[olug] LILO trouble

Nick Walter waltern at iivip.com
Sun Apr 21 03:55:24 UTC 2002

I can restore a linux system in less than 15 minutes using conventional
tools.  I know cause I've been through that particular headache enough times
to have a streamlined procedure in place ;-)

If you do a full dd image of a drive to magnetic tape it's quite slow to
restore.  Instead use cpio/tar to back up all your files and sfdisk to back
up your partition table to file.. Then in a restoration scenario you boot
off a nice emergency root/boot set, restore your partition table, mount your
newly created partitions, and then restore your files into them with
tar/cpio (much faster than dd).  Run LILO and then reboot and the system is
back, even if you were restoring to a fresh blank hard drive.  The speed of
this scenario is dependant on the size of the files, not the size of the
whole drive.  Use of compressed tape archives can speed this procedure even

A fun added wrinkle to the above procedure is to place a shell script
automating all the above steps onto the first archive of the tape.  Takes a
little more work up front but then any paper-mcse/no-real-skills admin can
do the restoration procedure using a simple list of instructions.  Another
variation I've used is to make sure the root/boot set includes a telnet
server, a driver for the network card, and then use that shell script at the
beginning of the tape to start a telnet server.  Then a remote admin can run
the restoration procedure.  I admit that's a bit of an odd hack, but I have
to provide support for linux servers at remote sites that do not have
skilled *nix admins, so it was a useful trick in my circumstances.

Nick Walter

----- Original Message -----
From: "VincentR" <vincentr at cox.net>
To: <olug at olug.org>
Sent: Saturday, April 20, 2002 8:47 PM
Subject: Re: [olug] LILO trouble

> When it works, Ghost is very nice to use with Linux.  Think of it as
> tar/fdisk/dd all wrapped together.  dd will not do compression or resize
> partitions, tar will not do block for block, etc...  I'd like to see
> completely restore a system with a failed disk in under 15 minutes using
> conventional tools... that would be a neat trick.  With Ghost, it's a
> expectation.  It sucks having to bring a system down to create the image
> It's nice to have a ghost image just sitting on a cd for quick restoration
> case of a failure.  I've had trouble with it recently though.  It seems
like the
> older versions may be more stable than the new ones.


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