Knoppix Saves the Day AGAIN

A student here at work has a notebook which just up and died. The story was that the fan died about a week before, she ignored it and just kept running the machine. As many of us have learned, lappies can run hot. This wasn’t a very good idea (to say the least). As computers will do when too much heat is applied, it choked and took everything with it. My hope was to save the data she’s been collecting throughout her college career so I started poking around.

The notebook itself seems thrashed, holding the power button down will flash the power LED, then it just blinks out (kinda sad). Obviously I’m not getting at the data on the disk if I have to use this machine. I yank the disk, toss it into another lappy (same model) and insert a Knoppix 3.9 boot CD. To my chagrin, the poor little disk is hurting too. I got a horrid click/crunch noise during POST and the system couldn’t find the disk. Dismayed, I pulled the drive, tapped it ever so slightly and tried again. No joy. OK, I have another idea, I grab a ziplock bag (thanks to the ladies in AP, they ALWAYS have “stuff” around, I always find the strangest things in their area), pop the drive into it and stick the whole thing into the freezer for an hour and a half (passing the time by drinking coffee and hoping this works).

Now that it’s frozen, I take the disk, slide it back into the lappy and start it up. No hard disk noises at all, it’s just not spinning up. Well, we’re getting to the point where I won’t have the tools to save the data. So, I says to myself, “screw it” and whacked the disk off of the top of my desk a couple of times and try again. JOY! The drive spins up!

Note to self: violence is better than cold…

I boot from the CD into the Knoppix KDE desktop, mount /dev/hda2 (which is where XP lives on this machine) and use scp to transfer the contents of her “My Documents” folder to my Fedora machine here at work. The command looked like scp -r /mnt/hda2/Documents\ and\ Settings/[username]/My\ Documents/ (I removed her username and my IP from the example).

Dell will be in to replace the ever so toasted motherboard (and anything else that’s been trashed) and I can hand it all back to her with her data in place.

Just another illustration of the power of Linux, there was no way I could have added this drive to a desktop machine here at work without buying a laptop drive conversion kit. Knoppix was the PERFECT solution.

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