Velo, Rapido | This is about a few different things.
Next task: make a bootable USB thumb/stick/drive/thing to rescue a busted machine (In this case, little old Brahms). dkg, as ever, knows what’s what and gave me great advice:
Bootable USB sticks are just like bootable hard drives for modern computers. Partition them with parted, use mkfs to create a filesystem on them, use grub-install to give them a bootloader, put a kernel and an initial ramfs on them, configure the bootloader to load them, and away you go.
He even offered me his filesystem rescue debirf image with the latest 686 kernel from debian unstable. Confused ? That’s okay. You’ll never learn Portuguese if you don’t even try to speak it (notably: my Portuguese is going nowhere fast.). Same with debian. So I do have some questions about this advice, but they’re specific and I can look them up and come back to him to make sure I’m understanding.
I have another problem, though, which is that I’ve learned there are GUI tools for this.
Step One: find an ISO. Which ISO depends a lot on what you’re trying to do, but RIP Linux (which I’ve written about before) is one good option for recovery operations. Maybe you want an Ubuntu Live CD or a Debian Live CD.
Step Two: make sure no one is looking and see if USB Creator happens to be on your system already.
If Step Two works out as planned, you barely need a Step Three.
Missing information: what do you do with the drive mounted, what don’t you do? I’m not altogether sure, honestly.
I’m starting over.
Step one: the master boot record. Mine is messy, so I’m going back to dkg’s advice (“Use
Step two: too confusing. Try RIP Linux again, starting from scratch. Unmount all the partitions and run:
sudo ./mkusb.sh -f RIPLinuX-9.3.iso /dev/sdb
Note to my lay readers: this is one of those wreck your system commands. Unless you are 120% confident about what is about to happen, don’t do it. In particular, unless you know for a fact that the USB thumb drive you want to format is
/dev/sdb … don’t do it.
Finally: a secret. I was good right up until “put a kernel and initial ramfs on it.”
Stay tuned for the next episode, in which we investigate the disk errors that started this whole project.