BOOT CAMP 403 (20/12/05)

PC RESCUE part 1


One day you will switch on your PC and nothing happens. Sod’s Law says it will be the day you need to work on or print out an important document, read or respond to an urgent email or access a web site.


You have several choices, pack up your PC and ship it back to the vendor, call in an engineer or try and fix it yourself but none of these are going to get you out trouble straight away. There is another alternative and that’s to pop in a ‘rescue’ disc that will allow you to continue working more or less normally.


Over the next couple of weeks I’m going to show you how to create and use two such discs. Not only will they revive a dead PC but the first one will also provide you with a complete operating system that includes a Word compatible word processor, the facility to transfer, copy and print files stored on your hard drive, browse the web send and receive emails connect to a scanner and network, open and view images and even play some cheesy games, in fact almost all of the functionality of Windows and it will buy you the time needed to complete your work so you can get your PC repaired when it is convenient to you.


The second disc has more limited functionality but it can be used to perform diagnostic tasks that will hopefully help you to identify and repair the fault, but more about that in subsequent parts.


Needless to say neither disc can perform miracles nor will they be much help if your PC is suffering from a major hardware fault with the motherboard, memory or power supply -- see Top Tip -- but if, like most PC disasters, the problem lies with a corrupt Windows installation you are in with an excellent chance.


The first rescue disc contains a compact version of the Linux operating system, called Knoppix. It is a free Open Source application, it runs directly from the CD-ROM and your PC’s memory and doesn’t make any changes to your hard disc drive but assuming the drive is still operational -- and in most cases it is -- you can still access most of the data it contains.   


In order to make a rescue disc you will need a PC with an Internet connection (preferably broadband) and a CD/DVD writer so my advice is to do it now, whilst your PC is working properly, don’t wait until it is too late!


Step one is to download the program onto your PC. The file in question is an ‘ISO Image’, which requires a slightly different technique to create a useable disc but if you have standard CD/DVD ‘burning’ software like Roxio and Nero it’s not a problem.


Step one is to open your browser and go to, click the Download icon, scroll down the list that appears to choose a UK or US download site (they are towards the bottom) and select one like ‘’, click the Accept button and click the download file ‘KNOPPIX_V3.9-2005-05-27-EN.iso’.


It is important to select the correct file; the site contains several language variants of Knoppix and you are looking for ‘EN’ in the file name, which indicates that it is the English version. Note also the file size, which should be 712592Kb (around 712Mb), so you can take it as read that it is quite large and could take an hour or two to download on a fast broadband connection -- if you are using a dial-up connection I suggest you ask someone with broadband to do it for you. Once the download has completed load a blank disc into your CD writer and open your CD burning program.


If you are using Roxio Easy CD/Media Creator click Make a Data CD and this should open Easy CD Creator, on the File menu select New Data CD (or Create/Record CD from CD Image) and a dialogue box will appear. At the bottom, next to ‘Files of Type’ click the drop-down menu arrow and select ‘ISO Image files (*.iso)’ then locate the Knoppix download, double-click the file and in the next dialogue box make sure that Write Method is set to ‘Disc at Once’ and ‘Close CD’, click OK and the burning process will begin.  


For Nero Burning go to File > Burn Image and on the Files of Type drop down menu select ‘All File (*.*), double-click the Knoppix download and click Open. On the next dialogue box that appears check the following is selected: Type of Image: Data Mode 1, Block size (Bytes): 2048, Image header (Bytes): 0 & Image trailer (Bytes): 0). Click OK, make sure that ‘Write’, ‘Finalise CD’ and ‘Disc at once’ are all checked and click Write.


Depending on the speed of your CD writer and burning software it should take between 5 and 10 minutes to create the disc, once it has finished eject the disc, label it and put it into a case or slip cover ready for part 2 when we will be looking at how to use it.



NEXT WEEK - PC Rescue part 2





International Standards Organisation Image file (aka ISO 9660) a file filing system used on recordable media structured to support an operating system



Family of freely distributed computer operating systems used in a wide variety of applications from simple desktop workstation to high-end server



Software with minimal licensing and broad, often free distribution, which users are encouraged to help develop



Here’s how to tell if your PC is a suitable candidate for the Knoppix rescue disc. Firstly it must use either Windows 9x (95, 98, SE, ME), 2000 or XP. It must have a bootable CD drive, most do, but some laptops with external drives that use a USB connection probably won’t work. In order to use the rescue disc the PC must at least be able power up to the boot screen, before Windows starts to load but it doesn’t matter how far it gets after that.  Don’t forget there are hundreds more great tips in the Archive at:






© R. Maybury 2005, 1212

Search PCTopTips 



Boot Camp Index















Top Tips Index

Windows XP

Windows Vista

Internet & Email

Microsoft Word

Folders & Files

Desktop Mouse & Keyboard

Crash Bang Wallop!

Privacy & Security

Imaging Scanning & Printing

Power, Safety & Comfort

Tools & Utilities

Sound Advice

Display & screen

Fun & Games

Windows 95/98/SE/ME






 Copyright 2006-2009 PCTOPTIPS UK.

All information on this web site is provided as-is without warranty of any kind. Neither PCTOPTIPS nor its employees nor contributors are responsible for any loss, injury, or damage, direct or consequential, resulting from your choosing to use any of the information contained herein.