yet another xp failure – or how linux saves the day

so last night i put my HP nc6320 into standby – or tried to. Played up weird and so I shut it down and went to bed. This morning started the lappie up and get a “/system/config is missing or corrupt” message. I do the good thing and consult all the articles on how to restore and it just gets worse. Like really bad. Blue screen of death bad.

So in desparation I think back to what things I’ve thought about using in these sort of instance – there’s a CD image called Bart’s PE which is a windows “shell” which supposedly lets you do some useful things… not good enough. I then remembered that you can boot linux from CD – even though the filesystem is different there MUST be a live CD that lets you read NTFS.

There is! System Rescue CD is about 110mb but is packed full of useful stuff – I downloaded 0.3.7 beta from – it’s a little confusing for windows people (like i realised when presented with a systermrestorecd/root%> command prompt. Googled again and found out the necessary commands – here’s the run down of what i did (from the initial command prompt [in bold]):

  • fb800 docache dodhcp (run in 800 x 600 with cache and auto dhcp discovery)
  • mount -t ntfs-3g /dev/sda1 /mnt/windows (this tells linux you want to mount a device with the alias “windows”
  • plugged in my USB exernal drive
  • mkdir /mnt/ext (make a temp folder called ext in the mount (mnt) folder)
  • mount -t ntfs-3g /dev/sdb1 /mnt/ext (mounted the external drive)
  • cd /mnt/windows

VOILA! I have access to my hard disk, thanks to NTFS-3G. btw sda1 refers to the first mounted drive (so D: would probably be sda2). sdb1 refers to the usb hard drive.

I can then use the cp (copy), mv (move), tar (zip) and rm (delete) files and folders to my hearts content.

If you’re really wanting something a bit more user friendly the package comes with “Midnight Commander” (think old skool file manager) which lets you view all your mounts etc. and saves typing 🙂 Type “mc -c” at the command prompt to start it (the -c means start in colour – whoooo!)

Additionally if you wanted to have a better interface, the package also comes with X Windows (type “startx” at the prompt). If you are running in framebuffer mode as i described above then first type xorgconfig and go through the config for your own PC setup.

Not sure how i’m gonna save the hard disk totally – would be nice to get windows back as-is, but rather get the data and re-install the software (pain in the arse though).

Useful links

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