Smoothwall Firewall project

Tuesday 4 August 2009

Open Source to the rescue again - thanks testdisk

One of my USB pen drives is formatted with FAT32 to allow it to move files to Windows when I have need to. It's not very often, but it's very useful when I do need it. Well I discovered another major problem with FAT32 today, after lending this stick to a colleague who tried to write too much data onto the drive, and then just pulled it out without un-mounting it.

Needless to say, it didn't like it and the filesystem was in an unstable state when I re-plugged it into my machine to do some work later on. So I started looking around for some open source tools that could help, and I found testdisk via Google and it worked like a charm. It allowed me to examine the USB stick, grab off the data that I really needed onto my harddrive, so that I could then format it again and put the info back. It works with pretty much any OS, so you are not limited to using Linux, though a useful tip is that this great utility comes pre-installed with the Knoppix distribution.

I do have a backup of the important data on an external HD back at base, but not with me today, so this proved to be a real data saver ;-)

I'm sure it can't fix every problem, no util can, but it offers a great way to restore/retrieve deleted or corrupted data from a drive, and find and rebuild partitions.

I then came across several Windows utils , that people wanted to charge $50 for, which I think is an absolute disgrace , when you think you can get OSX for less. OK, maybe $5 for such a tool, but not $50.

Here is a screen shot of the main menu.

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