Tag Archives: recovery

Easily Recover Deleted Photos And More – Open Source TestDisk & PhotoRec

Summary: When it’s time to recover deleted files from an SD Card, Hard Drive, Flash Drive, etc., this powerful portable recovery application, (despite its command line type interface), makes deleted file recovery just about as simple as it gets.

In previous reviews, I’ve covered more than a few file recovery tools,  some of which have lived up to the developers’ claims – but, most have not. PhotoRec, part of the bundled package included in TestDisk – despite it’s name – is capable of recovering 390 types of files, according to the developer.

In the following review, I’ll describe how easy it was to recover deleted photos from my camera’s SD Card and, deleted music files from my iPod. As you’ll see, this application is not wizard driven – but, despite that, it’s still very easy to use.

First up was a recovery attempt on a camera.

On launching the application, the connected camera was immediately identified.

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Selecting the drive was a simple matter of cursoring down, and pressing the Enter key.

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In just a few minutes (under 3 minutes), PhotoRec identified and recovered 121* previously deleted photos.

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* Much to my surprise, the application actually recovered 241 previously deleted photos. I’m not complaining.   Smile   All recovered files were saved to the recovery directory (a sub-directory of the directory the application is running from) – as shown below.

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Here’s a recovered shot (August 2012), of my BlackBerry Playbook in its Bluetooth keyboard case. As an aside – Tablets are super duper consumption devices – but, for real work, a physical keyboard is a must for me.

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Next up – music file recovery from my iPod.

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In just a few moments (less than a minute), PhotoRec identified and recovered *105 previously deleted tunes.

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* The application actually recovered 106 previously deleted tunes.

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But, can they be played? You bet!

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Fast facts:

Fix partition table, recover deleted partition.

Recover FAT32 boot sector from its backup.

Rebuild FAT12/FAT16/FAT32 boot sector.

Fix FAT tables.

Rebuild NTFS boot sector.

Recover NTFS boot sector from its backup.

Fix MFT using MFT mirror.

Locate ext2/ext3/ext4 Backup SuperBlock .

Undelete files from FAT, exFAT, NTFS and ext2 filesystem.

Copy files from deleted FAT, exFAT, NTFS and ext2/ext3/ext4 partitions.

System requirements: Windows (NT4, 2000, XP, 2003, Vista, 2008, Windows 7 (x86 & x64), Linux, FreeBSD, NetBSD, OpenBSD, SunOS and MacOS X. (Reviewed on Win 8 x32)

Download at: Cgsecurity.org

You may only need this application a time or two – but, wouldn’t it be nice to have it sitting in your USB toolbox when you do? The answer is – YES.   Smile

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Filed under downloads, File Recovery Software, Freeware, Open Source, Windows

Choosing Backup and Recovery Solutions for the Virtual Environment

One of the least popular action words in computing – perhaps not the runaway leader – but it’s up there – backup. 

One of the most expensive undertakings in computing – perhaps not the most expensive – but it’s up there – the painful crisis following a system failure without a – backup.

There’s no need to remind regular readers of the inevitability of a hard drive crash and of the necessity of running with a proactive backup strategy – they get it (I think   Smile  )

But, given the accelerating pace of change in the small business market – most particular in the use of  virtual machines, small business owners may well need a quick refresher in how to implement a strategy which ensure both physical and virtual environments are actively protected.

Here’s a timely guest article from Michael Krutikov, a Product Marketing Manager over at Symantec, in which Michael explains how to get it right.

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imageIn a virtual environment, each host server has the potential to become a single point of failure for business-critical applications. Because of this, businesses need to invest in practically invulnerable backup and recovery solutions that have been specifically designed for the virtual environment – as well as the physical environment.

You could, of course, use one backup and recovery solution for your physical environment and purchase a second for your virtual environment, but that can introduce a whole host of problems that you may not have the time or resources to handle, like the need to manage a second interface, the disruption to your team – who has to learn it – and the cost for a second set of backup hardware and licenses. Instead, most experts recommend streamlining your backup and recovery needs by finding a single solution that protects both environments and will:

  • Provide granular- and application-level recovery. To ensure that you can restore what you need, when you need it, make sure that your backup and recovery solution offers all levels of recovery, including full virtual machine, individual virtual disks, virtualized application & database servers, as well as files, folders and even individual emails. That way, you can get your most critical business components back up and running quickly.
  • Deduplicate (data deduplication is a specialized data compression technique for eliminating duplicate copies of repeating data), across both physical and virtual environments. When you deduplicate data across both the physical and virtual environments, you’re able to not only save large amounts of disk space as compared to compression or single-instance storage, but you can reduce backup storage costs and backup window times, as well.
  • Include storage efficient backup. This improved form of data backup will exclude deleted blocks from a backup to increase your storage efficiency.
  • Automatically convert physical backups to virtual machines. By choosing a backup and recovery solution with this feature, you’re able restore physical servers to virtual machines, and it eliminates the need to have an already-configured, physical server ready to go in case of a failure.
  • Offers physical server and multi-hypervisor support. Because many organizations are running multiple hypervisors, finding a solution that supports them all will simplify your backup complexity, and management – and help reduce your licensing costs.

To ensure that your backup and recovery solution keeps even new virtual machines protected, be sure to look for one that will automatically detect new machines as they come online. That way, your team won’t have to spend time and energy searching for new machines – or editing backup up policies when new applications move to different hosts.

Michael Krutikov is a Product Marketing Manager, supporting Backup Exec since joining Symantec in 2007. With a 14 year career in IT, he now works on marketing partnerships and programs built from thousands of meetings with partners and customers in a constant learning mission to deliver Symantec solutions that can better address their needs.

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Filed under Backup Applications, Guest Writers, Symantec, System Recovery Tools

Free PhotoRec – Easily Recover Deleted Photos And More

Yesterday, I posted an article on BootMed, a Ubuntu Linux driven set of recovery tools which is a worthwhile addition to any techie’s toolbox. One of the recovery tools packaged with this free Live CD is TestDisk – which includes the file recovery application PhotoRec.

In previous reviews, I’ve covered more than a few file recovery tools,  some of which have lived up to the developers’ claims – but, most have not. PhotoRec, on the other hand, (despites its name, it’s capable of recovering 390 types of files according to the developer), performed far outside my expectations.

In the following review, I’ll describe how easy it was to recover deleted photos from my camera’s SD Card and, deleted music files from my iPod. As you’ll see, this application is not wizard driven – but, despite that, it’s still very easy to use.

First up was a recovery attempt on an iPod.

On launching the application, the connected iPod was immediately identified.

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Selecting the drive was a simple matter of cursoring down, and pressing the Enter key.

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In just a few moments PhotoRec identified and recovered 13 previously deleted music files.

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All recovered files were saved to the recovery directory – as shown below.

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Each and every recovered music file was playable – as shown in the following screen capture.

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Next up – photo file recovery from my camera’s SD card.

In the following screen capture, I’ve illustrated the files Windows Explorer  identified on the SD card prior to the recovery operation.

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Again, after launching PhotoRec, the application correctly identified the attached device.

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The application “did its thing” and recovered 86 previously deleted pics.

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The following screen captures shows not only the photos that were recovered, but a number of recovered sound files and text files as well. I’ve highlighted one recovered photo file for illustrative purposes.

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The recovered photo (selected in the above screen capture), is shown below opened in IrfanView. As you can see from the Image properties box, all of the file properties have been recovered intact.

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System requirements: Windows 98 and later, Mac OS X, Linux (2.4 /2.6 kernel)

Download at: Cgsecurity.org

TestDisk – which includes PhotoRec – is in fact, a portable application and, does not require installation. Simply unzip the file and you’re good to go.

When it’s time to recover deleted files from an SD Card, Hard Drive, Flash Drive, etc., this powerful recovery application, (despite its command line interface), makes deleted file recovery just about as simple as it gets. It may even be suitable for those users who might not qualify as “expert”.

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Filed under Computer Tools, downloads, File Recovery Software, Freeware

A Computer Recovery Walkthrough With Free Trinity Rescue Kit

Popular guest writer Mark Schneider, walks you through a computer recovery operation using the Trinity Rescue Kit, which, as he puts it, “saved my bacon”.

image Today, I was doing a little maintenance on my daughters Gateway laptop, uninstalling one anti-spyware program, and upgrading another to real-time protection. It seemed to go fine – I ran the Uninstall from Programs and Features in Vista, and enabled the full time protection in Malwarebytes, with the registration codes and rebooted.

When the computer shut down, I noticed it installing several updates. I didn’t think much of it at the time but when the machine restarted, the brown stuff hit the fan. I didn’t have any mouse! Even the Track pad was totally unresponsive. So, I plugged in a old USB trackball mouse, success!

I then clicked on the admin account I keep on the machine and went to type my password – nope, the keyboard didn’t work either. So I rebooted after plugging in my USB keyboard. Windows went through its usual routine and told me the keyboard had installed and was ready to use, except, it wasn’t. It wouldn’t work at all.

Basically, I was hosed! I couldn’t run the device manager from the limited account, or do a system restore. I had to get into the admin account, or I was stuck.

So I did what any red-blooded geek would do, I Googled “resetting a password in Vista”. I came up with usual Microsoft solution, you know the one where you use the password reset CD you made when you set up the computer, yep that one, the one no one ever makes!

Fortunately for me, I also found a reference to TRK or the Trinity Rescue Kit. TRK is a Linux based bootable CD, that can be used for resetting passwords, recovering files and a few other things relating to Windows calamities.

Publisher’s description: Trinity Rescue Kit or TRK is a free live Linux distribution that aims specifically at recovery and repair operations on Windows machines, but is equally usable for Linux recovery issues.

Once the CD booted normally, I typed in “winkey u admin” – this started TRK searching, and mounting all the files in the system. I choose “Enter” in the next dialog, and then typed an “*” confirmed this with a “y”, and this created a new administrator account with no password.

I was able to log into the Administrator account and then began the next phase of fixing the corrupted drivers. This took a little longer than I anticipated. I tried deleting the Track pad and keyboard in Device Manager , both had the little caution signs next to them indicating a damaged or corrupted driver; rebooted but this didn’t work.

I finally resolved the problem by using a restore point. Fortunately, you can get there with just a few clicks of the mouse. So I got lucky; the USB mouse worked, and the TRK worked after some trial and error.

Get the Trinity Rescue Kit here. I recommend it for your toolkit, it definitely saved my bacon.

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Fast facts:

TRK is a complete command line based distribution, apart from a few tools like qtparted, links, partition image and midnight commander.

Full read/write and rpm support (since build 333)

Easily reset windows passwords (backup and restore option)

Four different virus scan products integrated in a single uniform command line with online update capability

Full ntfs write support thanks to ntfs-3g (all other drivers included as well)

Clone NTFS file systems over the network

Wide range of hardware support (kernel 2.6.39.3 and recent kudzu hwdata)

Easy script to find all local file systems

Self update capability to include and update all virus scanners

Full proxy server support

Run a samba fileserver (windows like file sharing)

Run an ssh server

Recovery and un-deletion of files with utilities and procedures

Recovery of lost partitions

Evacuation of dying disks

UTF-8 international character support

Powerful multicast disk cloning utility for any file system

Two rootkit detection utilities

Elaborate documentation

It is possible to boot TRK in three different ways:

As a bootable CD which you can burn yourself from a downloadable iso file.

From a USB stick/disk (optionally also a fixed disk), installable from Windows, or from the bootable TRK CD.

From network over PXE, which requires some modifications on your local network (version 3.2). Has the ability to act as a network boot server itself, without any modifications to your local network.

Trinity Rescue Kit is now in Version 3.4, and is better than ever before.

Getting started with TRK.

Download at: Developer’s site.

This is a guest post by Mark Schneider of the Techwalker Blog, who brings a background as a high level techie, to the blogging world. Why not pay a visit to Mark’s site today.

This article was originally posted here on March 11, 2010.

If you found this article useful, why not subscribe to this Blog via RSS, or email? It’s easy; just click on this link and you’ll never miss another Tech Thoughts article.

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Filed under CD/DVD Recovery Tools, computer repair, Computer Tools, downloads, Free Password Recovery Software, Freeware, Geek Software and Tools, Manual Malware Removal, Portable Applications, Software, System Recovery Tools, System Utilities, Utilities, Windows Tips and Tools

Panda SafeCD – Plus Six More Free Recovery Tools

imageSitting down and pushing the start button on your PC only to have it refuse to boot, will fit right in with anyone’s definition of frustration. It’s almost a personal thing – “why are you doing this to me?” But all is not lost.

Before you consign your dead PC to the garbage dump, or start considering just what kind of boat anchor you might craft, you should know that there are some terrific free tools that can help you recover (provided it’s a software issue).

These free applications are at the “Top of the Class”, in my view. Since I first wrote on this issue, back in June 2010, I’ve added Panda Security’s (the highly regarded developer of Panda Cloud free antivirus), Panda SafeCD, to the list below.

I’m not suggesting that you download them all but, if you have some spare CDs – why not? Or, do a little info gathering on the author’s site – then choose those that best meet your specific needs.

Hiren’s Boot CD

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Hiren’s Boot CD is a boot disk containing various diagnostic programs such as partitioning agents, system performance benchmarks, disk cloning and imaging tools, data recovery tools, MBR tools, BIOS tools, and many others for fixing various computer problems.

Downloading this application is a bit of a hassle, since ownership of some of the utilities on the CD is open to interpretation.

Ultimate Boot CD for Windows

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A terrific recovery CD for repairing, restoring, or diagnosing computer problems, but since it involves hands on “building skills” to compile the necessary tools, it’s not for everyone. Nevertheless, for those who have the skills, this utility is a “must have”.

Trinity Rescue Kit

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Trinity Rescue Kit, or TRK, is a free live Linux distribution that aims specifically at recovery and repair operations on Windows machines, but is equally usable for Linux recovery issues.

Ubuntu Live CD

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Can’t boot into Windows? Can’t figure out how you’re going to rescue all that data that you can’t reach? Ubuntu Live CD can come to the rescue. Need to connect to the Internet as part of your recovery process? No problem – Ubuntu Live CD makes it easy.

Specialty Recovery Tools:

Panda SafeCD

Click to see larger images

This useful utility comes in handy when you need to clean a friend’s PC (or your own), from a malware infected state. It is specially useful for detecting and disinfecting malware infections which give regular AV products running within Windows a hard time.

Features include: Automatic detection and removal of all types of malware. Boot from CD or USB stick. Supports using updated signature files. Supports 13 languages. Supports both FAT and NTFS drives.

The download consists of an ISO. You can either burn this into a CD/DVD or alternatively create a more convenient Boot USB stick by using something like the Universal Netboot Installer (UNetbootin).

Kaspersky Rescue Disk

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This rescue CD can scan your boot sector, and your Hard Drives from the outside looking in. Malware doesn’t have a chance to hide if it’s not running. It’s become the first step I now use, when I’m dealing with an infected machine.

Avira AntiVir Rescue System

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Avira AntiVir Rescue System is a Linux-based application that allows accessing computers that cannot be booted anymore. Thus it is possible to, repair a damaged system, rescue data, scan the system for virus infections.

Just a personal note: I scan all my machines with this application on a weekly basis.

If you found this article useful, why not subscribe to this Blog via RSS, or email? It’s easy; just click on this link and you’ll never miss another Tech Thoughts article.

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Filed under Anti-Malware Tools, Computer Tools, Diagnostic Software, downloads, Free File Recovery Applications, Freeware, Geek Software and Tools, Malware Removal, Software, System Recovery Tools, System Utilities, Utilities, Windows Tips and Tools

Use Free Prey To Track Your Lost Or Stolen Laptop Or Cell Phone

imageRecent statistics indicate that more than 10,000 Laptops are lost, or stolen, each week at U.S. airports alone. Broken down, this same set of statistics indicate that a Laptop is stolen, not lost but stolen, every 53 seconds!

If you are a Laptop owner, you should consider what can you do now, to increase the probability that should your Laptop be lost or stolen, you can increase the chances that it will be returned to you.

One solution is offered by Prey, an Open Source application, that can enhance recovery chances. Stolen Laptop recovery is always a hit and miss proposition, but without an application such as Prey on board, the chances of recovery, at least statistically, are virtually nil.

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What is Prey?

Prey is a small applet for your Laptop or Android Cell Phone, which, when activated by a remote signal, either from the Internet, or through an SMS message, will provide you with the device’s location, hardware and network status, and optionally – trigger specific actions on the device.

According to the developer – “Prey helps you track and find your Laptop or Phone if it ever gets out of sight. You can quickly find out what the thief looks like, what he’s doing on your device and actually where he’s hiding by using GPS or WiFi geopositioning. It’s payback time.”

There have been substantial changes and improvements to Prey, since I last reviewed it here on January 28, 2010.

Installation is very simple, as the following screen captures indicate. BTW, Prey can protect your desktop/s, as well.

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Fast facts:

100% geolocation aware – Prey uses either the device’s GPS or the nearest WiFi hotspots to triangulate and grab a fix on its location. It’s shockingly accurate.

Wifi autoconnect – If enabled, Prey will attempt to hook onto to the nearest open WiFi hotspot when no Internet connection is found.

Light as a feather – Prey has very few dependencies and doesn’t even leave a memory footprint until activated. We care as much as you do.

Know your enemy – Take a picture of the thief with your laptop’s webcam so you know what he looks like and where he’s hiding. Powerful evidence.

Watch their movements – Grab a screenshot of the active session — if you’re lucky you may catch the guy logged into his email or Facebook account!

Keep your data safe – Hide your Outlook or Thunderbird data and optionally remove your stored passwords, so no one will be able to look into your stuff.

No unauthorized access – Fully lock down your PC, making it unusable unless a specific password is entered. The guy won’t be able to do a thing!

Scan your hardware – Get a complete list of your PC’s CPU, motherboard, RAM, and BIOS information. Works great when used with Active Mode.

Prey can check its current version and automagically fetch and update itself, so you don’t need to manually reinstall each time.

You monitor your devices on Prey’s web Control Panel, where you can watch new reports arrive and manage specific settings, such as changing the frequency for reports and actions.

You can add up to three devices for free, and can optionally upgrade to a Pro Account in case you wish to bypass this limit.

Full auto updater.

System requirements: XP, Vista, Win 7, Mac OS, Ubuntu Linux, Linux – all other distributions, (64 bit where appropriate), Android.

There is no guarantee that even with Prey on board that a stolen, or lost device, will be recovered – but, it seems sensible to make every effort to increase that likelihood.

Download at: The Prey Project

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Filed under 64 Bit Software, Android, cell phone, Cloud Computing Applications, Connected Devices, downloads, Free Surveillance Applications, Freeware, GPS, Interconnectivity, Laptop recovery, Linux, Mac OS X, Open Source, Software, Ubuntu, Utilities, Windows 7, Windows Vista, Windows XP

Save Your Dead PC with These Outstanding Free Recovery Tools

Sitting down, pushing the start button on your PC only to have it refuse to boot, will fit right in with anyone’s definition of frustration. It’s almost a personal thing – “why are you doing this to me?” But all is not lost.

Before you consign your dead PC to the garbage dump, or start considering just what kind of boat anchor you might craft, you should know that there are some terrific free tools that can help you recover. These free applications are at the “Top of the Class”, in my view.

I’m not suggesting that you download them all but, if you have some spare CDs – why not? Or, do a little info gathering on the author’s site – then choose those that best meet your specific needs.

If I’ve missed one of your favorites that you feel should be on this list, then let me know with your comments.

Hiren’s Boot CD

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Hiren’s Boot CD is a boot CD containing various diagnostic programs such as partitioning agents, system performance benchmarks, disk cloning and imaging tools, data recovery tools, MBR tools, BIOS tools, and many others for fixing various computer problems. Downloading this application is a bit of a hassle since ownership of some of the utilities on the CD is open to interpretation.

Ultimate Boot CD for Windows

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A terrific recovery CD for repairing, restoring, or diagnosing computer problems, but since it involves hands on “building skills” to compile the necessary tools, it’s not for everyone. Nevertheless, for those who have the skills, this utility is a “must have”.

Trinity Rescue Kit

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Trinity Rescue Kit or TRK is a free live Linux distribution that aims specifically at recovery and repair operations on Windows machines, but is equally usable for Linux recovery issues.

Ubuntu Live CD

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Can’t boot into Windows? Can’t figure out how you’re going to rescue all that data that you can’t reach? Ubuntu Live CD can come to the rescue. Need to connect to the Internet as part of your recovery process? No problem – Ubuntu Live CD makes it easy.

Specialty Recovery Tools:

Comodo Time Machine

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This innovative utility takes snapshots of your PC and archives those snapshots so that if you experience a computer problem (like a malware or virus attack), you simply revert back in time to one of the snapshots you had previously taken. In other words, if you mess up your PC and you have the Comodo Time Machine software installed, you can go back in time to restore your PC to a previous good state.

Kaspersky Rescue Disk

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This rescue CD can scan your boot sector, and your Hard Drives from the outside looking in. Malware doesn’t have a chance to hide if it’s not running. It’s become the first step I now use when I’m dealing with an infected machine.

Avira AntiVir Rescue System

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Avira AntiVir Rescue System is a Linux-based application that allows accessing computers that cannot be booted anymore. Thus it is possible to, repair a damaged system, rescue data, scan the system for virus infections.

If you found this article useful, why not subscribe to this Blog via RSS, or email? It’s easy; just click on this link and you’ll never miss another Tech Thoughts article.

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Filed under Backup Tools, Comodo, computer repair, Diagnostic Software, downloads, Freeware, Geek Software and Tools, Hard Drive Tools, Software, System Utilities, Utilities, Windows 7, Windows Vista, Windows XP