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Linux OS for Diagnositc Purposes instead of Windows

Posted on 2013-12-18
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Last Modified: 2016-10-27
I currently have a couple Windows 7 computers that I use to perform diagnostic testing on hard drives.  That testing consist of attaching the HD to one of these computers via SATA and/or USB (with the appropriate adapter).  

The functions I perform are as follows; Capture image with Acronis, Perform Virus and/or Malware Scan and save the scan results to text, test HD operation using Crystalinfo.  I also mount the images from time to time to retrieve data or place the image to the original drive or another hard drive.

I want a Linux OS that can perform these functions.  Problem I'm having is the technical machines often become infected and/or otherwise problematic as Windows can be.

Thanks in advance.
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Question by:1namyln
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TobiasHolm earned 167 total points
ID: 39727467
Hi!

You can install Ubuntu (or Mint or other dist) on a machine. Then use Avast or Kaspersky to check for viruses, use CloneZilla (ref: http://clonezilla.org ) to capture images, and use SMART and/or fsck to test the drive (ref: http://www.howtogeek.com/howto/37659/ ).

AV info:
List of Anti-Virus application for Linux OS:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Linux_malware#Anti-virus_applications

And I recommend you to read this ubuntu help page about antivirus on linux:
https://help.ubuntu.com/community/Antivirus .

Here is a direct link to kaspersky's current .deb file:
http://products.kaspersky-labs.com/products/english/antispam/deb/kas-3-3.0.284-1.i386.deb

You can install this .DEB file with the following command from a terminal:
$ sudo dpkg -i kas-3-3.0.284-1.i386.deb

Regards, Tobias
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by:gheist
ID: 39732490
crystal-whatever you are using is actually a graphics wrapper for linux smartctl (from smartmontools package)
How do you mount image if your disk is partitioned? something does not stick together...
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by:1namyln
ID: 39732771
gheist, Not sure what you're asking.  Right now I only use Windows for the diagnostic procedures so the drive is mounted as the system boots.
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by:gheist
gheist earned 167 total points
ID: 39733360
Fixed disks are partitioned.
What do you back up? What do you mount? Since disk has partition table and no file system it will not mount....

Back to Linux:

Capture image:
1) In linux it is called dd. If your disk has unreadable sector Disk image is to fail... So better get it running after (3) at least reads good status....
AV
2) first poster gave wikipedia link with list of freeware antiviruses that run on Linux
Crystal inf
3) Since your crystalinfo just wraps smartmontus with smartmontoolstools...

I would propose:
1) check drive status
2) make a image of the disk
3) mount partitions from the image and scan with 5-6 viruses in a row while:
4) disk undergoes at least offline conveyance test
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by:ThomasMcA2
ThomasMcA2 earned 166 total points
ID: 39734829
Although using Linux will prevent the diagnostic machine from getting infected, there are other options. You can create a bootable CD, DVD, or USB/Flash drive that contains diagnostic tools. Since those are read-only operating systems, they cannot be infected.

Here are some options:

YUMI (http://www.pendrivelinux.com/yumi-multiboot-usb-creator) creates a bootable USB/flash drive that can contain dozens tools, including Linux and the AV tools listed below.

RESCUE CDs (can be burned to CDs, or added to a bootable flash drive via YUMI)

Avira: http://www.avira.com/en/download/product/avira-rescue-system

Fsecure: http://www.f-secure.com/en/web/labs_global/removal-tools/-/carousel/view/142

Bitdefender:  http://download.bitdefender.com/rescue_cd/

Kaspersky:  http://rescuedisk.kaspersky-labs.com/rescuedisk/updatable/kav_rescue_10.iso

AVG:  http://www.avg.com/us-en/avg-rescue-cd
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by:1namyln
ID: 39734864
gheist, I backup the entire drive before any diagnostics begin.  I do this to maintain the files on the disk for a period of time and so that I may replace this image back to another HD.  I need to mount the images so that I may access them sometimes in case there are files that get lost.

Thomas, I need this system to be static.  I don't want to have to utilize different means of booting unless one in the static system fails.

I need to attach a drive to the system and perform all the aforementioned functions on this system without having to switch OS's and/or different boot methods.

As for imaging, it appears that the Linux imaging tools will create an image that's the entire size of the drive vice just the used space.  That true?  Also, if I were to reapply the image to another drive and the size of the destination drive was less that that of the original captured drive but there is still plenty of free space, Linux tools will not allow for this, correct?
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by:ThomasMcA2
ID: 39734944
I don't know what you mean by "static" in this context. If a system has a virus, the best way to repair is to boot from another device such as a CD, DVD, or USB drive. That way the virus is not resident in memory, and the virus cannot stop itself from being removed. It is also much more convenient to plug in a USB key and reboot than it is to disconnect a hard drive, and then connect it to another system.

Yes, the Linux imaging options copy the entire drive or partition. Because of that, I create a smaller Windows boot partition, and move the Desktop and My Documents to another partition. That way I can backup the OS partition with the Linux dd command, and backup the data partition using a tool like SyncToy that syncs individual files.
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by:1namyln
ID: 39734958
By static I mean all the tools I want on one OS loaded on its primary hard drive that I can boot to.  I'm not interested in cleaning the viruses just scans that I can create a report with.

I guess I don't really need the entire drive imaged but its nice to have especially if the image ever needs to be reapplied to another drive to be booted in the system.  Acronis normally images an entire drive 100gb in under 30 minutes.
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by:gheist
ID: 39734991
You need to read SMART status. If drive is had bad sectors you will not be able to image it.
You are lucky so far you did not encounter bad drive

To add to CD/USB way - you can boot it over network... Then image-backup to ftp server then run SMART tests while FTP server runs viruses filesystems behind the scenes...

For Linux it is a single system to boot, not that CD or USB or SD card boot is any different from local drive... the functionality is same, no matter how you booted.

No kidding about booting from camera cards- high-end servers have SD card slots, and high-end SD cards are cheaper and faster and more compact than full-fledged SSD storage...

I'd suggest you start with LUbuntu LTS LiveCD (you miay like graphics, LXDE is minimalistic, but still has some window management...

Try - maybe you manage to follow 3 steps you wanted...

OK - install it on HDD
Once you ar fine with that you may move on to PXE and release most of your test bench computers...
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by:TobiasHolm
ID: 39735005
>As for imaging, it appears that the Linux imaging tools will create an image that's the entire size of the drive vice just the used space.  That true?

No that's not true, CloneZilla can compress the imagefile similar to Ghost or Acronis.

>Also, if I were to reapply the image to another drive and the size of the destination drive was less that that of the original captured drive but there is still plenty of free space, Linux tools will not allow for this, correct?

CloneZilla can restore an image to a larger disk than the original disk, but NOT to a smaller disk. A workaround is to first use GParted to shrink the partition on the original disk and then back it up with CloneZilla to be able to restore it to a smaller disk, but this requires a lot of extra work.

Regards, Tobias
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by:gheist
ID: 39735497
As for imaging, it appears that the Linux imaging tools will create an image that's the entire size of the drive vice just the used space.  That true?
Sure thing, what do you want - image is 1:1 copy. It can be compressed. If you make fle backup then it does not include copy of free space...
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by:1namyln
ID: 39740202
Would this work for what I'm looking for?  http://www.caine-live.net/

Downloaded and tried it via USB but could never get it to load.  Stuck on the raster screen with the loading bar full.
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by:TobiasHolm
ID: 39740342
Well, it's an impressive amount of tools inluded in the dist, but didn't you require an antivirus app and an imaging tool for saving an entire harddrive using compressed files? I don't see those apps included in the dist.

Regards, Tobias
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by:1namyln
ID: 39743551
I got to far ahead of myself.  You are correct in it lacking tools needed.  Thanks to all for your suggestions.
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by:gheist
ID: 39745772
Any UNIX has disk imaging tool called dd (very simple and ages old), or DUMP atchival tool that saves files with permissions (but since Linux does not use Windows permissions they will be ignored, so you are left with the first tool)

No distribution includes antivirus because there are no Linux viruses, and if windows files are to be handled one installs an antivrus

Fixed iso image will not have the tools ready installed. You need to install system to a disk to add packages like mt, smartmontools, and antiviruses.
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