Андрей Смирнов
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The 5 best rescue and recovery disks for a windows system restore

The Ultimate Boot CD

Similar to Hiren’s BootCD, UBCD troubleshoots both Windows and Linux systems

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with a massive range of helpful utilities. It is useful against issues up and down the system error board with drive cloning and data recovering tools, hardware testing, partition scanning and a host of other system repair tools.

UBCD aims to “consolidate as many diagnostic tools as possible into one bootable CD”—something the makers have come very close to achieving.


UBCD is completely free for download, so be wary of any site attempting to take payment for a download.

Accessing a Share on a Windows computer with CIFS

SystemRescueCd comes with the smbfs/cifs client package that allows you to
connect to a Windows machine having shared drives. In recent kernels, support
for has been replaced with so you should try not to use .

The mount-cifs package allows you to access a Windows computer on the network.
Here is an example to explain how to access Windows shared folders. Let’s
consider the Windows box is on and has a shared directory called
mydata accessible by the user called :

Now you should be able to see files in . Do not forget to
unmount the directory when you have finished what you are doing in the shared


In the traditional partitioning layout, there are just two levels of storage:
the physical disks, and the partitions which are containers inside a physical
disk. LVM comes with three levels of storage to offer more flexibility. We end
up with containers called Logical-Volumes which correspond to an improved type
of disk partition. It’s important to understand that partitions and
Logical-Volumes are just sets of disk blocks with a size. You still have to make
a filesystem on your volume to use it. It’s different from Solaris ZFS where the
volume manager and the filesystem are integrated. In the world of Linux, the
volume manager and the filesystem are independent. You can choose which
filesystem you want to use on the top of a Logical-Volume. The ext4 filesystem
is the default choice because it is stable, but you can also use xfs for
instance. In the future, btrfs could be the standard filesystem in Linux.

Here are the three levels of storage:

  • Physical Volumes (PV): This is the physical storage used by LVM. it may b
    an entire disk or an existing partition
  • Volume Group (VG): This is an aggregate of one or more Physical Volumes,
    and it contains Logical-Volumes.
  • Logical Volume (LV): This is the space offered by LVM that you can use as
    a partition to make a filesystem and store your files.

In any case all of these three levels are required. You have to create a
Volume-Group even if you only have one Physical-Volume on your computer. With
these three levels of storage, you can organize your data in a very flexible
way, and you can sometimes make very interesting combinations.

LVM manages the disk space in chunks called extents. They all have the same size
(32MB in general). That way the blocks of a volume can be spread over the whole
size of your disks, which provides the possibility to resize the volumes
multiple of times with no limitation other than the total disk space.

It’s also possible to use both LVM and the traditional partitioning method on
the same disk: for instance you can install Windows on the first partition of
your disk, install linux on the second partition, and create a third partition
for LVM to store your data in a flexible way.

System tools included

  • GNU Parted: creates, resizes, moves, copies partitions, and filesystems (and more).
  • GParted: GUI implementation using the GNU Parted library.
  • FSArchiver: flexible archiver that can be used as both system and data recovery software
  • ddrescue : Attempts to make a copy of a block device that has hardware errors, optionally filling corresponding bad spots in input with user defined pattern in the copy.
  • File systems tools (for Linux and Windows filesystems): format, resize, and debug an existing partition of a hard disk
  • Ntfs3g: enables read/write access to MS Windows NTFS partitions.
  • Test-disk : tool to check and undelete partition, supports reiserfs, ntfs, fat32, ext3/ext4 and many others
  • Memtest: to test the memory of your computer (first thing to test when you have a crash or unexpected problems)
  • Rsync: very-efficient and reliable program that can be used for remote backups.
  • Network tools (Samba, NFS, ping, nslookup, …): to backup your data across the network

Browse the short system tools page for more details about the most important software included.

Browse the detailed package list for a full list of the packages.

It is possible to make custom versions of the system.
For example, you can add your own scripts, make an automatic restoration of the
system. It is also possible to
burn a custom DVD,
with SystemRescueCd and 4GB for your data (backup for example). Read the manual
for more details.

You can use SystemRescueCd to backup data from an unbootable Windows
computer, if you
want to backup the data stored on a Windows computer that cannot boot any more.

It is very easy to install SystemRescueCd on a USB
stick. That is very useful in
case you cannot boot from the CD drive. You just have to copy several files to
the stick and run syslinux. The install process can be done from Linux or
Windows. Follow instructions from the manual for more details.

Recommended USB installation method on Windows

If you are running Windows on your computer the recommended installation program
is rufus as it is easy to use and supports both UEFI and
Legacy-BIOS booting methods.

  • Download SystemRescueCd-6.1.4 (or more recent) from the download page
  • Download rufus and install it on Windows
  • Plug in your USB-stick and wait a few seconds to allow enough time for the system to detect it
  • Execute Rufus and select the USB stick in the drop-down list
  • Select the SystemRescueCd ISO image that you have downloaded
  • Select ‘MBR’ partition scheme as it will be compatible with both BIOS and UEFI
  • Select ‘BIOS or UEFI’ in target to get the best compatibility
  • Check the ‘volume label’ is correct as it must be set to SYSRCDXYZ (cf below)
  • Select FAT32 filesystem as the UEFI boot process only works from FAT filesystems
  • Click on the start button and wait until the operation is complete

In the previous steps refers to the version number, eg:
for SystemRescueCd-6.1.4. Rufus should automatically use the label which was set
on the ISO filesystem and hence it should set this label automatically on the
USB device. You should not have to change it but you should make sure the label
is correct as this is required for the device to start properly. What matters is
that the label matches the value passed to the boot option in the
boot loader configuration files on the device ( and
) so files can be found at the time the system starts from
the USB device.

Creating a Bootable CD-ROM

Almost all the above mentioned downloads are ISO image which either need to be burned on a CD/DVD or on a USB drive. You will need a third party app in order to burn the ISO image to the CD-ROM. Here are the step by step information for doing this easily.

I will use Infra Recorder for Windows XP, Windows Vista and Windows 7. You can also use other popular tools like ImgBurn, CDBurnerXP, BurnAware or Nero etc. Here are the steps:

  1. Download InfraRecorder from here.
  2. Insert a blank CD into the CD/DVD drive
  3. Open InfraRecorder and choose Write Image. A browser window will appear
  4. Go to the location where you have saved the ISO file
  5. Select the file and click Open. A configuration window will display the recommended settings for the current task
  6. Click OK. The CD is ejected after the writing process finishes
  7. Go to the infected computer and boot it with the CD you have just created

Alternative Windows Rescue Disks

There is a huge amount of Windows rescue disks out there. Here are three few more for you to peruse.

The Trinity Rescue Kit

The Trinity Rescue Kit is specifically designed with common Windows and Linux issues in mind. Creator, Tom Kerremans, authored the Live CD to revitalize ailing systems using a range of virus and malware scanners, password recovery tools, partition recovery tools and drive cloning utilities.

TRK doesn’t have the massive range of HBCD or UBCD but is still extremely useful to have a copy of. Best of all, like many of the other resources on this list, it’s completely free, so grab a copy.


While not strictly a bootable disk, DriveDroid for Android is a ridiculously useful system restore tool to keep in your pocket. Those Android users with a rooted device can make use of DriveDroid’s massive selection of Linux distros, both big and small, in an app that boots as a USB drive.

Handy for pocket based recovery without optical media or USB drives, or if you just like carrying a massive amount of Linux distros around ready for deployment at any moment.

Note: Your Android device must have root access

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for DriveDroid to work.


…It does exactly what it says on the disk…

But seriously, it does. SystemRescueCD is a Linux-based rescue disk designed to troubleshoot damaged Windows and Linux based systems. It comes packed with antivirus, malware, and rootkit tools, partition management and cloning, and is quite handy for network troubleshooting and diagnostics. The CD also includes a handy disc burner, so you can continue to burn while SystemRescueCD does its thing.

It can be used as a bootable disk or USB and, like all the best things in life, is completely free. Many IT technicians reach for SystemRescueCD following a system crash, and we understand why. Another must-have for your CD stack.

Dr.Web Live Disk

графической средой MATE

Инструмент отличается удобным интерфейсом, наличием небольшого, но актуального набора приложений и широкими возможностями в плане настройки сканирования.

В состав антивирусного диска входит браузер, редактор реестра, системный монитор и терминал, текстовый редактор, средство создания скриншотов, два файловых менеджера и приложение Wine, позволяющее запускать Windows-программы в среде Linux.

Как пользоваться Dr.Web Live Disk

На первом этапе загрузки программа предлагает выбрать действие — продолжить загрузку среды, выполнить тестирование ОЗУ и загрузиться в обычном режиме.

Выберите первое, примите в открывшемся окошке сканера лицензионное соглашение и нажмите кнопку «Начать проверку».
По умолчанию антивирусный сканер Dr.Web Live Disk выполняет проверку ключевых каталогов, если вам нужно просканировать определенный раздел, каталог или файл, нажмите «Выбрать объекты для проверки».

Дополнительно в настройках сканера можно указать автоматически применяемые к обнаруженным угрозам действия (по умолчанию решение принимает пользователь), задать исключения.
Найденные зараженные файлы могут быть вылечены, удалены или перемещены в карантин, из которого их затем можно восстановить либо удалить. Записанный на флешку Dr.Web Live Disk может быть использован многократно, так как поддерживает обновление вирусных сигнатур.


  • Продуманное юзабилити, удобный файловый менеджер.
  • Возможность выбора областей и объектов сканирования вплоть до отдельных файлов.
  • Возможность обновления вирусных баз.
  • Наличие приложения Wine, позволяющего запускать исполняемые файлы Windows в загрузочной среде.
  • Наличие редактора реестра.

Загрузка Kaspersky Rescue Disk 18 на компьютере

Подключите USB накопитель к компьютеру или вставьте CD или DVD диск в лоток дисковода.

При включении или перезагрузке компьютера, войдите в меню загрузки BIOS (Boot Menu) при помощи клавиш «F12» или «F11», для выбора загрузочного устройства: загрузочной USB флешки или CD/DVD диска. Другой вариант: выбор приоритета загрузки Kaspersky Rescue Disk, записанного на флешку или оптический диск, в настройках BIOS.

Выполните загрузку Kaspersky Rescue Disk.

На экране компьютера появится надпись на черном фоне: «Press ESC to load Kaspersky Rescue Disk». Для запуска Kaspersky Rescue Disk нажмите на клавишу «Esc».

В следующем окне необходимо выбрать один из вариантов для продолжения работы:

  • Kaspersky Rescue Disk. Графический режим.
  • Kaspersky Rescue Disk. Ограниченный графический режим.
  • Информация об оборудовании.
  • Загрузка с жесткого диска.
  • Перезагрузка компьютера.
  • Выключение компьютера.

По умолчанию, выбрана работа антивирусного диска в графическом режиме, подходящем для большинства пользователей. Для переключения режимов используйте клавиши со стрелками. После выбора нужного варианта, нажмите на клавишу «Enter».

Далее происходит инициализация загрузочного диска, после завершения которой, откроется окно Kaspersky Rescue Disk. После открытия окна приложения, произойдет автоматическое соединение с интернетом.

В окне «Лицензионное соглашение и Политика конфиденциальности» поставьте флажки напротив пунктов: «Я подтверждаю, что полностью прочитал, понял и принимаю все условия лицензионного соглашения» и «Я подтверждаю, что полностью прочитал, понял и принимаю условия Политики конфиденциальности», а затем нажмите на кнопку «Принять».

Concrete example

Let’s consider that you have two hard disks: /dev/sda (250GB) and
/dev/sdb (160GB). Let’s create four primary partitions on the first
disk for Linux-boot, Windows, Linux-root, and LVM, and one partition for linux
on the second disk (entirely dedicated to LVM):

The next thing to do is to create two Physical-Volumes on these disks. This will
just initialize these two disks so that LVM can use them. There is no name
associated with Physical-Volumes other than the name of the device where they
have been created.

Now, we will create one Volume-Group as the concatenation of the two
Physical-Volumes. We have to choose a name for this Volume-Group, let’s
use VolGroup00:

You can print details about this new Volume-Group using either vgdisplay
or vgs.

This Volume-Group now provides about 400GB of storage that we can use to make
Logical-Volumes. Each time we create a Logical-Volume we have to give it a name
and a size. We could make one big Logical-Volume of 400GB is we wanted to, but
let’s create only two Logical-Volumes and ext3 filesystems on the top:

When you use lvcreate, your system will create a special file to manage this
device. It can be either /dev/vgname/lvname or /dev/mapper/vgname-pvname or both.

After some time, you may decide to use the disk space which is not yet allocated
in your Volume-Group to grow a Logicial-Volume which needs more space. Most
linux filesystems can be grown online, which means that you don’t have to
unmount it. They can be grown even if they are in use. This is very useful on
servers for which we want to avoid any down time. Let’s add 10GB of space for
the backups:

The command to resize a Logical-Volume is lvresize. You can either give it a
relative size (+10 GB to grow it by 10GB) or an absolute size (45GB). When no
size is given to resize2fs (the tool that resizes ext2/ext3/ext4 filesystems),
then it automatically grows to the size of the underlying volume which is what
we want. Be careful if you shrink a volume. You have to unmount the filesystem
first since linux filesystems do not support online shrinking with the exception
of btrfs. Also you have to shrink the filesystem first (using resize2fs,
resize_reiserfs, …) and then you can resize the volume. A filesystem cannot be
bigger than the volume where it lives. For this reason, it’s good practice not
to allocate all the space of your Volume-Groups immediately. It’s recommended to
create small Logical-Volumes first so as to leave some free space on your
Volume-Group. You can always grow the volumes later when you need more space.
This way you avoid having to unmount a filesystem to shrink it in order to free
some space for other Logical-Volumes. This would require some down time which
is not always possible on production machines.


Here is a short list that describes what you will find on this rescue system:

  • A recent Linux kernel, that supports most important file systems, and the most
    important hardware. Supported file systems include: ext3, ext4, xfs, reiserfs,
    fat16, fat32, jfs, ntfs. The kernel supports NFS and Samba.
  • Graphical partition tools, that aim to be free partition-magic clones for
    Linux. You can use GParted.
  • Most important console system tools for Linux. Of course, you have GNU Parted
    (partition editor), Partimage or FSArchiver (drive image clone) for backing up
    partitions to an image file, File system tools (e2fsprogs for ext4, xfsprogs,
    reiserfsprogs for reiserFS, jfsutils, dosfstools for FAT,
    ntfsprogs for NTFS. You can use dump/restore for backing up an ext4 partition.
  • ntfs-3g (third generation of the NTFS driver) provides a full read-write
    support for NTFS partitions from Linux.
  • Usual tools for Linux users: tar/gzip/bzip2 for archiving files. The same
    tools for Windows users: zip/unzip, rar/unrar, p7zip are provided. This means
    that you are able to backup/restore your windows data. We have added DAR
    (Disk Archiver). This is a program like tar, but more powerful
  • Midnight-Commander (type on the console command line) is a free
    Norton-Commander clone for Linux. With mc, it is easy to browse, copy, move,
    edit all files on your computer. If you don’t know all the linux shell
    commands well, you can start with mc.
  • You can use basic web browsers to get some documentation while you are working
    from the rescue environment.
  • Of course, editors are important when you have problems. Nano (easy editor),
    vim (vi improved) and qemacs (emacs clone) are provided for the text mode.
  • The XFCE graphical desktop environment allow you to use graphical programs
    such as GParted and graphical text editors such as Geany.


  • 592 MB

Kaspersky Rescue Disk (c) (2020.08.02)

Create a disk image to boot from and safely remove viruses from your computer in a non-dangerous e…

Aug 2nd 2020, 09:19 GMT

Windows XP / Windows XP 64 bit / Windows Vista / Windows Vista 64 bit / Windows 7 / Windows 7 64 bit / Windows 8 / Windows 8 64 bit / Windows 2003 / Windows Server 2012 / Windows 10 / Windows 10 64 bit

  • 643 MB

BitDefender Rescue CD

Scan and clean your computer before your OS starts using a powerful environment especially designe…

Feb 4th 2015, 04:17 GMT

Windows All

  • 1.05 MB

Norton Bootable Recovery Tool

A comprehensive and reliable application that enables you to create a boot disc or ISO file to hel…

Feb 3rd 2018, 14:21 GMT

Windows XP / Windows Vista / Windows 7 / Windows 8 / Windows 10

  • 170 MB

AVG Rescue CD 120.160420

A powerful toolset for rescue & repair of infected machines without accessing your operating syste…

May 9th 2016, 15:27 GMT

Windows XP / Windows XP 64 bit / Windows Vista / Windows Vista 64 bit / Windows 7 / Windows 7 64 bit / Windows 8 / Windows 8 64 bit / Windows 2003 / Windows 2008 / Windows 2008 64 bit / Windows 2008 R2 / Windows Server 2012

  • 149 MB

Trinity Rescue Kit 3.4 Build 372 / 3.4 Build 400 Beta

Oldschool Linux distribution that allows you to reset passwords, as well as rescue, repair and eve…

Feb 28th 2018, 06:40 GMT

Windows All

  • 787.24 MB

Dr.Web LiveDisk 9.0.1 (Aug 04, ‎2020)

Clean your computer of malicious components, copy important information to removable data media or…

Aug 4th 2020, 07:55 GMT

Windows All

  • 192 MB

Vba32 Rescue

Restore your computer to a virus-free state with the help of this useful piece of software that co…

Mar 25th 2016, 22:44 GMT

Windows All

  • 25.7 MB

SARDU 3.4.0

Multiboot ISO and USB creation tool that features various rescue CDs, Linux distributions, recover…

Mar 27th 2020, 10:27 GMT

Windows XP / Windows Vista / Windows 7 / Windows 8 / Windows 10

  • 317 MB

G Data Boot-Medium

Boot scan your computer for viruses with this tool with one of the best tools for malware removal …

Dec 21st 2017, 19:39 GMT

Windows All

  • 136 MB

F-Secure Rescue CD 3.16 Build 73600

A handy utility that can scan your computer before booting, so as to detect and remove malicious f…

Jan 6th 2015, 12:19 GMT

Windows All

  • 123.2 MB

Trend Micro Rescue Disk

Scan your PC for threats without launching Windows, remove persistent infections and repair the ma…

Aug 31st 2017, 23:34 GMT

Windows XP / Windows Vista / Windows Vista 64 bit / Windows 7 / Windows 7 64 bit / Windows 8 / Windows 8 64 bit / Windows 10 / Windows 10 64 bit

  • 695 MB

Ultimate Boot CD — UBCD 5.3.8

Backup and recovery tool that includes all the diagnostic utilities you need for creating a bootab…

Mar 19th 2018, 13:58 GMT

Windows All

Step-1: prepare the bootable cdrom or usb-key

All you have to do is to download the latest ISO image of SystemRescueCd for x86,
burn it onto a cdrom disc using any burning software. If the computer where
windows is broken cannot boot from a cdrom disc, you can also Install
SystemRescueCd on an USB stick
and boot from that.

Then, go into the BIOS of your computer (you often have to press F2 or DEL
during the hardware initialisation period), go into the section where the boot
order is defined, and make sure the cdrom or the USB device is the first
device in the list (or before the hard drive).

Now, reboot with the cdrom / usb stick inserted. If it works, you should see a
SystemRescueCd ASCII art logo, and boot instructions. You can then just press
enter to boot SystemRescueCd with the default settings. If you plan to use the
network, it is recommended to boot with your network settings so that you don’t
have to configure it later. To do that, just type the following line at the
prompt and press enter. Of course, you will have to replace this address with
the relevant IP address for this computer:

The gateway address is required only if you want to connect to a computer that
is located on a different network. To use a dynamic IP address instead of a
static IP, you can type the following:

Don’t worry about the network settings now, you can change them later if it
fails. You can also read the chapter about the
(/manual/Booting_SystemRescueCd/) to get more details about that.

Network configuration tools

If your system has supported hardware, the Ethernet or Wifi network adapter
should be automatically detected, and the driver loaded. The interface needs to
be assigned an IP address and a default gateway.

SystemRescueCd comes with Network-Manager. It provides a very user friendly
graphical interface to configure the network. It makes the configuration easier
especially for wireless networks. For instance, wireless networks will be
automatically detected and connecting to them is very easy. The Network-Manager
is available as a small icon in the taskbar just next to the clock. The
Network-Manager is only available in the graphical environment.

You can also configure the network with other tools such as the standard
or commands. In that case you will have to
stop the Network-Manager first, else it will conflict and you will loose your
settings. You can stop it by running
in the shell.

The following sections of this chapter explain how to use the network using linux
commands. You do not have to read it if you prefer to use the Network-Manager.

MS Windows and cygwin

The rsync daemon can be run on an MS Windows system by using
cygwin which provides a Linux environment.
Minimal information is provided here to get you started.
It is not emulated programs: it is just the software we use on linux has been
compiled to run on windows, so it is a windows executable which is speaking to
the windows kernel directly

To install cygwin, run the setup.exe program found on the
cygwin website

The hard disks as seen as , , … .

Click on the cygwin icon to run a bash shell.

You can also install rsync as a daemon on cygwin. To install services in cygwin,
you can use a special program named . It installs a cygwin
service as a normal windows service, so that it can be automatically started at
windows boot time. That way you don’t have to start the daemon by hand.

Here is the command to use:

Then, start the new service run and start the service named “cygrsyncd”

Step-2: get access to your windows disk

When the boot process is finished, you should get a black screen on which to
type commands. All the following steps will be based on commands so you may stay
in this environment. You can also run commands from a terminal in the graphical
environment if you prefer. Just type in that case.

Detection of the disks

The first thing to do is to detect the partition where your data are located.
Linux uses names that are different from windows for the disks, so you will see
names such as , instead of or .
To detect the disks and partitions, just run the following command:
. You should see an output such as:

In that example there were three partitions on the computer, you may have only
one or two partitions. The first column is very important since it is the device
name of the partition that we will need to access your data. You should write
that name on a piece of paper.

Access to the correct partition

Now we will have to make this data accessible from the system. Let’s consider
that you want to backup the data located on the disk called . The
first thing to do is to mount the partition to a directory. This only means that
this directory will contain a view of your disk, nothing will be written to it:

The only option which is used here is , it means that the data on the
disk are mounted with read-only access. We just use this option to make sure we
can’t make any errors that could destroy this data, but you can mount the disk
with full read-write access if you prefer (just remove that option from the
command). Now, let’s see the contents of the partition:

You should see something like this:

If you want to browse your data, it’s recommended to use Midnight Commander.
Just type in the console to get it. It’s a very intuitive tool similar
to Norton Commander that can be used to browse your disk. It can also be used to
copy, move, rename files and directories using the function keys. Press F10 to
exit from Midnight Commander.

Setting up your network

SystemRescueCd can connect you to your network. This functionality allows you
to make a backup over the network, download files, work remotely using ssh
or access files that are shared on a Unix server (with NFS) or on a MS Windows
system (with Samba).

The most convenient way to configure your network is to use the Network-Manager
service. It provides a very user friendly graphical tool to configure the
network. It makes the network configuration much easier especially if you are
attempting to connect to wireless networks. This tool is available as a small
icon in the task bar next to the clock when you are in the graphical environment.

If you want to configure the network by hand you can use command line tools such
as ifconfig or dhclient but you may have to stop the
Network-Manager service first using systemctl stop NetworkManager

If your system has supported hardware, the network interface card (NIC) was
auto-detected, and the driver loaded. The interface needs to be assigned an
IP address and a default gateway.

More information is available at the
page about the network.

Adding SRM modules to the ISO Image from Windows

Adding SRM modules to the CDRom version of SystemRescueCd is a bit more
complicated as you have to recreate another ISO image with the extra files
before you burn it. Under Windows this can be achieved using version 2.0 of the
SystemRescueCd installer for Windows:

  • Download the SystemRescueCd ISO image from the download page
  • Download the SystemRescueCd installer for Windows
  • Execute the installer that you have just downloaded
  • Select a work directory which is just an empty temp folder on the hard-disk where files are going to be extracted
  • Select the original ISO image that you have downloaded previously
  • Customize files in the work directory If you wish you can add or modify files that have just been extracted, and you can copy the new module in the work directory (in the same directory as sysrcd.dat)
  • Select the new ISO image to build in the SystemRescueCd installer
  • Click on the Rebuild button to create the new ISO image

Identification of the boot and root filesystems

To repair Grub, you may need to know the name of the boot and root
partitions where Linux is installed. If you have many partitions on your
disk you may not remember which one it is. You can run
or from
SystemRescuecd to show the list of filesystems of your computer. Here is
an example:

There we can see that is the boot partition, and
is the root filesystem for Linux-Debian. This is obvious because the
labels are appropriate, but it’s not always that simple. All linux root
filesystems are supposed to have their init program in . You
can check that Linux is installed on a partition by checking if that
file exists:

The directory is where the linux kernel image (vmlinuz) and the
associated initramfs (initrd) and grub files are installed. This
directory is either part of the root filesystem or on a separate
partition. You can identify the boot partition because it’s quite small
in general (between 50MB and 300MB), and it’s often the first partition
of the hard drive. You can mount the boot partition and check that it
contains the files we expect (vmlinuz and initrd):


There is an easy way to boot SystemRescueCd from the harddisk. It can be
convenient if you often want to boot on SystemRescueCd as it will be faster and
there is no need to insert any media before you restart your computer. This
method allows to use SystemRescueCd as you do with the CDRom or USB version. It
also allows to boot SystemRescueCd if you do not have any CD/DVD drive or USB
socket in your computer. You can use another operating system to process the
installation of SystemRescueCd, and enable it. Thus, this method is recommended
if you often use SystemRescueCd and you want to avoid having to insert the
device each time.

The installation is done by copying files from the SystemRescueCd media to the
local filesystem where your operating system is installed. This approach does
not require any repartitioning of your disk. Using grub4dos you can even install
SystemRescueCd on a Windows NTFS partition. All you have to do is to install the
files that are on the SystemRescueCd disc to an existing partition on your local
disk, that can be either a linux partition (ext4, xfs, …) or a Windows one
(NTFS). That way you can boot SystemRescueCd from your Windows partition, and
using the option you can even use it to troubleshoot Windows itself
or to work on the filesystem where it is installed.

There are two steps in this installation: first you will have to copy the main
SystemRescueCd files onto a partition of your disk. Then, you will have to
configure your boot loader. The installation process requires a partition with
enough space to copy SystemRescueCd files. You must have a working Grub2 boot
loader if you want to install the SystemRescueCd files on a Linux partition.


SystemRescueCd is a Linux system available on a bootable CD-ROM that allows you
to repair your system and your data after a crash. It also aims to provide an
easy way to do administrative tasks on your computer, such as creating and
editing the partitions of the hard disk. It contains a lot of system utilities
(parted, partimage, fstools, …) and basic ones (editors, midnight commander,
network tools). It aims to be very easy to use: just boot from the CD-ROM,
and you can do everything. The kernel of the system supports most important
file systems (ext3, ext4, xfs, reiserfs, jfs, vfat, ntfs, iso9660),
and network ones (samba and nfs).

You can use SystemRescueCd for many tasks:

  • The first time you use the computer, when no operating system is installed.
    The first task is creating partitions on the hard disk, and installing the
    operating system. With this CD-ROM, you can make partitions easily with the
    graphical partition tool GParted, and you can install Gentoo Linux.
  • After a crash, or a mistake, you may have problems booting. For example, after
    installing Windows, your bootloader (LILO, Grub) may have been erased from the
    MBR. With this CD-ROM, you have all you need for reinstalling Grub or Lilo.
  • For windows users that do not have Linux installed, it provides a tiny Linux
    System with most important system tools. For example, Windows users can backup
    their windows system partition using linux tools.

Limitations with LVM

Despite these good things, LVM may not always be appropriate:

  • Non-linux operating systems won’t see the volumes:
    There is currently no stable solution for reading Linux LVM volumes from
    another operating system such as Windows. Even if you use an NTFS filesystem
    on your Logical-Volume, Windows won’t be able to read it because of the way
    that LVM organises its disk extents. This is also true for proprietary
    software: in general the commercial products such as Partition-Magic or
    Norton-Ghost don’t support LVM. You have to use the standard linux
    administration tools instead.
  • An initramfs is required to boot a Linux system installed on a Logical-Volume:
    You won’t have any problem booting if only your data are on Logical-Volumes.
    If you install the root filesystem of your linux system on a Logical-Volume,
    an initramfs with the LVM tools is required to boot. Fortunately all of the
    mainstream Linux distributions install such an initramfs anyway. But there
    are linux users who want to compile support for all the critical things in the
    kernel image (disk drivers, filesystem drivers) so that no initramfs is
    necessary to boot. In that case the linux kernel won’t find the root
    filesystem because the support for LVM is implemented in userspace and not in
    the kernel. That’s why the initramfs is required to mount LVM based root
  • Grub1 can’t boot the kernel if it is stored on an LVM volume:
    Your kernel image and initramfs may either be on a specific /boot
    partition or they may just be in the /boot directory in your root filesystem
    where linux is installed. Anyway, at the beginning of the boot process, the
    boot manager (Grub in general) has to read the kernel image (often called
    vmlinuz) and the initramfs if there is one. The old version of Grub does not
    know how to read these files from LVM volumes. So the partition where these
    files are stored must be on a standard partition of your disk (ideally a
    /boot partition). This is not a problem any more as all major distributions
    are now using Grub2.
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