>> One of the worst feelings in the world is when your computer won't boot up, kind of -- oomph like right there in the gut. I mean, how can you fix a problem if you can't even access the hard drive. A good preventative measure is to create a rescue disk for your computer. I'm Tom Merritt for CNET.com and that's what I'll show you how to do on today's Insider Secret.
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>> Your computer may boot up into a safe or recovery mode all on its own, which is great, but if the power is fine and the damn thing just won't boot, you need a rescue disk. Now if you still have your Windows or Mac OS X disks, your installed disk act like a recovery disk or you may have a special recovery disk from the manufacturer. Put your system or recovery disk in the CD drive then boot from CD. We have a separate Quick Tip that shows you how to do that. It should take you to some sort of recovery screen that gives you limited access to the computer. Now depending on the problem, that may be all you need to do, but what if you've lost your installed disk or as is sometimes the case with Windows Rescue disks, what if the recovery program you have won't let you copy files or edit texts. Well, we have some help for you. Bootable Linux CDs, like Knoppix here to the rescue. I should note that Knoppix has trouble reading the Windows file system called NTFS. It's fine with the fat 32 system. For NTFS users, try Bart's Preinstalled Environment. First, download the ISO file of the bootable Linux of your choice. I'm going with Knoppix from Knoppix.net. Next, burn the ISO image to a blank disk. We have a Quick Tip on how to do that too. Then boot from the Linux CD. Now you should have access to your hard drives and all the data on them. Let's say, you want to recover data off the hard drive. First, right click on the drive and choose Mount. Right-click on the drive again, choose Actions and change Read/Write, say Yes you want to make the disk writable. Now, you can plug in an external thumb drive. Make it writable as well just the way you did for the hard drive then drag files across to save them. Or let's say you've tracked down the problem to a corrupted file. Go to the big K, choose Editors and open a Text Editor like K write. Choose file, open select a device, find your hard drive, probably called hda1 and browse to the file you wish to edit, having set the Read/Write parameters earlier, you can now edit the file and save it back. When you're done, shut down the computer, pull out the CD, now you can try rebooting from the hard drive to see if your fix worked. That's the most basic way to do this, once you get the hang of Knoppix, you can make them more customized CD or even a rescue thumb drive. That's it for this edition of Insider Secrets, I'm Tom Merritt, CNET.com.
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