Best portable Linux distribution for data recovery

Hi everyone,

Besides working as a system administrator, I usually fix laptop and desktop computers, which often involves reinstalling operating systems and recovering data.

In the past I’ve used Knoppix and HirensBootCD for this task but I was wondering what other options are to do the same thing, especifically which ones you have used and why. I am not really interested in a list of tools I could try (as I could Google that for myself), but I am looking for experts to share their actual experience with Linux-based data recovery tools.

Thanks in advance!

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Okay Gacanepa,

Here is what i carry on the USB stick on my keychain:

I use pendrivelinux.com to create a multiboot (its YUMI in the Arch User Repository)

On the USB stick i load

  1. Arch because it can do anything really fast
  2. Clonezilla so that I can to a block for block copy on a computer that I am troubleshooting
  3. SystemRescueCD which is a gentoo ISO that has a ton of useful things on there when you want to use a GUI instead of the cmd line.
  4. TrinityRescueCD which I use when i am trying to work with windows.

Here is a general workflow when i am dealing with say… failing hard-drive.

If i know what the customer wants then i load up arch and ex-filtrate that data asap. If the harddrive survives that then i go for a DD clone with clonezilla.

Usually I connect a USB drive according to the clonezilla assistant prompts, but sometimes I copy to a network drive depending on how big the drive is and whats going on in the lab.

If the drive survives a back-up I will try one more DD clone to a replacement disk if i have one.

Thats one example of a workflow with these tools, and technically it can all be done from the arch live CD by quickly downloading the packages you need… but sometimes you dont have an internet connection right?

Another common task i have is upgrading windows users to linux.
this is a personal service, because every person is different and their is always a different thing they think is “cool” about linux.

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