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).
By now you are probably itching to look at your Windows file system, especially if you’ve never seen it from Linux before. To do this, the file system needs to be mounted, and in order to be mounted it needs a mount point. What this boils down to is that you need to create a directory and mount a specific file system on this directory. It is conventional to create mount points in the mnt directory. If you are at the root directory and issue the command ls you should see this directory. Make it your working directory by typing cd mnt. You’ll find that there are no subdirectories here but we are going to make one. Again the command is identical to the DOS command. Type mkdir cdrive and press Enter. Now list the contents of the current directory to see the newly created directory. There you go. You’ve created a directory that will be the mount point for the Windows file system.
Please remember, though, that you are working with a RAM drive, so the changes you are making and directories you are creating won’t be there the next time you boot from the diskette.
At this point you need to know something about the way that your hard drive is organized. If you are only running Windows and have not partitioned your drive then your C: drive will be referenced from Linux as hda1 and the command to mount this file system is mount /dev/ hda1 /mnt/cdrive –t msdos. Try it. You’ll only see a message if you’ve made an error. Now change directories to the /mnt/cdrive directory. Not sure where you are? Determine your present working directory by typing pwd. To look at your Windows files you simply need to change to the /mnt/cdrive directory and use the ls command. Savour the moment if this is the first time that you have seen a Windows partition from Linux.
If you are running Linux then I’ll assume you know which drive to mount. Again, if you only have one partition then it will be hda1.
You should always unmount a drive when you are finished. Your C: drive would be unmounted by typing umount /dev/hda1. Make sure the drive you are trying to unmount is not your present working directory or you’ll get a “drive busy” error.