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I'm fixing someone's computer. It has 256MB RAM and a 1.3GHZ processor (or in that range). As the Windows (XP) install is borked, I would like to copy over all of the files on it to pick through on my main laptop (running ubuntu precise).

The only disc I have found that is able to function with 256MB of RAM is the wonderful DSL, and I got DSL-N. However, I would like to copy with some sort of a GUI, because cp -r /mnt/hda1 /mnt/sda2/DataRecovery/hda1 won't give me a progress bar, and the file manager just invokes cp from a not-so-pretty GUI, causing a freeze until the entire operation is completed.

I tried Ubuntu and Ubuntu alternate but realized that you can't use the LiveCD from the alternate, just install (and I want to leave the HDD pristine.

Does anyone have any suggestions? I don't necessarily need ntfs write support, but I do want a progress bar. Does puppy linux do this, and will it function on 256MB RAM? (I would add in more RAM but they don't sell archaic DDR in stores any more.)

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up vote 1 down vote accepted

PuppyLinux works with 256 MB of RAM, but getting another 256 MB would allow you to use most LiveCD and rescue Linux distributions (my favorite RIPLinux requires 512 MB).

As for the copy with progress bar, most command line and small-footprint file managers don't provide a pretty progress bar. At most you can get a list of processed files or a richer progress status but nothing graphical.

If you have tried "cp" and it's too quiet for your taste, I suggest you try rsync (included with most distributions):

rsync -a -P /mnt/hda1 /mnt/sda2/DataRecovery/hda1

The "-a" option means "archive mode" (it will preserver times, permissions, links, etc.) and "-P" means "progress and partial" (it will show you the progress for each file, remaining files to process and will continue to copy any partial file if it was interrupted).

Current version of Puppy Linux does not includes GRsync (a GUI for Rsync), but maybe you can find a pet package for it.

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Thank you both, I'm going to go with MV.'s answer because he has lower rep (needs it more) and because I actually downloaded and used Puppy Linux before I read these! I'd been pretty stuck on DSL-N, but Puppy seemed to work pretty well and I got it to tell me what individual files it was copying, and it was just something like a couple hundred .wma's. (I would have used my IDE caddy but the drive was actually too deep for it! The connectors didn't go all the way in XD.) Thank you both! – WindowsEscapist Jul 5 '12 at 14:33

The easiest way, is really to move the hard drive over to a more modern system. There's significantly more modern distros such as slitaz or tinycore that should work. Puppy is light cause it uses a really old kernel.

On the other hand, you can use rsync with the progress bar option with something like rsync -rv --progress` (via commandlinefu). Apparently the following function added to the rc file for your shell environment might let you do a cp with progress bar



    if [ -d $2 ]
        DESTINATION=$2/`basename $SOURCE`

    pv ${SOURCE} | > ${DESTINATION}

Interestingly it uses pipe and direct to emulate cp.

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