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Intro [^]

SystemRescueCD is an excellent Live CD. It contains cloning software too (FSArchiver and partimage, to be spesific), but is unable to clone a whole disk, instead of only individual partitions.

Clonezilla Live is a great cloning solution, but it is unable to do anything but clone. For general system administration, you need a lot more functions - like these offered by SystemRescueCD.

Clonezilla-SysRescCD has all of the functions of both discs. It's a multi boot CD, so switching between CDs requires a reboot, but using both individual discs requires switching the physical disc - in addition to rebooting.

But, of course, to be able to use SystemRescueCD's functions, you need to know how to use them. We don't have permission to redistribute SystemRescueCD documentation, so this page contains only just enough information to allow you to look for more help in SystemRescueCD documentation.

Which boot option to pick? [^]

You may be confused because of the number of boot options you have. After choosing "CD 2: System Rescue CD" you have a total of 15 options to boot SystemRescueCD. Here is a table of them.

Normal To RAM Graphical Environment VESA Mini Shell
32-bit kernel
32-bit kernel (alternative)
64-bit kernel

In the table, I have marked the options you most likely need. You should choose either of the options on green background if you have no idea and/or time to read the next sections.

Choosing the column [^]

If you're accustomed to graphical environment, choose Graphical Environment. In Graphical Environment you're able to use graphical programs, like GParted and Mozilla Firefox. Terminals are also available, so using Graphical Environment doesn't prevent using command line. The only negative thing of Graphical Environment is that it slows booting process down a bit - and it's often just plain unneeded.

Try VESA, if normal Graphical Environment doesn't work. VESA uses Xvesa graphical environment instead of X.Org that sometimes doesn't work. The drawback of Xvesa compared to X.Org is that Xvesa isn't optimized to any hardware, which means poorer performance.

If you're accustomed to command line and know already that you're not going to use any graphical program, choose one of the normal options (just below "System Rescue CD Menu"). Booting to command line is a bit faster process than booting to graphical environment, and you can start X manually later.

You need the option To RAM if you plan to burn discs while using SystemRescueCD. The option copies the whole SystemRescueCD to the memory of the computer during the boot process, allowing you to put another disc to your CD/DVD writer while using SystemRescueCD. The negative thing is that reading all the contents of the disc slows boot process down a lot. There is no option which copies the disc to the memory and starts graphical environment automatically, but you can easily start it manually.

Mini Shell is probably the least used option. It enters BusyBox shell after booting. BusyBox is an application that "combines tiny versions of many common UNIX utilities into a single small executable." However, SystemRescueCD contains most of these utilities anyway, so there is not much need to use this option. some information about BusyBox

Choosing the row (kernel) [^]

After having chosen the column of the above table, you still have three options. Now you need to choose the kernel.

The optimal kernel depends on the processor of your computer. If it's an IA-32 processor, like Intel Pentium 4 or AMD Athlon XP, you should choose 32-bit kernel, because 64-bit kernel doesn't work at all. If you have a x86-64 processor, like AMD Athlon 64 or Intel Core 2, you can choose any kernel - the processor can run all of them. 64-bit kernel should be preferred, because it allows chrooting on an existing GNU/Linux partition containing 64-bit programs.

If you don't know your processor architecture, try 64-bit kernel. If your processor architecture is IA-32, you'll see the following error message:

This kernel requires an x86-64 CPU, but only detected an i686 CPU. Unable to boot - please use a kernel appropriate for your CPU.

At this stage, simply press Ctrl-Alt-Del to reboot and use always 32-bit kernel on the machine.

There is one more kernel - 32-bit kernel (alternative). It's designed to support more recent hardware than the regular kernel. Try it if standard 32-bit kernel doesn't work.

After booting [^]

HELP!!! Where are the desktop and Start menu? [^]

You should have read this section if you're looking for them. However, you don't need to reboot in order to enter graphical environment. Simply type this command and press ENTER:


The command asks you to choose a graphical environment. Try first X.Org, and if it fails, run the command again and choose Xvesa.

Connecting to the Internet [^]

The CD doesn't contain any SystemRescueCD documentation, because we don't have permission to redistribute it. In addition, our time is limited and we can't rewrite it all. So, you need to connect to the Internet to be able to read SystemRescueCD's official online documentation.

Luckily, establishing Internet connection should be easy, if you're in a network using DHCP. Nowadays, most people are. If you're using graphical mode and terminal isn't already open, open it via the menu that opens when you click the leftmost icon in the bottom pane.

Then, type this command and press ENTER:

dhcpcd eth0

If the network doesn't use DHCP, you can also configure Internet settings by hand. You should be able to do so if you've previously configured your settings in the operating system you normally use. The command to run is


When you're done [^]

When you're done, you naturally want to either shut the computer down or reboot. Wait! Don't do it yet!

Both I and Spiros have found out that letting a live CD to automatically unmount partitions is often a bad idea. It can damage the filesystems of the partitions which were mounted when the computer was shut down and destroy any files in the partitions, even them you didn't use within the CD.

So, I recommend unmounting them refore shutdown or reboot. Just run these commands when you're done.

If you want to reboot:

umount -a

If you want to shut down:

umount -a

More info [^]

Here are some links to the official SystemRescueCD resources.

SystemRescueCD - http://www.sysresccd.org/Main_Page
Detailed packages list- http://www.sysresccd.org/Detailed-packages-list
Manual - http://www.sysresccd.org/Online-Manual-EN
FAQ - http://www.sysresccd.org/FAQ
Howto - http://www.sysresccd.org/Howto
Forum - http://www.sysresccd.org/forums/