Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Resc-a-tux to the rescue

"Rescatux is a Debian-based GNU/Linux live distribution that includes a graphical wizard for rescuing broken GNU/Linux installations. The available rescue options include restoring the GRUB bootloader after a Windows installation, Linux and Windows password resets, and Linux file system checks. " -DistroWatch

I've used fix distro's like this in the past, but this one I love. It's only in beta, but the thing I love about it is their focus on ease of use.

Hirem's Boot CD for instance is a great tool, but it's focus is not ease of use, but power. I love Hirem's because of the power, but I think Rescatux is going to be Hirem's (some day) mixed with that Ubuntu-esque ease of use and "it all just works on boot" feel I love.

Here's what the Resc-a-Tux folks have to say about their software:
*And here's the tour video on YouTube:

Rescatux is a GNU/Linux rescue cd (and eventually also Windows) but it is not like other rescue disks. Rescatux comes with Rescapp. Rescapp is a nice wizard that will guide you through your rescue tasks. 

GRUB options:

Restore GRUB and GRUB2
(>=0.31 beta 4) Update any GRUB2 menues
Update Debian/Ubuntu grub menues
Windows options:

Restore Windows MBR (BETA)
Clear Windows passwords
(>=0.31 beta 4) Promote a Windows user to Administrator role
(>=0.31 beta 4) Unlock Windows user
Password options:

Change Gnu/Linux Password
Regenerate sudoers file
Clear Windows passwords
Filesystem options:

File System Check (Forced Fix) (BETA)
Support options:

Show log
Share log
Share log on forum
Boot Info Script

Expert tools:

(>=0.31 beta 3) boot-repair 3.199
(>=0.31 beta 1) Gparted 0.12
(>=0.31 beta 3) os-uninstaller 3.199
(>=0.31 beta 3) clean-ubiquity 3.199
(>=0.31 beta 3) photorec
(>=0.31 beta 3) testdisk 6.13
CLI Programs:

(>=0.31 beta 1) Gpart 0.1h-11+b1
The different approach of Rescatux is found in its main program: Rescapp. Rescapp is a nice wizard that will guide you through your rescue tasks.

At the first glance Rescapp seems to be just a launcher for Rescue tools:

However it has some Support features that make it unique:

Chat: Open the chat for asking help directly in Rescatux channel.
Share log: After running an option you can share its log (the action registry that it has done) so that in the chat they can help you better. O better, even, you can help debug and fix Rescatux bugs on the fly.

Share log on forum: Prepares a forum post alike text so that you can just copy and paste it in your favourite forum. Logs are nicely inserted into it with [CODE] symbols.

Boot Info Script: Run Boot Info Script option to share your computer configuration (specially boot one).
More than this the non-support features such as:

Check and fix filesystems 
Blank Windows passwords 
Change Gnu/Linux password 
Regenerate sudoers file 
Restore Grub 
Update Grub Configuration 
Restore Windows MBR (BETA) 
are being driven with nice wizards :

Features explained:

Check and fix filesystems 

When a filesystem has some errors in it some bad things might happen. Maybe GRUB1 or GRUB2 cannot find its own files (Grub errors) or the kernels (cannot find file error). Maybe the kernel can be loaded but its initrd stage isn’t able to find the final device root filesystem (Kernel panic – not syncing: VFS: Unable to mount root fs. (initramfs))

This option tries to fix this filesystem errors even if the filesystem seems to be clean and ok.

Clear Windows passwords 

The old chntpasswd program has been hacked so that you can use it from a GUI. You can just select your Windows drive and the user you want its password to be cleared.

Change Gnu/Linux password 

Have you ever forgotten your Gnu/Linux password? Now you can change it from this nice wizard. As always you’re prompted to choose your Gnu/Linux installation and then the user which you want to change its password.

Regenerate sudoers file 

Have you ever tried to run an special program as a normal user… but by doing it you have somehow borked your /etc/sudoers file? Don’t panic! Now after baking up your previous sudoers file a new one is generated on the fly. You just have to select which it’s your user.

Restore Grub 

Not sure what’s the current situation with Windows 8 and Windows 7 but in previous versions once you reinstalled Windows (because of a virus or whatever reason) you lost your Grub menu. That meant that you couldn’t boot anymore into your Gnu/Linux system. The truth is that you can download the light-weight Super Grub2 Disk and boot into your system in a temporal way.

But how to fix it permanently? If you’re not good at the Gnu/Linux command line you can just use Rescatux’s Restore Grub option.

Update Grub Menues 

Sometimes the Grub configuration is no longer valid. Either your hard disks order at boot have changed (It should only affect to GRUB1) or you have added a new Windows installation and it’s not detected.

Update Grub option let’s you rebuild your Grub configuration files. This option will only work in Debian based distros like Ubuntu.

Restore Windows MBR (BETA) 

This option tries to restore Windows MBR but it’s kind of buggy because some users report that it’s not working for them. It probably works with no problem on Windows XP (without dynamic disks) and previous Windows versions. This is the reason why it’s a BETA option.

Super Grub2 Disk

You shouldn’t forget that Super Grub2 Disk is also included in Rescatux.

Architecture detection

Either you have an old 32bit system or a new 64bit system Grub2 integrated into Rescatux will detect it and load the corresponding kernel. 

If you would like to get Resc-a-Tux, here is the download page:

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