Once again, it’s a live CD. Download and burn it to a CD or USB stick and boot the computer with it. It can repair the majority of dual-boot problems, often with one click. You can also use it for uninstalling an OS and recovering your disk space without losing access to your remaining OS of choice.

Pretty obviously, it runs on Linux, but it can repair Windows boot records. It also offers you a simple desktop GUI from which you can launch a few tools, including a text editor, a file-manager, a terminal, and a web browser among others.

Description: Bootrepair doing its stuff

Bootrepair doing its stuff

Trinity Rescue Kit

Billing itself as ‘CPR for your computer’, TRK is a live CD Linux distro that is specifically aimed at fixing problems with Windows PCs. It has a large number of utilities, and can recover files, reset forgotten passwords, scan for viruses and many other tasks without a great deal of Linux knowledge. It runs various tools from a menu-type front-end.

Description: The somewhat menacing Trinity menu scree

The somewhat menacing Trinity menu scree


SysRecCD is another live CD distro that is more focused on disaster recovery for Linux PCs, but it can be used with Windows machines.


The PartedMagic live CD has grown into a full-blown distro. This CD image contains a huge number of useful utilizes, including Parted, Gparted, Partimage, TestDisk, Truecrypt, Clonezilla, Ghost4Linux, SuperGrubDisk, DDrescue and many more.

Description: The Parted Magic desktop, booted from a live CD

The Parted Magic desktop, booted from a live CD

It boots from a CD or USB stick into a graphical desktop with easy access to all of these tools. Armed with this distro, you can format, clone, repair, erase or recover disks and files.

Description: Parted Magic menus, displaying the wealth of utilities available

Parted Magic menus, displaying the wealth of utilities available

UBCD (Ultimate Boot CD)

UBCD is a collection of tools of varying sophistication, designed to boot an unresponsive system and carry out various diagnostics and repairs on it. Although it is squarely aimed at Windows users, it has various boot methods, involving FreeDOS and Linux. The current version even includes a bootable image of PartedMagic, mentioned above.

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