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Old May 9, 2008, 03:09 PM   #1
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caveman-jim
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Thumbs up Downloadable boot discs that could save your PC

Way back in the 20th century, Windows prepared you for the day your PC wouldn't boot. It came with a program that formatted a bootable floppy disk, complete with diagnostic and repair utilities. If you had the forethought to create that floppy while Windows was still working, you were ready when it eventually failed.

Alas, the Windows Boot Floppy went the way of DOS (the operating system it actually booted). Modern versions can't make that floppy (they can format a bootable DOS floppy -- if you have the drive -- but without utilities), and DOS can't handle NTFS hard-drive partitions.

Know your rescue OSes
Since DOS doesn't handle XP or Vista repairs well, each of these discs boots into one of the following three operating systems. It's good to know a little about them.

Windows PE: The official, CD-bootable version of Windows (the PE stands for Preinstallation Environment) makes the obvious choice for this sort of thing. Unfortunately, Microsoft maintains strict control, and few utility authors have received permission to use it.

BartPE: Since Microsoft won't share its preinstallation environment, Bart Lagerweij created his own, and he gives it away for free. But to avoid copyright infringement, he can't give you everything you need to create a BartPE disc. The missing elements consist of Windows XP installation files you may or may not already have.

Linux Live CD: The name refers to any version of Linux you can download as an .iso file and boot off a CD. But Linux can be an intimidating environment for the uninitiated, it doesn't always handle NTFS well (many versions can read NTFS but not write to it), and it is seldom geared to help with Windows problems.

Bring on the rescue discs:
Puppy Linux
If Windows won't boot, nothing gets you into your hard drive faster or more easily than Puppy Linux.
BartPE
The BartPE operating system makes a pretty good boot disc on its own, getting you into Windows and letting you access your drive. Creating a BartPE disc isn't as easy as double-clicking an .iso file. You have to download, install, and run Bart's PE Builder. Although BartPE's program selection is slim, the PE Builder lets you add other programs to the disc before you burn it.
Vista Recovery Disc
Based on Windows PE 2, the Recovery Disc is basically a Vista installation disc minus the install files.Among its Vista-only options are a tool for diagnosing and fixing startup problems, a version of System Restore that uses restore points on the hard drive, the restore portions of Vista's backup program, and a memory diagnostic tool.
Ultimate Boot CD for Windows
This BartPE-based boot disc comes with a huge selection of tools to access your data and get your PC booting properly again.
Trinity Rescue Kit
This is the only Linux Live CD variant I've ever encountered that is intended specifically for rescuing Windows computers. If you take the time to read the 46-page documentation and learn the program, you'll be rewarded next time disaster strikes.
[email protected] $80 Boot Disk
Based on Windows PE, LSoft Technologies' [email protected] Boot Disk offers a well-chosen collection of utilities, including image backup and recovery, a CD/DVD-based data backup program


Original Article - ComputerWorld reprinted from PCWorld

Free Windows CD/DVD ISO Burners:
IMGBurn
ISORecorder

Last edited by caveman-jim : May 9, 2008 at 03:14 PM.
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Old May 9, 2008, 03:12 PM   #2
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Post any additional Boot/Rescue CD's you find:

Ubuntu Rescue Remix
Ubuntu Rescue Remix is a GNU/Linux live system which runs from CD or USB flash device. It provides the data recovery specialist with a command-line interface environment equipped with the best free-libre, open source data recovery and forensics tools available.
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Old May 10, 2008, 01:15 PM   #3
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My personal favorite is Hiren's boot CD. There are so many valuable utilities and apps on that thing, but I can't post a download link here because it is not 100% legal.


People are almost never prepared for disaster recovery. Remember, he who laughs last has a backup.
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Old May 10, 2008, 07:03 PM   #4
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I concur with Hiren's All-In-One and BartPE. The latter takes some customization to make really useful but is well worth it. I use it regularly to run time consuming image and clone operations while maintaining the ability to trot down the information super goatpath. Sure, backup proggies may allow doing this from within the running OS but doing so from a seperate one minimizes problems.
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Old May 10, 2008, 09:22 PM   #5
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MiniPE.
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Old May 11, 2008, 03:22 AM   #6
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Old May 11, 2008, 11:19 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ibis View Post
In the original post.
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Old May 11, 2008, 11:20 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Skynet View Post
My personal favorite is Hiren's boot CD. There are so many valuable utilities and apps on that thing, but I can't post a download link here because it is not 100% legal.


People are almost never prepared for disaster recovery. Remember, he who laughs last has a backup.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Auric View Post
I concur with Hiren's All-In-One and BartPE. The latter takes some customization to make really useful but is well worth it. I use it regularly to run time consuming image and clone operations while maintaining the ability to trot down the information super goatpath. Sure, backup proggies may allow doing this from within the running OS but doing so from a seperate one minimizes problems.
As was noted, Hiren's is illegal due to included content and EULA violation.
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Old May 12, 2008, 10:44 PM   #9
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Hiren's is absolutely godly.

But yeah, i know, not entirely legal
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Old May 21, 2008, 12:46 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by caveman-jim View Post
In the original post.
Not as far as I can see, Ultimate Boot CD for Windows isn't the same.
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Old May 30, 2008, 07:27 PM   #11
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UBCD4W is my favorite because it support most hardware and RAID setup. BartPe is much harder to configure.

I also found that uBuntu live CD to be also good solution with partitioning and playing around in your HD.

And there's also this:
http://www.bay-wolf.com/usbmemstick.htm

A program that make for you a usb thumb drive to be bootable. Was usefull to run dos program that required once diskette (like BIOS Flashing, Rom dump and all).
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Old May 31, 2008, 12:13 AM   #12
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Yeah, having a Linux live CD around is mandatory. I have both Ubuntu and Knoppix (for those slower computers).
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Old Feb 23, 2010, 11:07 PM   #13
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