I think most System Admins have a USB thumb-drive with a bunch of tools that may be needed to diagnose any problems that might come to their network or their own computer. (Or is it just me?) I plan to go over what tools I use in more detail at a later time, but for this post I wanted to focus on the Linux tools that I have on my thumb-drive to help me in my day to day operations. I don’t list these in any particular order, just the order they are on my thumb drive:
GParted Live is a Linux distribution that runs “live” from your thumb-drive or CD. From within the program you can do many things like resize, create, check and delete partitions. I’ve used this mostly to check or resize partitions but for your everyday drive maintenance.
Knoppix is a full live Linux distribution, one thing I like about it, is that it’s has a user friendly GUI interface that allows you to mount drives and copy data easily. It’s really a full version of Linux and has such applications as OpenOffice, Gimp, Konqueror, FireFox, Apache, PHP, MySQL and hundreds of other quality open source programs, so it’s really an all in one without having to install it on your hard-drive.
Trinity Rescue Kit
Trinity Rescue Kit is an all in one Linux tool. It does easily reset windows passwords, full access to mounted NTFS drives, run a samba file server (so you can copy data to another server), recovery deleted files with utilities and procedures, recovery of lost partitions, and so much more. Those were just the ways that I’ve personally used the software, great program. Though you might want to re-look at some Linux commands prior to using this product.
Offers numerous tools to handle tasks like partition management, file recovery, hard disk testing, ftp, and disk formatting. It does offers an easy-to-use GUI which tends to put it higher up on my list, because sometimes looking at a GUI is easier than looking at and remember commands.
Ubuntu Rescue Remix
Like most excellent live Linux CD tools for Non-Linux users, it includes an outstanding GUI that can help you handle tasks. You can recover and rescue Mac files/file systems, recover data from nonstandard external drives, recover deleted files, and more.
These aren’t the only tools, or even the best tool for your enviroment these are just suggestions that have helped me along my career. Now there are some good products that cost money to use, more recently I’ve come across SpinRite which is a good program, but the Linux tools are open source and free (though I highly suggest that you donate if you download).