5 Best Linux Distros To Recover Dead Computers Data


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Hay! Linux newbies. Have you ever corrupted your Computer while you’re experimenting something? I am sure you would have. It often happens that you wanna try out new commands, or install beta updates that crash your computer on the very next restart. In this article, I’ll walk you through the 5 Linux distributions that can work as data recovery tools. So let’s get started!

One of the most annoying things is the system crash. You try out something, when you restart, you never see the login screen. Just a black screen with a blinking cursor. ​It does not only happen in Linux but it also happens in Windows and in any other OS out there. At this moment the most important thing is files recovery. Mostly, you’re unaware that the system would not boot up on the next restart, so you don’t think about taking a backup of your important data on external HD or USB. But don’t worry! You can easily save your data on external HDD or USB whether your system happened to be Linux, Windows or Mac.

The fastest and easiest way is to use Linux distros as data recovery tools. In this article, I’ll take you through the list of 5 Linux distributions that can help you do disk recovery. All of these 5 Linux systems are lightweight, small in size and of course free. It only takes few minutes to download and boot your system with these Linux distributions.

5 Linux Distributions To Recover Data From Dead Computers

What should you be concerned about when your system does not boot up? You should think about saving your important data. Right? So why don’t you boot it back in the stage where it shut down. Yes! Using Linux distributions you can boot into your system without playing with partitions or risk of deleting data. There are so many data recovery tools available but it can take time and some of them can even cost you the earth. This method is completely free of cost.

So let’s start with #5 in our list –  

5. Lubuntu

​Lubuntu is a Ubuntu-based Linux distribution. It’s lightweight, so it is less in size and boots very quickly. Lubuntu is one of the lightest Linux distributions that is often recommended for older computers or laptops. However, you can also install it on any modern PC or Laptop. But, here we’ll use Lubuntu as data recovery tool. Actually, it is not any magic or requires any extraordinary software to copy your important data. Simply, download the latest copy of Lubuntu from the official website, make a USB or Live CD and boot your system with it.

​For the complete instructions on how to make Live USB or CD, see Step 2 of this article.

Lubuntu 16.04 comes with PCMan File Manager (PCManFM). Simply, open the file manager and you’ll have all the partitions listed in the sidebar. Now open the partition and copy your important data to any external HD or USB. That’s all!

4. AntiX

antiX is another lightweight and fast Debian-based Linux distribution. It comes in three editions namely, antiX-core-libre, antiX-base and antiX-full. I suggest to use antiX-base edition to backup or recover data from dead computers.antiX-base the edition comes with 3 window managers, fluxbox(default), jwm and herbstluftwm and a couple of other useful applications. But, we just need a File manager to copy our important data to another HD or USB.

​Download the .iso image from the official site and make a bootable USB or burn Live CD/DVD.
Boot into Live antiX and use the file manager to copy your data to another HD or USB. This process is ideal for all other distributions.

3. Bodhi Linux

Bodhi is already known for better user experience in older computers. It ships only with applications that are required for our day-to-day tasks such as, Internet browser, File manager, text editor and so on. The default desktop environment of Bodhi Linux is Moksha.

​The latest version of Bodhi is 4.0. You can download the latest version from the official website. Burn it into a CD or make a bootable USB using Unetbootin or any other supported boot maker tool. You can read this article for the demonstration of making bootable USB.

2. SliTaz

SliTaz is a mini Linux distribution or Live CD that is designed to run on ancient hardware :). SliTaz is built into many versions but the one that is perfect for booting up any machine is SliTaz stable. The SliTaz stable version only weighs 36MB and requires a couple of MB Ram and 200MB hard disk to run. All above Linux distributions weighed more than 300MB but this one only 36MB and has so many useful features –

  • Root filesystem taking up about 100 MB and ISO image of less than 40 MB.
  • Ready to use Web/FTP server powered by Busybox with CGI support.
  • Browse the Web with Midori, Firefox or Lynx in text mode.
  • Sound support provided by Alsa mixer, audio player and CD ripper/encoder.
  • Chat, mail and FTP clients.
  • SSH client and server powered by Dropbear.
  • Database engine with SQLite.
  • Generate a LiveUSB device.
  • Tools to create, edit or burn CD or DVD images.
  • Elegant desktop with Openbox running on the top of Xorg/Xvesa (X server).
  • Homemade graphical boxes to command line utilities.
  • 4967 packages easily installable from the mirror.
  • Active and friendly community

You can also make a SliTaz Live CD or USB and boot from it. It works out of the box and let you do all general tasks. In our case, we can use it to backup our important from crashed Windows, Linux or Mac.

1. TinyCore

As the name suggests that it’s a core of the system. The Tiny Core Linux comes in three variants, Core, TinyCore and CorePlus. Core weighs 11MB only so does not have GUI, therefore it is for experienced users. TinyCore weighs 16MB in size and has X/GUI extensions for a dynamic FLTK/FLWM graphical desktop environment. If you’re in a hurry then you can download TinyCore and it’ll do your work. Remember, TinyCore can only connect to the wired network, does not support wireless.​CorePlus is more than the core. The CorePlus is an installation image and it comes with a couple of tools and support for non-US keyboard and wireless network


So this was the easiest way to boot up your corrupted laptop or desktop. All the distributions boot independently and can even be installed as a regular operating system. One can use any of these operating systems to recover data from corrupted Windows operating system or Mac operating system. You can always keep a bootable USB for any such circumstances. So this is how I do data recovery. Let me know what tools you use to recover your data on Linux.

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