Chapter 8. Other Administrative Tasks

After reading the previous three chapters, you now have all the skills you need to start using your system. But eventually you’ll want the information in this chapter too. Some of the activities, such as making backup tapes, are important habits to develop. You may also find it useful to have access to files and programs on MS-DOS and Windows. Finally, we’ll help you handle events that you hope will never happen, but sometimes do — system panics and corruption.

Making Backups

Making backups of your system is an important way to protect yourself from data corruption or loss in case you have problems with your hardware, or you make a mistake such as deleting important files inadvertently. During your experiences with Linux, you’re likely to make quite a few customizations to the system that can’t be restored by simply reinstalling from your original installation media. However, if you happen to have your original Linux floppies or CD-ROM handy, it may not be necessary to back up your entire system. Your original installation media already serve as an excellent backup.

Under Linux, as with any Unix-like system, you can make mistakes while logged in as root that would make it impossible to boot the system or log in later. Many newcomers approach such a problem by reinstalling the system entirely from backup, or worse, from scratch. This is seldom, if ever, necessary. In Section 8.6, later in this chapter, we’ll talk about what to do in these cases. ...

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