Wednesday, January 03, 2007

An alternative to a recovery floppy

Does anybody ever make a recovery disk these days after installing Linux. I certainly don't and now I'm regretting it! It's too inconvenient to root out a floppy or a blank CD and even if I had made one, I wouldn't have it with me here in Tokyo so I'd be just as badly off. Basically they are not terribly helpful.

The amount of non-redundant information stored on a recovery disk is quite small, basically it's your MBR and partition table and maybe some special boot params. Really all you need is a safe copyof your MBR and partition table. With that you can boot from a generic recovery CD, fix the partition table and MBR and then reboot as normal (or maybe fix the data on your partitions first now that you can access them).

So the world would be a better place if instead of offering to make a recovery CD, Linux distros offered to email you a copy of your MBR and partition table. If you use gmail then that's the end of it, it'll be there in your gmail account should the need arise. Download it and use dd to install it. Bingo. If you store your email on the computer itself then you need to copy that mail to somewhere else but that's still much easier that creating a floppy/CD that you're going to lose.

I'm off to file some bugs (just as soon as I get my data back!).

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