Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Ubuntu saves the day

I have just spent the entire weekend fixing my brother-in-law's laptop. I don't know what he did to it, but he managed to get Windows XP in a state where it was impossible to run any programs, access the control panel or set up a network connection (actually, I have an idea what he has done, judging by some the the videos I found, but that's another story). Not a problem I hear you say (well, I don't hear you, because no ones reading this), just reach for the restore disk, and start again.

However, he had lots of work related data on the laptop, not backed up, that he didn't want to lose. So, here's this laptop, can't burn anything to CD, can't copy anything across a network, and disk probably full of virii.

That's my cue to reach for an Ubuntu live CD. 15 minutes later I have Ubuntu running on the laptop, with a wireless network connection, the offending Windows drive mounted and shared using NFS, and the data flowing across the network onto my Ubuntu machine. Moving 20Gb of data across a wireless network with NFS wouldn't be my first choice of how to do a backup, but beggars can't be choosers.

Having backed up the data, I wiped the hard-disk and re-installed XP (sorry, but he insisted), but I also set aside some space for Ubuntu, so the next time he screws it up (and there will be a next time), I just boot into Linux and get on with it.

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