While cleaning up an old machine, I was first using CCleaner from Windows to wipe some partitions because DBAN crashed on it for some reason. To clean some of the Linux partitions on the drive which Windows can’t access, I dropped them, so I could re-add them as NTFS partitions for further wiping. Problem was I forgot those partitions were also hosting my master boot record, so when I rebooted to confirm my partition changes… I ended up with an unbootable system…
Now I had to find a way to wipe those disks from Linux, but first I still wanted to get access to my WinXP setup. I could have just nuked it from orbit (read: boot from a Linux Live CD and shred it) but I was just wondering if I would manage to get it to boot again, just in case I do this on a system that really matters some day. So I started browsing to the ISO’s available on the Universal USB Boot installer and ran into the awesome Trinity Rescue Kit.
I installed it on a very small USB drive (265MB) I had lying around and managed to rewrite a Windows boot record with the tools supplied from the text-based menu. Nice! I also noticed that it has a bunch of disk rescue tools on board like a backup tool, full NTFS support, the Midnight Commander explorer for file recovery and a Windows password reset tool (hackedy-hack). On top of that, it also has a virus scanner on board, ways to set up network file shares and good, detailed documentation.
This distro is certainly one that is getting a nice spot on my PC CPR tool belt. Without exploring all the goodness Trinity has to offer, I’m sure it’s a huge time saver if you need to help out with an unbootable system or one seriously infected with trojans or virii. You can even use this to set up a headless file share server in no time if you want.
Photo by lilbambi01, cc-licensed.