Practical Technology

for practical people.

Linux comes to Windows users’ rescue


I recently got a note out of the blue from another technology journalist. He wrote, “I know I’m often critical of Linux, but I’m SOOOOO GLAD I installed Ubuntu on my laptop. I installed some patches to Vista and now Vista won’t boot, not even in Safe mode. Uggh!”

He continued, “So now I’ve booted the computer up to Ubuntu and can start figuring out what’s wrong. Meanwhile, I discovered a great tool called Unison and I’ve mounted my Windows drive and I am using Unison to back up everything to a 300-gig external hard drive before I start tearing Windows apart… just in case. I guess I have my afternoon’s plans made.”

Unison, for those that don’t know it, is a handy little file system synchronization program that runs on Windows, Linux, and most versions of Unix. It combines the features of both a configuration management system and a synchronization program. It will also do its magic across networks. So, for example, besides letting my friend do a backup from a dead Windows file system to an external drive, he could have transferred his files to say one of my servers.

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