Ubuntu Rescue Remix is a GNU/Linux live system which runs from CD or USB flash device. It provides the data recovery specialist with a command-line interface environment equipped with the best free-libre, open source data recovery and forensics tools available.

Create a bootable USB drive from Windows.

Lance from pendrivelinux.com has created a tool for Windows users to put Ubuntu-Rescue-Remix onto a USB flash drive. To create a Live USB Rescue Remix system without it, Windows-only users need do some extra work and download both the Desktop CD and the Rescue Remix to run the Desktop CDs USB creator.

This saves some users a lot of time and effort. The instructions are found here at pendrivelinux.com.

Thanks Lance!

Case Study: Repair Mac filesystem


A hard disk from a Macintosh computer failed resulting in a white screen at boot time. The owners were told that the drive was damaged and it was replaced. The faulty drive was imaged, the hfsplus boot block was repaired using the alternate boot block and the filesystem was repaired, allowing for the recovery of all of the owners personal data.


The 2.5 inch hard disk was connected to a power supply and a USB to SATA interface which was then connected to a computer running Ubuntu linux.

$tail -f /var/log/messages

The view of the /var/log/messages showed numerous read errors as the drive was being recognized by the kernel. After several attempts at power cycling the drive, it was recognized in /proc/partitions as the correct devices (/dev/sdc /dev/sdc1 and /dev/sdc2). Imaging of /dev/sdc2 was started several times, but the drive failed after a few moments. The imaging of the entire drive (/dev/sda) was started and much more data was recovered in the first few hours. The output was at an average speed of 12 MB/s.

$sudo ddrescue -v /dev/sdc image log

Case Study: Recover Pages documents from failed Macbook


A Macbook became unbootable and the owner contacted a telephone support system. After being guided over the phone in trying to repair the filesystem and resolve the problem, the owner was told that the Hard Disk needed to be reformatted and the OS reinstalled.

The owner needed several Pages documents to be recovered before the drive was to be wiped.

The drive was imaged and the laptop returned to the owner. The owner used a proprietary program, DiskWarrior, to repair the filesystem, but the Macbook was still unbootable. The /home folder was restored and the Pages documents were found and backed up. Subsequently, the OS was reinstalled.

Data recovery was attempted on the image using Ubuntu-rescue-remix and the same level of success was ultimately achieved.


The Macbook was plugged in and Ubuntu-rescue-remix was booted from DVD by inserting the disk and pressing "c" while the power button was pressed.

An external drive was connected via USB and mounted. The internal drive was imaged using GNU ddrescue.

cd /media/disk-1/
sudo ddrescue /dev/sda image log

The drive was imaged without any errors.

Resolved a few issues. Metapackage and Grub2

Thanks to everyone who help bring a few issues to my attention. Namely, the fact that the ubuntu-rescue-remix-tools metapackage included a dependency that could not be resolved and that the iso image would not work properly when using GRUB2 to boot it. The iso image still worked fine with the regular USB creator, though.

To install the ubuntu-rescue-remix metapackage on any Ubuntu system (including live USB systems), add the following software source:

deb http://ppa.launchpad.net/arzajac/ppa/ubuntu karmic main

Then authenticate this software source by runing the following command:

sudo apt-key adv --keyserver keyserver.ubuntu.com --recv-keys BDFD6D77

Then, install the "ubuntu-rescue-remix-tools" package.

This can be done on a live USB Ubuntu desktop. So you can have a full data recovery toolkit on top of your regular Ubuntu graphical interface (GUI). That's because if you create your USB live system with persistent data, you can install packages and they will still be there the next time you boot the USB drive.

Step 1, create a live USB system:

I apologize for any inconvenience - (Fixed!)

Edit: These issues have been fixed!

Several Ubuntu-Rescue-Remix issues have been brought to my attention.

Firstly, I accidentally reverted a change and afflib is again a dependency of the ubuntu-rescue-remix-tools package. This is a problem since afflib is not present in Karmic. If you try to install the ubuntu-rescue-remix-tools package in karmic the package won't install because the dependencies are not resolvable. I uploaded the fix and the package is being built. Here are the links to the build status:

i386 version
Build status

[NEEDSBUILD] Needs building

* Start 2009-11-06 (2520)

(Amd64 and lpia are already built)

So, it seems I will suffer another two days of embarrassment before the fix is made available for i386 through the PPA archive.

Here is the direct download to the previous version that had the correct dependencies:

I included other bug fixes in the new version I just uploaded. The ubuntu-rescue-remix-live package now includes lupin-casper, a package that enables the iso image to be used with GRUB2. That's useful for making multiboot systems where you can boot any number of different iso images from a USB device.

As soon as the metapackages are built, I will build and publish a revision of the iso image. In the meantime, the current iso image works perfectly fine as a live cd or using the live USB creator tool.

Version 9.10

Version 9.10 (Karmic Koala) of the very best Free-Libre Open-Source data recovery software toolkit based on Ubuntu is out.

This release of Ubuntu-Rescue-Remix features up-to-date versions of the most powerful free/libre open-source data recovery software including GNU ddrescue version 1.11, Photorec, LVM2, and GNU-Fdisk.

*** Download the live CD/USB ***

The live Remix provides a full shell environment. You can download it here:

ubuntu-rescue-remix-9-10-revision1.iso (2009/11/05)

0e7a1486e757df5b18f2b2982f84fa0f ubuntu-rescue-remix-9-10-revision1.iso

This iso image is compatible with the excellent USB Startup Disk Creator that is included with Ubuntu since 9.04 (System - Administration - USB Startup Disk Creator). Use it to put the Rescue Remix along with a persistent home on any USB flash drive.

Using my XO for data recovery.

I had blogged a long time ago about using the OLPC XO for data recovery. I bought one as part of the give-one get-one program and was thrilled with it for 31 days.

On the day following the expiry of the warranty, my XO's keyboard failed. I put it on the shelf, not wanting to spend any money to fix it. Only recently have I discovered a fix for the "Sticky Keys" problem.

The problem is that some keys such as the left ALT or Control key get stuck and cause the desktop and keyboard to behave funny. The fix involves using thin strips of electrical tape to compensate for the lack of electrical insulation under the keypad. But the photo on the official site does not show the correct layer of the keyboard stripped away:

Stuck Keys (wrong): http://wiki.laptop.org/go/Image:Stuck_keys_fix.jpgStuck Keys (wrong): http://wiki.laptop.org/go/Image:Stuck_keys_fix.jpg

The photos on this blog show the proper result (Two layers of membrane need to be pulled back):

Proper Fix: http://sparkyxo.blogspot.com/2008/08/sparky-gets-keyboard-fix.htmlProper Fix: http://sparkyxo.blogspot.com/2008/08/sparky-gets-keyboard-fix.html

So, It's like I just got it again! With an updated and fixed XO, I found this page and installed Ubuntu on a 2 Gig SD card and it runs perfectly. Next, I installed the Ubuntu-Rescue-Remix-Tools metapackage from the Intrepid PPA Repository (deb http://ppa.launchpad.net/arzajac/ppa/ubuntu intrepid main) and started recovering data.

For CPU and memory intensive tasks such as writing big files to an NTFS filesystem, or file-carving, it's slow. But not unreasonably so. For imaging faulty drives, it's on par with any other system. You can image roughly one Gig per minute using two external USB-connected drives (one source and one destination). The limiting factor in how long it takes to image a drive is related to hard disk performance and not CPU power.

The very small electrical requirements of this machine are ideal for use with a UPS. In case of a power failure, you don't want your last-chance recovery effort to be ended by running out of power. I will be testing how long this setup can run off my UPS.

Case Study: Data Recovery from a Non-Standard External Hard Disk enclosure.


An Acomdata external hard drive failed and its data needed to be recovered.

The device made a high-pitched noise when powered up. It was disassembled and the hard disk was removed.


The 500 Gig internal 3.5 inch disk was imaged using a USB-to-SATA adapter and gddrescue.

$ sudo ddrescue -r 500 -v /dev/sdc image log

Several bad blocks were found, but after a few dozen passes, only a single block was unrecoverable. The imaging process took 18 hours.

----Partition Table----

Contextual advertising on the website: How to pay the bills for Ubuntu-Rescue-Remix.org bandwidth.

I've switched from Google ads to Ad Bard.

The setup could not have been easier and the performance seems to be top notch. I think the content of the ads will be much more interesting to Ubuntu-Rescue-Remix.org users than some of the Google ads.

Ubuntu-Rescue-Remix is on Distrowatch


I doubt it will ever be in the top ten, but still... It's nice to be listed.

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