Prepping my Computer (for a conference, but that part doesn’t matter)

Update July 24, 2014: I'm using these exact directions with Linux Mint, which is my current preferred Linux Distro.

Note: I thought I posted this last January, but it appears I didn't. 

This post could be re-titled "Why I Love Linux" because it requires Linux.

Like many other transportation geeks, I'm getting ready to go to this little conference in Washington, DC.  I've been getting things together because I found out a few years ago that being stuck in DC with problematic technology (like a bad cell phone battery) is no fun.  And to top it all off, my laptop feels like it has a failing hard drive.

So I booted into Ubuntu and used Disk Utility to check the SMART status via disk utility.  Which claims everything is fine.

Still, though, I didn't receive any disk with my laptop (it instead has a rescue partition) and my intuition disagrees with what my disk drive thinks of itself, so I decided the smart thing to do would be to arm myself with a few good USB flash drives.

The first USB flash drive is a live image of Ubuntu or Mint (or many other distros).

The second is my rescue partition image that can be restored to a new drive.  I got this by:

  1. Getting an image file using the ntfsclone command:

sudo ntfsclone -o rescue.img /dev/sda4

Where /dev/sda4 is the Lenovo rescue partition (as indicated in Disk Utility)

  1. Compress the rescue image

gzip rescue.img

  1. Split the image into 1 GB bits

split -b 1024m rescue.img.gz

(note: steps 2 and 3 can be combined with gzip rescue.img |split -b 1024m

I then copied these to a USB flash drive.


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