Recovering Files from your PC (using Linux)

Running a distribution of Linux on your laptop or desktop is a lot of fun, but that’s not all Linux can do. Using the “live mode” of a distribution can assist you with recovering data from a PC that won’t boot. In this video, Jay shows the process of booting a distribution in live mode to assist in the process of recovering files. As long as your hard disk hasn’t totally failed, this process will enable you to copy its data to an external USB drive.

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  1. To add in my disclosure first…

    I havent watched the episode, but the title brings up my major concern as I move to being a Linux “only” user.
    Being a lifelong MicroShaft user, I am used to the platform, interface, networking, apps, etc, but not so in Linux, and whilt I totally trust my new home, I am not yet comfortable.

    I am sure many of my concerns will resonate with current and future responders alike.

    Anyway, to the Point:

    For the last few years I have used the following backup system:

    (a). Acronis to make daily images, and once a week a whole new image.
    (b). Karens Replicator to make daily backups (includes overwrites).
    (c). They went to the same storage, but in no way interacted and were accessible in entirely different ways (Karens by navigating to the folder).

    Yes, this is a waste of space, but I don’t care so much about that as never being able to regain access to my own stuff.!!!

    I know that most of the Linux backup / imaging software is literally bullet proof, what however is not, is ignorance and understanding.

    I currently use a type of file backup software, one that simply copies A>B and overwrites everything, which is super easy and i can get to my files in an emergency from any bootable USB stick or whatever. The other is Acronis.

    Caps essential: CAN I DO THIS WITH A GUI…?

    I have looked at multiple sites and dozens of reviews (thankfully they point the same direction) of pieces of software that do these things.

    I ask explicitly because I always have this terrifying underlying fear of never being able to access my data again for whatever reason of password issues, corrupted data etc etc, hence why I have always kept a “virgin” copy of my data, and always will"

    As I currently do with W10, can I also do this with Linux.? There seems to be a point when the description of “backup” in Linux terminilogy becomes one and the same with “imaging” software… Not the same.!

  2. Not sure if you have watched the video yet, I haven’t. But even before I was a full time Linux user, I used to use an Ubuntu live USB to grab files from PCs that had borked windows installs. You know, the live environments which you use the distro and make sure everything works on your machine, like WiFi and GPU drivers?

    I was just using either Ubuntu with default shell (Unity 7 back in the day) or Lubuntu if I didn’t have a big enough USB stick. They all did a fantastic job to grab files from dead OS installs. And yes, using a GUI, just navigating inside whatever file manager the distro came with. Of course, there are solutions like WindowsPE or even GUI-less FreeDOS that you can use to recover your files. But a Linux live USB makes it a lot easier and more convenient IMO.

    I don’t think the video is about backups. Sure, you have GUI programs in Linux to do backups, most of them based on rsync and there are distros that make it easy to image a disk, like clonezilla, but these are to be used to do backups way before your system stops working. If your storage device is dead, you’re out of luck and no live environment will be able to recover your files. The live USB is only used when, for example, you break your Windows or Arch install and you want to copy the files from inside the system, before maybe formatting the disk and reinstalling the OS.

    I hope that’s what the video talks about, but if not, my points still stand about what I said, just not in relation to the video.

  3. You can use programs like Deja Dup to make backups of your files. Or Timeshift although I haven’t used this one but I understand it’s more powerful.

    Keep doing that! Always important to have some degree of redundancy, and also check from time to time that your backups are actually working. You don’t want to find out you’ve been doing it wrong when the moment of truth comes :slight_smile:

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