Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Used Linux to rescue MSWindows machines.

Question was asked recently what open software tools do we use or have used for tech support. Once, I thought about it the answer was, what do I not use. One of the first tools I ever used was Knoppix. Microsoft Windows did not have a free tool (there was a commercial one from sys internals) to boot to an operating system to rescue failed hard drives. Of course you could pull the drive and hook it to another machine, but that could be very iffy.

To back up files, I would boot with knoppix live cd (long before ubuntu) and make sure the drive was readable despite not being bootable. Then I would use the linux ntfs utilities and samba to log into the mswindows server and back up the user files to the home drive from linux. Of course you had to have admin rights to do that both on linux and MSWindows.  That made a lot of people happy that they did not lose all their data. Lastly,  the data was restored after a hard drive replacement and a new MSWindows was installed on the new drive. Then it was easy just to drag and drop files to the new system all under MSWindows.

Back then all we had was Samba3 and no gui utilities. Today things are a bit different.

apt-get install samba4 to get the latest version of Samba.
apt-get install cifs-utils to get necessary files/utils required to mount Windows shares.
Then do the following:
mkdir /mnt/share
Type the following command to mount the share:
mount -t cifs //windowsmachineip/sharename -o username=user,password=urPassword /mnt/share
On older machines the shares could be mounted as follows:
mount -t smbfs -o username=user,password=urPassword //windowsmachineip/sharename /mnt/share

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