Earlier we discussed a few ways to diagnose Windows problems and fix the issues when PC fails to boot up using Ubuntu Live USB, including reset Windows 7 admin and standard account password, perform disk wipe operation, repair lost partitions and recover hard disk data, and run anti-virus scan over entire hard disk to fix booting issues. If you’ve persistent Ubuntu USB, you could fix various kind of issues which are generally hard to identify on Windows, such as removing virus-infected read-only system files and services, but before you start repairing your PC using Ubuntu Live USB, it’s recommended to backup all the important data at remote location, so that you can fearlessly perform the system repair operations. In the past, we showed you how to clone an entire hard disk and make IMG (image file) of hard disk partition and then restore at defined location. This time around, we bring you a step-by-step guide on backing up important files and folders on network when PC fails to boot up.
Ubuntu Live USB lets user run Ubuntu OS without having to install it on hard disk, providing direct access to hard drive partitions including all system wide locations. Before you start, make sure that you have an active internet connection, as you may require installing additional components to enable file sharing between Windows client/server and Ubuntu Live OS. Unlike Mac OS X, where you can easily enable file sharing by activating SMB server option, Ubuntu requires installing Samba Server to share user folders with Windows PC.
To begin, grab Universal USB Installer, and then download Ubuntu 10.10 (32-bit or 64-bit). The USB Universal Installer enables you to create a persistent Ubuntu Live media disc, so that you can make permanent changes to bootable medium and save all the additional apps to fix the issues. You can also download Ubuntu from within the application; select Ubuntu 10.10 and enable Download the iso option. It will open the Ubuntu 10.10 download link, letting you start the download process. Once the Ubuntu 10.10 is downloaded, select Ubuntu 10.10 from drop-down menu, and then click Browse to select the downloaded ISO file. Now, specify the USB drive letter and set the persistent file size, i.e disk space you want to utilize for permanent file write operations.
Once all settings are in place, click Create to begin creating an Ubuntu Live USB.
Once Ubuntu Live USB is created, move to PC whose hard disk data is to be backed up, and open BIOS menu by pressing F2, F10, Del or other system defined key on system startup. In BIOS menu, navigate to Boot menu to change the boot priority. Set External USB/Hard Disk as first boot option, plug-in Ubuntu Live USB, save changes made to BIOS, and then reboot your PC. It will take you to Ubuntu Live USB boot menu. Select Run Ubuntu from this USB option and hit Enter to begin loading Ubuntu OS.
Since Ubuntu 10.10 doesn’t come with SMB server package, you need to download and install it from internet to create shared folders that can be accessed from Windows PC. To begin, create a new folder, right-click it and select Sharing Options.
As mentioned earlier that Ubuntu requires installing sharing services to be installed to share folders on network, it will first ask to download and install the Windows networks sharing service.
Clicking Install service will start the download process.
Once the required sharing service package has been installed, it will prompt you to restart the session to apply the changes. Once new session is launched, you will be able to access Folder Sharing dialog, which requires configuring sharing options. Enable Allow others to create and delete files in this folder, and Guest access options to let those users access the folders who don’t have the user account. After configuring the file sharing settings, click Create Share.
Clicking Create Share will ask you to add permissions for allowing file write operation by others. You can click Add the permissions automatically or hit Cancel to manually set the file permission from folder’s Property dialog.
To make file sharing between Ubuntu and Windows client easier, we will put the important files and folders into this folder. By default, Ubuntu doesn’t apply file access and read/write permissions to enclosed files and folders, which compels user to manually set each folder’s file access permission. In order to quickly apply sharing permission over enclosed folders, open Properties dialog from right-click context menu, navigate to Permissions tab, and click Apply Permissions to Enclosed Files.
After the specified permissions are assigned to all files and folders within root location, mount the hard disk partitions from Places menu on panel, and start moving important folders such as User account profile folders, residing in C:/Users, device drivers etc., to newly created shared location.
On Windows PC, you can access the shared location(s) from Network, accessible from Windows Explorer. In Network window, you will find a new connected system by the name of your Ubuntu username. Just open that connected system to access the shared folders.
SMB server package needs to be installed only when you want to make Ubuntu machine a server, i.e access shared folders on Linux computer from Windows clients. However, if you want to access shared folders on Windows from Linux, you don’t need SMB server. Just Install smbfs plugin and configure it to mount Windows shares to transfer data between Ubuntu computer and Windows PC on a network. Unlike other OS including Windows and Mac OS X, Ubuntu offers an easy way to access Windows shares. If you don’t want to permanently mount Windows shared location, head over to Places menu and Connect to Server.
Now, select Windows share from Service type drop-down menu, specify the Server (machine name), shared folder, and user name, and click Connect.
It will ask for domain and password. Enter the required details, and hit Connect to mount smb share. Upon successful login, it will mount smb share, and let you transfer files and folders between Windows and Linux computers.
By following the above method, you can connect to your home FTP server, and access other non-Windows client PCs on the network including Mac and Linux computers. If you, for instance, want to backup data on FTP server, choose FTP (login) and enter required details including FTP Server path, username and password to mount and access the FTP server.
The Network option in Places menu shows all the connected system including Windows and non-Windows systems. If you want to access and create backup on Mac, double-click the system, enter Server name, shared folder name and password to access shared folders on Mac OS X.
It must be noted that we mentioned only a few ways of transferring data between Linux and non-Linux systems, and may have missed out on many. There could be endless scenarios where one needs to create backup of important data on remote locations. If you are unable to boot into Windows, you can use Ubuntu Live Disk to create backup of important folders on connected systems before start troubleshooting system issues.