BOOT CAMP 404 (27/12/05)
PC RESCUE part 2
Last week in we looked
at how to create a ‘rescue disc’ using Knoppix, a cut down
version of the Linux
operating system (OS), which also includes a suite of utilities. It’s the
ultimate Get Out Of Jail Free Card for a crashed Windows PC as it runs directly
from the CD, so you can carry on working in the event of a major system
failure. Hopefully you will never need it but it’s as well to know what to do
should the worst happen so let’s do a dry run.
On most PCs all you have
to do is load the Knoppix disc and restart, the machine automatically detects the
presence of the new OS and boots up, however, not all machines are configured
to check the CD-ROM drive first, so you might have to make a minor change to
the BIOS or Setup menu.
The exact method varies
but normally you will see a message that flashes up on the screen immediately
after switch on saying something like ‘To enter setup press Esc’ (or a
combination of keys). Otherwise the procedure will be outlined in the manual.
Once the BIOS or Boot menu is displayed change the first ‘boot device’ to your
CD-ROM drive, Save the change Exit and reboot and the PC should now boot from
the disc. You can safely keep this setting as normally you won’t keep the
Knoppix disc in the drive and Windows will boot as usual from the hard drive.
A few moments after the
PC is switched on Knoppix will start loading, it pauses for about 30 seconds,
you can press Enter or wait and the boot up will continue and eventually a
loading screen will appear. Don’t press anything yet; a progress box runs
through a list of components as they are loaded and finally the desktop is
displayed. A browser-like window called Knoppix Info opens. Click the ‘EN’ link
for a short introduction in English otherwise exit the box by clicking the ‘x’
icon in the top right and corner.
Knoppix is now ready to
use but there are a few things to be aware of. It’s not as quick as Windows
because the operating system is running from the CD-ROM so be patient. Simply
‘hovering’ the mouse over an icon can open a menu or start an application,
others require a single or double-click so learn to point first, wait a moment
to see if that does anything, if not single click then try a double-click.
Laptop touch pads can be quite lively and if you move the pointer around too
quickly you may open multiple instances of a program so take it slowly until
you get a feel for it.
In most other respects
it is very similar to Windows. The desktop icons represent your PC’s CD-ROM,
floppy and hard disc drives or partitions. Clicking any of them opens a message
box asking if you want to ‘mount’ the drive, if you click OK (or ignore it) an
Explorer type window, called ‘Konqueror’, opens showing the contents of the
drive. Linux doesn’t use drive letters like Windows and your C: drive will
probably be called ‘hda1’, D: may be ‘hda2, 3, 4 ’ and so on, but you can tell
which one is which from the contents.
It’s worth setting up
your printer, network and Internet connections early on. Click on the Penguin
icon, select Configure > Configure Printer, click the Add button follow the
‘Installation Wizard’ prompts and Knoppix will attempt to connect to your local
printer. To set up an Internet connection click on the Penguin icon then
Network/Internet, select your connection method (ADSL, Modem, KWiFi (Wi-Fi)
manager, Network etc.) and follow the prompts.
You will be asked to
enter your ISP details, username, password, email account etc., it’s a good
idea to have this information ready and keep it with your rescue disc. Once the connection is made you can browse
the web using Firefox and access your emails using Thunderbird, both of which
are very similar to their Windows equivalents.
If you want to open and
work on a word processor document the place to begin is the Start or ‘K’ button
in the bottom left hand corner. Go to Office > OpenOffice.Org >
OpenOffice.Org Writer and this launches a word processor that looks and works a
lot like MS word. To open a document select the file open icon, click on ‘mnt’
(mount) and your hard drive icons (hda1 etc.) will be displayed and from there
you can navigate to where your documents are kept. To open a document
double-click the file icon. If the document has a Read Only attribute you won’t
be able to edit it directly but all you have to do is highlight and copy the
text and paste it into a New document and when you save it remember to give it
a new name. To access other common file types see this week’s Top Tip.
NEXT WEEK - PC Rescue
The disc drive containing
a PC’s operating system
Linux term for the
process of recognising the filing system used by a storage device
The division of a single
hard disc drive into two or more ‘virtual’ drives, each with its own drive
Knoppix can also open
and edit many other file types; for spreadsheets use OpenOffice.org Calc,
images can be viewed and edited using The Gimp (Start > Graphics) and check
out the excellent sound, video and CD/DVD burning utilities on Multimedia on
the Start menu. There are some good games and ‘Toys’ to play with and like
Windows the appearance and desktop are all highly configurable so give it a
try, you will be impressed, it might even tempt you investigate more
sophisticated versions of Linux (see Boot Camp 318)!
Don’t forget there are hundreds more great tips in the Archive at: www.rickmaybury.com.
© R. Maybury 2005, 2112