Linux Rescue USB – Data Recovery & System Repair

Rescue and recovery disks are used for repairing a system and data after a crash on Linux and Windows devices.

They are especially useful for troubleshooting of the boot-related issues and for data recovery.

In this note i will show how to create a bootable rescue USB stick with a SystemRescue (also known as a SystemRescueCD) – a Linux-based rescue toolkit for administrating and repairing of the Windows and Linux-based systems and data recovery.

Linux Recovery USB Creation

Download the latest version of the SystemRescue image from the official download page.

Created Recovery USB Drive on Windows

Download and install a Rufus (Reliable USB Formatting Utility with Source) on Windows or just download and run a portable version that doesn’t require installation.

Select a USB drive, select the SystemRescue image that you should have already downloaded, tick the “Quick format” box to speedup the bootable USB creation process and click on “START”:

During preparation you may be asked for a couple of questions – in the most cases it is preferable to keep the recommended options.

When the status changes to      READY      – close the Rufus and eject the USB stick.

Created Recovery USB Drive on Linux

Plug in your USB stick and run the lsblk command to identify the USB device name:

$ lsblk -fp
NAME                            FSTYPE      LABEL       UUID     MOUNTPOINT
/dev/sda
└─/dev/sda1                     LVM2_member             c52... 
  ├─/dev/mapper/mint--vg-root   ext4                    183...   /
  └─/dev/mapper/mint--vg-swap_1 swap                    337...   [SWAP]
/dev/sdb
└─/dev/sdb1                     vfat        USB Drive   345...   /media/user/usb0

Unmount the USB stick, for example:

$ umount /dev/sdb1

Copy the SystemRescue image to the USB stick (this may take up to 5 minutes):

$ sudo dd if=<systemrescue_iso> of=<usb_device_name> status=progress
- example -
$ sudo dd if=~/Downloads/systemrescue-8.06-amd64.iso of=/dev/sdb status=progress

Once the creation of the recovery USB drive is completed – eject the USB stick.

Boot from Linux Rescue USB

Insert the recovery USB stick with the Linux-based SystemRescue into a computer that needs to be repaired.

  1. Power on the computer and enter the BIOS settings
  2. Search for the “Boot Order” settings
  3. Move the recovery USB drive to the top of the “Boot Order” list
  4. Press the F10 to save and exit

Enter BIOS: Common keys to enter the BIOS are F1, F2, F10, Delete or Esc.

If while trying to boot from the recovery USB drive you are getting something like:

Selected boot image did not authenticate
– or –
Invalid signature detected

… you may need to disable the “Secure Boot” in your BIOS settings.

After booting from the SystemRescue USB drive, by default you’ll be dropped into a standard Linux shell prompt.

If you need to start a GUI (Graphical User Interface), run:

$ startx

List of the most important tools for a data recovery and system repair which comes with the SystemRescue distribution can be found here.

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