Another Linux Win

Had another Linux mini-win this weekend.

A friends laptop computer crashed due to a bad power supply. She needed the files, and I am happy to recover them if I can. So I pulled the drive; it was a SATA drive. I looked for an external drive carrier, they are more than $75, too expensive; I needed to move the files to DVD. I tried mounting the drive into my main desktop, since I had found some SATA data cables and we had had a standard four-pin Molex to SATA power connector donated, but the inserted SATA drive screwed up the drive mappings in my GRUB and so the computer wouldn’t boot. I played with ways to change the drive mappings with no luck. My very cute but computer-using roommate has a computer with a SATA drive, but she is constantly on and the machine is hard to get at, so that was out.

So I thought a little bit, and decided to take my SATA laptop and use it. I pulled the “native” drive out, put the drive to be recovered in, and booted from my System Rescue CD. The laptop booted and we were off. SysResCD mounted the NTFS SATA drive with no problems. It started the laptops built-in wireless and connected to my home network. I had to set a root password, and then I went to my desktop and fired up my open source FileZilla GUI client. FileZilla went to the laptop via Secure FTP, and I was dragging and dropping the files with no glitches.

Well, three glitches. Two were unusual – the house WiFi access point lost it’s mind twice during the transfer process. I had to repower-reboot it (note, I wonder why. It was still working for the two computers hard-wired into it, but it would not talk to the two computers connected into it via access point. I wonder if it was a data volume issue, or a buffer problem). The cool thing was that FileZilla remembered the stuff I was trying to transfer but was still in queue, so I didn’t lose anything. The first WiFi croak was also a bit fortuitous in that I was starting to run out of disk space on the machine I was recovering to (there was about 20GB of stuff to be recovered), so I took the opportunity to copy a lot of the stuff off to DVD using the open source CDBurnerXP Pro.

It did take a while to transfer all that data over the house WiFi link between the computers – about eight hours total. Fortunately, I was doing stuff around the house, so it wasn’t like I was sitting there the whole time watching the display.

So all the stuff was transferred and burned off to five DVDs. I was writing this and feeling very happy with the results, when I… realized I could have done it much faster, or at least more directly.

This is how I should have done it. Mount the SATA drive into my main computer (which will not boot using the installed disks and GRUB), but boot the computer from the System Rescue CD directly. Then, mount the SATA disk, and use the DVD burner program on the SysResCD to write the data directly from the SATA disk to the DVD. I probably would have been done in an hour that way.

Live and learn. Linux Rules.

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