Tuesday, March 17, 2015

2015 March 17 | Data Recovery | Recovery Partition Restored via Ubuntu Linux

Modern laptops and notebook computers come pre-installed with a recovery partition which enables the user to restore the machine to the default factory settings in the event of some type of problem arising from the normal operation of the machine.

However, in order for this recovery process to function properly, the laptop must have a boot partition configured which can make access to both the recovery software, and the image contained in the recovery partition. Without that partition, things get a bit more complicated.

Goal: Recovery a laptop using the recovery partition when there is no available boot partition.

Symptom: Customer delivered a laptop in need of a restore. The machine had become unresponsive and sluggish. Typically, these are good conditions to restore to factory settings. However, attempts at restoring had previously failed and the C: drive software became damaged from hard resets.

Results: Using a bootable USB thumb drive containing Ubuntu Linux 14.04 Desktop version, the software stored in the system's recovery partition was successfully restored to the newly formatted C: drive and the system returned to working order. Note: The actual end-result for this repair case was that inevitably, the physical hardware failed and a new HDD was needed, however the technique for restoring the OS in this post is effective and valid. 

Thursday, January 31, 2013

2013 January 31 | Backups | Dropbox Cloud for Small Business Backups

Making a Dropbox Cloud for Small Business Backups is simpler than you might imagine. Nowadays there are all kinds of technologies available for synchronizing your data online and by making use of some of the more mainstream ones (Dropbox and SugarSync) the average user has the ability to create a powerful linked set of backups for a small customer-centric consulting business without incurring high overhead costs from the cloud service industry. This write-up shows one way of maximizing the available free services paired with a single paid service account. It was also the result of some research into the limits of sync/backup tools.

The disclaimer in this talk is that in no way should a person or organization ever violate the terms of service for either of these companies - let's play nicely with two services that can really help create a sense of security and organization for important data backups as well as produce a simple way to coordinate on projects between those in-the-field and those in the home office. Also, "high overhead costs" are actually not so high for most data-conscious individuals, so a paid account in either of these services might be enough for most users. This is just an example of pushing the envelope using cloud sync tools.

Goal: Create a central point by which all data for three (or more) different accounts can be safely and successfully backed up using current Dropbox and SugarSync technology.

Symptom: A business has three different sets of data for three different customers and wants to keep that data separate when working at each of the customer sites and also backed up together at the home office.

Reason: Customers should not see other customer data, but there are important files needed remotely at customer sites. If network connectivity is no issue, then we needn't port everything via "sneaker-net" to the customer site.

Results: Using three separate Dropbox accounts and one master SugarSync account, the data is successfully kept separate remotely and backed up properly in the home office.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

2013 January 12 | Disk Administration | Resizing Ext4 Partitions on a LIVE CentOS Virtual Machine

Goal: Increase the storage space for the variable data partition (/var) on a system without re-installing from scratch (Resizing Ext4 Partitions on a LIVE CentOS Virtual Machine).

Symptom: The current partition has 30GB for testing mode, but we need about 250GB to go "live" in production mode.

Reason: We re-sized the partition "live" in order to avoid reconfiguration of the virtual machine from scratch.

Results: The virtual HDD/LVM partition was successfully changed and re-sized to the new size without reconfiguration of the machine.