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).
Let’s assume that you have managed to create your Linux boot diskette. Reboot using this diskette, first making sure your BIOS is set to boot from the floppy drive.
Okay, I know it’s taking a long time to load the operating system but go ahead and use the time to reflect on that auld acquaintance-- and be comforted that you are not using a 5.25” drive.
Choose your language -- yes, you get to choose your language if you don’t want the default; pretty soon you’ll be looking at a screen full of all the Linux commands available. If you’re a little shaky at the command line in Linux or you are one of the fearless Windows-only users who has followed us this far don’t worry. The operating system commands you need are limited in number and we’re going to explain them as the need arises.
At this point you can remove the diskette from the drive. You don’t need it any more because you are now running from a RAM drive. Besides, you may want to format a diskette (Linux or Windows) and copy files to this drive. That blinking cursor wants you to log in. Your only choice is to enter root and after that the password, xxxx.
“ls” and “cd” Commands
The most basic command you’ll need is ls, the Linux equivalent of the DOS dir. Try it out and you should see a list of directories (folders in Windows terminology). If you want to see more information about these directories then type ls –l. The -l is a switch that gives the “long” view of your files.
Next, you will want to navigate around the file system and for this you’ll need cd. Looks familiar doesn’t it? In fact, it works exactly the same way as it does under DOS. Use cd with a directory name and that directory will become your working directory. Returning to the parent directory is as simple as cd .. or to go to the root directory cd /. Don’t forget the space, or it won’t work.