Last modified on 17 June 2014, at 05:28

Knowing Knoppix/Reading the hard disk

Knoppix supports all IDE and most SCSI hard disk drives. It reads files from the full range of Microsoft operating systems – from MS-DOS through to Windows XP.

This is useful because if you cannot start Windows, often all the data files are still there happily on the hard disk. On many occasions, it is a simple matter to locate the files using Knoppix. It is usually then equally trivial to rescue the files by copying them somewhere safe (explained in the later sections).

To browse the files on the internal hard disk, look on the Desktop. You should see an icon for each hard disk partition. To access the files on that partition:

  1. Click the icon for the hard disk partition.
  2. Wait for a moment while the partition is mounted. A green triangle will appear, indicating that the partition is in use.
  3. Wait while the Konqueror file manager starts up.
  4. The files on the partition should be displayed, read only. This example shows a typical “drive C:” from a computer that usually runs Windows 98.

Selecting files and foldersEdit

To create data CDs and copy files and folders onto other disks, you need to know how to select. There are several ways to select files and folders:

  • Lasso. Click and hold the left mouse button on a blank area in the Konqueror window. Drag across to the opposite corner. The files and folders in the marked area will be selected. To deselect, click any blank area within the window.
  • Ctrl + click. Hold down the Ctrl key on the keyboard, and click a file or folder. It will be selected. To deselect, Ctrl + click the file or folder icon again, or click any blank area within the window.
  • Shift + click. Ctrl + click the first file or folder. Let go of the Ctrl Key. Hold down the Shift key, and select the last file or folder. The range will be selected. To deselect, click any blank area within the window.
  • Right-click. Click the right hand mouse button on a file or folder. A “context menu” will appear, showing the most common actions for that item. The file or folder will also be selected. To deselect, click any blank area within the window.

Enabling write accessEdit

Knoppix has the optional ability to write to hard disk drives. Write mode lets you copy files to the drive, and change existing files. Knoppix supports writing to MS-DOS and Windows 95/98/Me formatted partitions. Writing to native Windows NT/2000/XP partitions is not supported. To enable write access:

  1. Click the icon of the hard disk partition you want to write to.
  2. Wait for a moment while the partition is mounted.
  3. Wait while the Konqueror file manager starts up.
  4. The files on the partition will be displayed.
  5. Right-click the icon of the hard disk partition.
  6. Click “Change read/write mode”.
  7. You will be prompted to make the partition writeable. Click “Yes”.
  8. You should now be able to write files to the partition.

Quick helpEdit

Question: There are no icons for the hard disk on the Desktop.
If you have an IDE hard disk, this usually means the BIOS did not detect the hard disk drive. Go into your motherboard's BIOS and make sure the hard disk is detected by the BIOS properly. If you have one of the recent “Serial ATA” hard drives, they are not supported in this version of Knoppix. Try a newer version of Knoppix.

Question: I still can't access the hard disk.
The partition may be encrypted, which means it may have been specially set up on purpose to make it inaccessible to outside tools like Knoppix. The partition table may be incorrect, or there may be data errors. In the worst case, the drive may be physically damaged; listen for ping-pong ball bouncing or loud rattling noises.

Question: How can I check or test my hard disk?
Knoppix has many built-in tools, but they are beyond the scope of this book. You will need a more advanced book, a knowledgeable friend or help online to use these tools. Having said that, here is a hint. To list the commands that have the words “dos”, “ntfs” or “partition” anywhere in their short description, enter:

man -k dos ntfs partition