A. The Trinity Rescue Kit is a Linux distribution on a bootable CD-ROM that contains everything you need to rescue or repair dead or damaged Linux or Windows systems. The kit, which you can download for free at http://trinityhome.org/trk/index.html, is based on Mandrake Linux 9.1 binaries.

When you start the CD-ROM, you'll see a splash-screen Linux Loader (LiLo) boot menu with a few options to specify how the startup procedure should behave. The default configuration will work in most cases, but the rescue kit also gives you the option to specifically search for PC Card network adapters or USB Ethernet adapters, run extra scripts from a 3.5" disk, or even customize the way the CD-ROM boots (e.g., load a Belgian keyboard, detect all USB Ethernet adapters, use DHCP to locate an IP address, mount all file systems found on the local computer). After you boot the rescue kit, you can access tools to help you address the most common problem scenarios.

The rescue kit will typically attempt to detect onboard network adapter and use DHCP to obtain an IP address. If the rescue kit is successful at both tasks, you can then transfer files to an FTP, Secure Shell (SSH), or Windows server. For example, if you need to rescue files from a crashed Windows 2000 system, you'll be able to mount the partition, read the files, and copy them somewhere safe on your LAN.

If you accidentally delete files from an NTFS partition, you can use the included Ntfsdelete utility to recover those files. You can use the Winpass shell script, which uses a GNU Windows registry editor called Chntpw, to reset Windows passwords without having to know Linux. The script searches for any available local Windows installations, asks you which installation you want to reset the password for, then starts Chntpw.

You can use the included Virusscan shell script to scan for viruses. The script calls a free version of FRISK Software International's F-Prot Antivirus and scans every local disk; the script also presents you with the option to first fetch the latest antivirus definitions from ftp.f-prot.com.