By Stephen Force

Having a current, well-tested operating system emergency system provides absolute piece of mind. If you have never had a damaged system you needed to get active immediately, you are either extremely lucky or new to the technical support business.

Not having an emergency system is a big mistake. Having an emergency system that you think is reliable, but fails when needed, will literately make a grown man cry. I know; I have been in the unfortunate position of having a emergency system fail due to a colleague’s “oversight.”

Because of this horrible experience, I will no longer trust anyone’s word if I personally have to rely on an operating system emergency system. I test it myself and will always have a trusted copy in my safe keeping.

This article deals with creating and testing such a emergency system, specifically for the Santa Cruz Operation (SCO) UNIX system (SCO UNIX V Release 3.2 Version 4.2.). Although the concepts mentioned here apply to most operating system environments, this article is primarily targeted for the numerous SCO UNIX users among us.

The SCO UNIX emergency boot floppy diskette system allows you to recover your system in the event of a catastrophic system failure. Or, you could use these diskettes to restore a corrupted root filesystem without re-installing the operating system.

If you are the system administrator responsible for more than one SCO UNIX system, you should make emergency boot floppy diskette systems for each UNIX machine in your care. After creating a bootable operating system diskette, you should create a root file system floppy diskette that contains all operating system commands needed to either get your system running or to at least get you to the next step of data restoration if needed.

Prior to placing all of these newly created diskettes in safe storage, test each diskette on the proper computer. Do not assume anything. Test each diskette individually.

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