The Linux world contains a wealth of rescue disks for administrators of mixed networks. In the beginning was Tom's Root Boot, "the most GNU/Linux on 1 floppy disk." Then came H. Peter Anvin's SuperRescue CD, the first bootable Linux on a CD, which naturally held many more tools than a floppy disk. Later came Knoppix Live Linux CD, and subsequently the Linux Live CD universe exploded.
The Trinity Rescue Kit (TRK) is noteworthy for being relatively lightweight, fast-booting, and designed specifically as a cross-platform rescue CD. It clones Linux and Windows systems, reads and writes NTFS filesystems, resets Windows passwords, and runs two different virus scanners. It recovers deleted files, partitions hard drives, and detects most of the latest and greatest hardware. You can also copy files over the network or to a locally attached device, such as a USB drive. TRK includes Samba and even updates itself.
TRK uses Captive-NTFS to provide read/write NTFS support. Because of legal restrictions, TRK does not include all the files necessary to write to NTFS. It first searches the hard drive for the necessary files. If it doesn't find them, it downloads them over the Internet. Unlike other rescue CDs, which have no mechanism for saving downloaded files, TRK generates a new .iso image, including the new files, so a new CD with the files is easily created.
TRK contains an interesting hack for fetching configuration files or scripts from the DHCP server (both Linux and Windows). First, configure the DHCP server with the resource-location-servers option to point to a simple Web server where the TRK configuration file is stored. This file can store information such as proxy servers and scripts for fetching updates.
See "Making your LAN 'TRK3 compliant'" for details.