Ever been caught without that rescue disk, and thought that everything was lost, and that you have no choice but to reinstall the operating system? Well don’t do it just yet. In this article we’ll introduce you to tomsrtbt, a bootable diskette that will allow you to salvage and/or repair files regardless of your operating system. (This article originally appeared in the April 2004 issue of Plug-In).
In the frantic search for my Linux Red Hat 7.1 boot disk, I came across a vaguely remembered diskette labelled “tomsrtbt 2.0.103.” Could Alice resist the bottle labelled Drink Me?
To answer that question you really need to know what tomsrtbt is (pronounced “Tom’s Root Boot”). To quote Tom, tomsrtbt stands for: “Tom’s floppy which has a root file system and is also bootable.” I had my boot disk ready-made, but you will have to create yours by going to http://www.toms.net/rb/.
Locate the link for downloading, find an appropriate mirror and choose the file named “tomsrtbt-2.0.103.dos.zip” if you wish to create your diskette under Windows, or “tomsrtbt-2.0.103.tar.gz” for Linux/Unix.
A word of warning at this point: if you are running Windows 2000, creating this diskette is a bit problematic. If you have a Windows 98 machine handy this provides your easiest solution. Copy the zipped file to this machine, decompress it and boot into DOS to create your bootable floppy. Otherwise see http://not.toms.net/twiki/bin/ view/Tomsrtbt/CreateTomsrtbtFromWin2000. Various solutions are presented there, but the next easiest seems to be to make DOS boot disks using the resources at http://www.bootdisk.com and then create your Linux diskette.
A couple of final notes: This distribution of Linux does not support writing to the NTFS file system, but check Tom’s site for any updates. There should be no problems creating your bootable disk under Linux.