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Linux rescue disks are widely used to repair Linux systems and to recover data. The availability of many Linux rescue disks points at the popularity of such disks to rescue a Linux system. However, many Linux rescue disks can be used to repair a Windows system or to perform specific administrative or rescue tasks on Windows (like resetting a forgotten Windows password). Windows being more vulnerable to system crashes and virus attacks than Linux, it can benefit more from a rescue disk that is specifically designed for it. Typically a rescue disk for Windows contains tools for partitioning, managing file systems, a virus scanner, a password reset tool, etc.
Although there are Linux rescue disks that have been created to address both Windows and Linux system recovery, the fact is that most of the Linux rescue disks can be used to rescue a Windows system, although not all of them may contain all the tools specifically needed for a Windows system recovery. Let us take a look at few of the Linux rescue disks that are especially helpful in repairing a Windows system.
SystemRescueCD is a Linux Live CD based on Gentoo Linux. It is one of the most popular rescue disk used for repairing both Windows and Linux systems. SystemRescueCD contains a set of basic tools and system utilities like tools to save and restore partition table and Master Boot Record, recover lost partitions and deleted files, a graphical partition editor (GParted), various file system tools for each supported file systems, archiving tools, editors that let you edit system files, CD/DVD burning tools, various network and security tools, antivirus tools, etc.
Trinity Rescue Kit is a Mandriva Linux based live CD specifically targeted to be used as a rescue kit to repair Windows and Linux system or recover data. It is bootable from CD, USB drive, or from the network via PXE. With Trinity Rescue Kit you can perform various system repairing tasks like resetting your windows password, scanning your system with four different virus scanners, recover lost files and partitions, clone an NTFS file system over a network, etc. Its notable features include full NTFS write support, extensive hardware support, proxy server support, rootkit detection utilities etc. It also includes a samba fileserver, ssh server, a disk cloning utility for any file system. Trinity Rescue Kit comes with a good documentation support and so getting started with it wouldn't be much of a problem for any new user.
Avira AntiVir Rescue System is a rescue disk based on Linux that can be used to access unbootable systems to repair an ailing system, recover data and to scan the system for virus infections. The good thing about this rescue disk is the frequent updates that ensure the availability of the latest security updates.
The popular anti virus tool for Windows, Kaspersky Anti Virus also provides a Linux based rescue disk that is free to download and use and can be used to boot into your system and run a virus scan in case your system is severely infected with virus and won't let you boot. Although it may lack the sophisticated system utilities that come with SystemRescueCD and Trinity Rescue Kit It is an excellent tool to get rid of viruses and infections that are difficult to remove while Windows is running.