Linux Live can be used as a data recovery tool, but before describing how that is possible it may be more prudent to explain what is Linux Live. The term Linux Live is for Linux Live CD/DVD/USB. That is to say, a fully functioning Linux distribution can be stored on a CD, DVD, and/or an USB device such as a flash drive or external hard disk drive. As long as your computer is set to boot from the medium you choose to use, then the Live medium will be longed into memory and the Linux operating system will run from there. Although Linux will have full access to all your computer resources, no changes to your computer will be made unless you specifically tell it to do so.
Linux Live was originally designed so that Linux can be evaluated without having to be installed on your system. It was not long for several other uses for Linux Live to be realized. One such use is to be used as a data recovery tool. This is possible because of three main reasons:
Operating system based security is ineffective when using a different operating system. Password protecting the hard drive through the BIOS settings is more effective. Note that if you forget this password you will have to send your computer into the tech shop to have your BIOS reset.
Linux is designed to read virtually all disk structures. This includes the ext. 2,3,4 journaling system which is used by Unix/Linux and MacOS systems, Microsoft’s FAT16, FAT32 (including the generic VFAT) and NTFS filesystems, and OS/2’s HPFS.
Thanks to the WINE Project, you have three choices by which to recover your data. You can manually select the file you wish to recover. You can use a native Linux data recovery program. Finally, you can use a MS-Windows based program ran under WINE. You can also use any combination of the three.
A little note on data recovery using Linux Live. If the cause of you not being able to access you data normally is because of one or more virus, though they will have no effect on Linux, they will be passed on just as Linux was no more than a carrier. So any file recovered that was infected by a virus will remain so on recovery.
Note that WINE is a project that will allow Windows-based programs to run under Unix/Linux. To some degree make MacOS maybe able to take advantage of the WINE Project as MacOS is build around an Unix/Linux core.
Also note that not all program applications written for Ms-Windows can be ran under WINE at this time. There is a large library of programs that can but not all. With each update of WINE more applications are available to Unix/Linux users.