As I have said before, Mandriva is a nice Linux distribution for working if you blow up your Windows system. However, unless you install it, Mandriva ONE cannot be used as a rescue distro because it does not mount other partitions in Live mode, so you cannot access and retrieve your stored data. That was at least what I thought until yesterday.
I was testing Mandriva ONE 2010.2 and, sure enough, my other partitions could not be accessed in Dolphin (it reported the same error message when trying to mount them). I believe this is done to prevent damage to the primary OS in the computer, be it Linux or Windows.
The interesting part is that I decided to launch Gimp, the GNU image manipulation software, to see how fast it would open. It opened pretty fast, so I went to the menu to look for any image to load it... and, as I was doing it, I was saying to myself that the attempt was a futile one since I had no images in Live mode. Nevertheless, I saw my other partitions in the open menu and playfully hit the icon where my home partition is sitting on my hard disk. I got a pop up message informing that the operation I wanted to perform required root privileges and asked for my root password.
A root password!
A bit amused and expecting an error message, I typed "root" and voilà ! It mounted my home partition. In disbelief, I looked for a picture there and opened it, quickly modified it, and saved it to my home partition in a different folder.
I tried to open the folder in my home partition with Dolphin and it worked: I found the new image file.
I repeated the process with Gimp to see if it would mount my Windows partition as well. It did, so I took an image from Windows, modified it, and put it into a different folder. Using Dolphin once again, I noticed that my Windows partition was also mounted. I looked for the new folder I had created and located the file there.
I thought that it might be a glitch in Mandriva 2010.2, so I repeated the process using a Mandriva ONE Spring (2010.1) CD. When Gimp asked me for my root password, instead of typing "root", I hit "cancel" and it went ahead and mounted my home partition anyway. The same happened with my Windows partition, which shows that inputting a password is not actually necessary. Other programs, such as Gwenview, could also open files in other partitions after the process.
Now, the practical application of this is that you can retrieve all sorts of files (not just images) once your other partitions are mounted. In other words, you can use Mandriva as a rescue distro provided that you have any usb flash drive in which you can copy your retrieved files.
It is just too bad that Mandriva ONE does not come with K3b, the CD/DVD burning software. It could have made Mandriva a very good candidate for my perfect rescue distro quest.