Trinity Rescue Kit allowed me to access files off a PC that wouldn’t boot into Windows

The Trinity Rescue Kit (“TRK” as I’ll refer to it in this article) is a wonderful tool to have in your tool bag if you’re an IT person. I’ve used this many times to reset the local Windows administrator password on PCs. If you’re game to navigate its text-only, non-GUI, non-mouse, user interface, then make sure you have a copy of it with you. I won’t go over how to create a bootable Trinity Rescue Kit CD because that’s on the web.

But what I will talk about is a cool way I’ve used it recently. I had a customer who recently purchased a Mac and wanted to copy her data from her old PC to it. Problem was the OS on the PC was corrupt. I tried some basic stuff to get the PC up and running. It wouldn’t boot into safe mode and an in-place upgrade wasn’t going to fit in the time frame that I needed to get the work done in.

Thankfully I had the TRK CD with me. Up until today, I’ve only used it as a local password reset tool as I mentioned. I booted it up with the intention of finding some sort of BART PE or other bootable environment so I can access the files, copy them to external storage, then copy it to the Mac.

Guess what I found to my surprise which turned out to be a much better solution?

Enter TRK’s Fileserver Utility

TRK has a fileserver utility which makes it able to share files over a network. I proceeded to set up the parameters which amounted to just enabling the fileserver and setting up a user and password. Then I used TRK’s IP configuration utility to assign a fixed IP address to what it called Ethernet 0 (or 1, I forget). The adapter it found was the onboard CAT5 NIC. I just tested to see if I could ping it once the cable was plugged into the customer’s switch and used SMB from the Mac’s Finder to connect to the TRK fileserver on the old PC using the IP address I gave it then connected using the credentials I set up.

Voila! It worked! I could see the file system on the old PC from the Mac, so I copied the files over the network to the Mac user’s home folders.

The customer now has all the data she needed from her old PC. I didn’t have to repair the OS or reinstall in on the old computer. All I had to do was boot into TRK, enable the fileserver, assign a user/password, then assign a fixed IP address. The only thing that could’ve messed me up was a corrupt file system on the old hard drive, but that wasn’t the case.

Trinity Rescue Kit saved my skin again!