As a system administrator, one tool that should never leave your hand luggage is a System recovery disk because you can never be sure of when you will experience a system failure or boot error.
These are rescue disks featuring diagnostic and cracking tools for Linux that will help you to bounce back from such situations:
1. Hiren’s Boot CD
Dubbed, “a first aid kit for your computer”, I doubt you will see a list of System rescue CDs without this one. It is arguably the most popular application which includes lots of tools for drivers, partitioning, antivirus and anti-malware, backup, and defragmentation.
Hiren’s Boot CD is free to use and can be downloaded as an ISO for stress-free installation using a USB stick or CD. It boots into a Linux based rescue environment, MiniXP, from where you can wipe your system’s CMOS, scan for hardware issues, backup your data to another drive, and recover passwords, among many other tasks.
2. Redo Backup and Recovery
This is probably the easiest-to-use System Recovery CD on our list because of its polished GUI and already-popular operations. It has a handy multitasking feature that allows you access other tools while running some operations in the background.
Coupled with the ability to clone disk partitions (using Partclone,) it features a text editor, web browser, terminal, and a file manager. It also has the ability to recover deleted files as well as restore a system to default by wiping its disk clean.
Redo Backup and Recovery is released under the GNU GPL3 and is available for download as an ISO to use on a bootable CD or USB.
3. Trinity Rescue Kit
Trinity Rescue Kit is designed specifically for the repair of both Windows and Linux systems with a number of boot options to choose from as is the case with many Linux distros.
Apart from the CLI interface you can switch to if you want the comfortability of using Linux-based commands for swifter operations.
Trinity Rescue Kit comes with an array of tools with which you can create, modify and recover disk partitions, backup data, reset lost passwords with winpass (on Windows) and run rootkit detection utility, among other operations.
It has antivirus and anti-malware tools to keep your system free of pesky bugs.
4. Ultimate Boot CD
Ultimate Boot CD is a bootable CD comprised of bootable disk images, each containing a unique variety of system admin tools and interfaces to allow for different operations on your system including drive cloning, system recovery, CPU and memory testing, BIOS management, e.t.c.
It is available for both Windows and Linux free of charge and so it wouldn’t hurt to give it a try during your spare time.
5. SystemRescue CD
SystemRescue CD is a powerful Linux-based tool for repairing both Linux and Windows systems. It has a pre-boot menu with which you can choose to boot into either a GUI or CLI.
It comes featuring an array of admin tools for various operations including rootkit and malware removal, backup recovery, drive cloning, network troubleshooting, and file editing, among others.
It has an antivirus and support for the most popular file systems (xt2/ext3/ext4, reiserfs, btrfs, xfs, jfs, vfat, and ntfs).
6. Mondo Rescue CD
Mondo Rescue is a GPL disaster recovery solution for virtually every Linux distro with which you can backup system data using tapes, network, disks, and CD/DVD. It has support for BIOS and UEFI, LVM, multiple filesystems, software, and hardware Raid.
It does not have a GUI so be prepared to throw around a lot of commands.
TestDisk is an Open Source data system recovery CD mainly designed to recover lost data storage partitions and to make non-booting disks bootable again.
It is strong enough to get rid of viruses and disaster recovery like as accidentally a partition table. You can also use TestDisk to collect information on partitions for further analysis.
SafeCopy is a data recovery tool that is designed to get as much information as possible from a damaged drive. It is written in C and is able to issue device resets, among other low-level commands.
It comes with a simulator you can use to simulate faulty media for testing safecopy in comparison to other data system rescue tools and draw up patterns for empirical analysis.
9. PhotoRec Digital Picture Recovery
PhotoRec is a media data recovery tool you can use to recover deleted or damaged media files and make them work by going for their underlying data.
It is released under the GNU license and works hand in hand with TestDisk. It is free to use and it is efficient.
10. Ddrescue Data Recovery Tool
GNU ddrescue is a data recovery tool with which you can backup data across multiple media drive types.
Like some of the others on this list, it is written in C++ and has grown to recognized in the Linux community as it is supported by most of the Linux distros.
11. Boot Repair Live CD
Boot Repair Live CD is a utility tool aimed at fixing system boot problems. You can use it to revive your OS if it has boot load problems by easily reinstalling GRUB boot loader, restoring a boot sector from a backup saved by Clean-Ubiquity, or fixing errors like the “GRUB rescue” error.
Install and use it from any session type (e.g. live-USB) and repair Windows XP – 8, all Debian and Ubuntu-based distros, OpenSuse, Mint, and any other GRUB and Syslinux-compatible systems.
12. Parted Magic Live CD
Parted Magic is a beautiful hard disk management solution. You can use it to partition your drives and manage their sizes, clone selected partitions or the whole drive, erasing discs, take benchmark and performance analysis, and rescue your disk from boot-related fails, lost files and read errors.
Parted Magic Live CD requires no installation and can be run from a flash drive as it is a stand-alone Linux OS. It is free to use and has support for virtually all available formats.
That ends our list for today. Did we leave out your choice of System Recovery CDs? Feel free to let us know and tell us why they deserve to be in the list in comments section below.