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I've just spent 2 hours on the phone talking a friend through recovering his data off a windows disk. I had him use Knoppix, since this automounts windows partitions, unlike ...
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  1. #1
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    Is there a distro that can force mount windows partitions from a gui?


    I've just spent 2 hours on the phone talking a friend through recovering his data off a windows disk. I had him use Knoppix, since this automounts windows partitions, unlike some other distros.
    However, even knoppix doesnt provide a way to force mount partitions from the gui file manager. I had to talk him through opening a root terminal, and dictating command line syntax to creating mount points and force mounting. This was a real pain as of course theres the inevitable miscommunication, mis-typing etc. It also gives the impression that linux is HARD - having to incant mystical command line strings EXACTLY.

    Of course this all had to be done to recover the data off a crashed windows machine - since it crashed of course it didnt shutdown cleanly. I understand that most distos wont automatically force mount, but I would like a distro for data recovery that would allow easy force mounting. Eg right clicking a partition in the file manager gives the options to mount or unmount - ideally there would be a third option to force mount (or when the mount fails, offer to force mount, instead of just an error message).

    Does anyone know of a liveCD that provides a GUI way to force mount? I'd really love to be able to provide such a disk to windows users who have their PC crash. It would really simplify things.

    Thanks very much,
    Vic

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    Linux Guru Rubberman's Avatar
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    Not really. This is an advanced topic - data recovery from a crashed or virus-infected system. You do not want to auto-mount such file systems, because the partition table itself may have been compromised. Manual mounting in such circumstances is, in my professional opinion, not warranted. I recover clients' systems and data in similar situations, and I would not, under ANY circumstances, want the system to auto-mount the device. This is not work for a newbie, and they are likely to cause more problems than they already have.
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    Administrator jayd512's Avatar
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    I agree with everything Rubberman had to say, but would add one little thing...

    Given that most new users tend to dual boot their systems with Windows, auto-mounting would give access of one form or another from the Linux side of things. This wouldn't seem like much of a problem until the new user manages to accidentally mangle something (as we all do at first) and actually hoses both OS's.
    Jay

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    Linux Guru Rubberman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rubberman View Post
    Not really. This is an advanced topic - data recovery from a crashed or virus-infected system. You do not want to auto-mount such file systems, because the partition table itself may have been compromised. Manual mounting in such circumstances is, in my professional opinion, not warranted. I recover clients' systems and data in similar situations, and I would not, under ANY circumstances, want the system to auto-mount the device. This is not work for a newbie, and they are likely to cause more problems than they already have.
    Oops. Change this sentence "Manual mounting in such circumstances is, in my professional opinion, not warranted." to "Manual mounting in such circumstances is, in my professional opinion, warranted."... Kind of changes my meaning.
    Sometimes, real fast is almost as good as real time.
    Just remember, Semper Gumbi - always be flexible!

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    I understand the caution about automounting potentially corrupt partitions, but there should be some way to easily force mount - probably along with appropriate warnings - 'are you sure?, really, really sure?'.

    In my limited experience, every time myself or anyone I've helped has had a partition "locked" by windows, a force mount allowed us to access the data. As long as the user limits themselves to drag copying their files over to a backup drive then they can do the data recovery themselves.

    I can see the argument that if you cant get at your data to take to a proffessional who can do a disk image etc., but most people I know dont value their data that much - ie they dont want to spend a lot of time and money on a data recovery service, but are willing to try it themselves before they reinstall windoze. Some people are also reluctant to let friends etc access their personal data.

    But yes, I can see automount of corrupt partitions as being bad, but I would like something with an easy-ish gui way to force mount. At least easy enouth to describe over the phone.

    Thanks for the input.

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    Have a look at Puppy Linux. You can boot off a (CD or) USB storage and access all partitions in a GUI. The partitions get mounted with one click. After plugging an external disk, its partitions appear on the desktop.

    most people I know dont value their data
    Very true, they would have done some backup otherwise. They would just then reinstall windoz.
    0 + 1 = 1 != 2 <> 3 != 4 ...
    Until the camel can pass though the eye of the needle.

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    Linux Guru Rubberman's Avatar
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    Even if you mount the partition, you still need to run a virus scanner over all the files in order to avoid them copying a corrupted data file to their new/fixed system and getting reinfected as a result. I do this professionally for engineering clients who get infected, and I run 3 different enterprise-class virus scanners over the entire disc, including boot sector. It's quite amazing how deeply insinuated some of these viruses/trojans/spyware get into the system. Why 3, because in my experience no one of them will catch everything. With the three I use (sometimes 4 - McAfee, F-Prot, AVG, and occasionally ClamAV), there isn't too much that gets by. Fortunately, all of these have good Linux versions that work well on my CentOS 5.4 system.
    Sometimes, real fast is almost as good as real time.
    Just remember, Semper Gumbi - always be flexible!

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