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Tip: Disk Catastophe Must-Have Information (Winter Shutdown Special Episode)

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December 26th, 2006 by

Randy Goddard tells us about some quick command line utilities for backing up a disk’s master boot record and partition information, as well as how to document vital system info quickly and easily.

We’ll be back with more full episodes of Novell Open Audio in February. Update your podcatcher to use the new feed now in order to get our “winterim bonus episodes.”

Time: 10:34
9.7 MB

Notes for this Episode:

  • Command for backing up your MBR:
    dd if=/dev/sda of=~/$servernamembr bs=1 count=512
  • Command for documenting your partition tables:
    fdisk -l /dev/sda> ~/$servernamefdisk
    (Remember that the “sda” in these two commands is used as a placeholder for whichever disk you are backing up. Other possible ordinal names for your various disks include: sdb, hda, hdb, hdc, etc.)
  • is descibed in a Cool Solutions article


Comment by Sameer Niphadkar
2007-01-05 07:48:17

Could you put up explanations of various partition managers in Linux. Also explanations of LVM and recovery options would be helpful. Finally the reason why SUSE shifted from reiserfs to ext3 file system format ?

Comment by dns
2007-01-05 08:00:06

it’s fstab File System Table so pronounce it fs-tab not f-stab

Comment by leege_TOG
2007-01-05 14:03:37

Well worth the time spent listening to you folks, good tips

Comment by Ted Haeger
2007-01-08 17:15:35

I’ll be sure to bust appropriate chops. 🙂

Comment by David Mair
2007-01-10 13:23:51

@Sameer Niphadkar (on the default file system switch from reiserfs to ext3):

There have been a few excellent discussions on the switch from reiserfs to ext3. Jeff Mahoney of SuSE labs published an excellent argument in favour of the switch back in September 2006: Jeff shows why reiserfs v3 is rapidly becoming unmaintainable and reiserfs v4 is not a suitable replacement yet.

Comment by David Mair
2007-01-10 14:09:08

@Sameer Niphadkar (some notes on partitioning):

This isn’t a suitable location for documenting disk carving methods so I’ll take the question as a challenge to write an article or do something in a future podcast. Partitioning (in the PC-BIOS/DOS sense) is only one method of allocating storage. evmsgui is a good place to get a feel for what other options exist but take care to test on a system you can afford to damage.

Comment by Simón A. Ruiz
2007-01-22 17:03:56

I almost busted a gut laughing when this came on to my iPod. I was at work, typing “sudo dd if=210 of=/dev/sda bs=512 count=61” when Randy starting reading off his command line. It was kind of creepy.

The first 512 bytes is the MBR, the next 60 512byte sectors contain GRUB’s stage 1.5. I keep this larger chunk off the front end of the hard disk because when I use Norton Ghost 8.0 to re-image a computer with a different partition scheme than it previously had, I need to replace those first 61 sectors first in order for GRUB not to have a psychological breakdown. (or as was happening today, I need to boot up to a Live CD so I can ease GRUB’s psychological breakdown.)

Comment by Ron van Herk
2007-01-23 06:09:11

Just be careful with this method when your using ZENworks, GRUB doesn’t take all next 60 sectors. In the remaining part you’ll find the sector that keeps the ZENworks Image Safe Data. Just duplicating the first 60 sectors could cause some confusion when your using ZEN workstations.

Comment by Simón A. Ruiz
2007-01-23 16:57:00

Good thing I’m not using ZENworks, I suppose 😉

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