Daily Archives: October 16, 2016

How to access data from a headless m1730 DELL with broken graphics card

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dem17ll30I have one of those DELL XPS M1730 ‘s with a fried Nvidia graphics card. It still booted, but I obviously couldn’t do much, as the screen was not functioning.

These were the steps I took to access the data:

I downloaded rescuecd pld-linux , a linux live cd that has a SSH Server enabled : http://rescuecd.pld-linux.org/ and burned it to a CD.


download from here : http://rescuecd.pld-linux.org/

Then I booted the XPS from that CD. It didn’t boot right away. As I couldn’t see what was on the screen, I could only guess what it said. But pressing ESC a few time worked for me. If your laptop’s BIOS is not configured to boot from CD, you can press F12 and then one down + enter (you can’t see anything, so try to guess what order the entries in the boot menu are. Normally “CD boot” is the second entry.).

Once booted, I logged in from another PC using SSH. On windows you can use PUTY for that: http://www.chiark.greenend.org.uk/~sgtatham/putty/download.html
Login using ‘root’ and password ‘pld’.

pld-screen

I wasn’t able to access the drive, cause it’s RAID0 and (in my case) wasn’t set up. To set up raid I first loaded a config into the mdadm.conf using the mdadm utility used to manage and monitor software RAID devices.

I then rebooted the PC.

After it rebooted, I looked for available drives using lsblk

I examined sdb, and it seemed to be part of a raid setup:

I scanned for the array:

Now I had a new layout for the drives, as the Array came online:

Finally mounted the drive:

To get the data of, you can either use SSH or (if on windows) use WinSCP. You can donwload it here: https://winscp.net. Start WinSCP, Create a new site, fill in IP address, login and password, and connect.

wscp

Check out the man pages of the tools used:

Mdadm : https://linux.die.net/man/8/mdadm
Lsblk : https://linux.die.net/man/8/lsblk
Blkid : https://linux.die.net/man/8/blkid
Mdadm cheat Sheet : http://www.ducea.com/2009/03/08/mdadm-cheat-sheet/

Hopefully this log will help anyone. You can leave comments if you like, but I’m not experienced with mdadm. I probably can’t answers questions, but maybe other readers can. 🙂

Summary:

  1. write the config using mdadm -Es
  2. mount the array, using mount.
  3. Connect using WinSCP and recover the files

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