August 3, 2002

Commentary: Linux is a great Windows recovery tool

Author: JT Smith

-By Benjamin Lewis -

A couple nights ago while attempting to install a program on
a Windows ME Sony VAIO laptop, it fritzed out on me and wouldn't
re-boot. It was something about a "missing or corrupt vmm32.vxd file." The
lonely little c> prompt didn't give much hope.
Knowing how Windows handles "recovery," I was well aware that if I were to "recover"
Windows, it would not only wipe out the partition it wanted to be
in, but possibly the other one, too (maybe that's not true now that I think
about it). Because I hadn't backed up in a while, I really wanted
to recover the data on the drive. I happened to have a Windows 98
boot disk that, oddly enough, booted enough of this Sony computer
that I could see the two partitions in DOS. I copied everything
of value from the C: partition to the D: partition manually through DOS.

Having moved my valuable data into the D: partition, I installed
Mandrake 8.2. I had installed 8.1 on a desktop before, and found
it relatively easy, but thought the laptop thing might be a bit of
trouble. Installation was absolutely trouble free. The only thing
I can say that may not have worked just right was locating the modem, but
I didn't spend a whole lot of time worrying about that, because I was happy the network card was found!

I configured the network connection
to my home network. Thankfully the D: partition was automatically
mounted, and very easy to find. I moved everything of value from
the laptop's D: partition to my file server. Now I could allow Windows
ME to wipe out what it needed to.

Had it not been for the grace of Sony partitioning the drive
ahead of time, things may not have worked out so well. I must admit
as well that I was surprised at the ease with which I managed to
install Linux. Unfortunately, the laptop isn't mine or it would run
nothing but Linux. Perhaps I can convince the owner to at least
dual boot.

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