Verse Of The Day

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Emergency Startup CD for Windows

BartPE, because sometimes you actually have to run Windows.

If you have Windows and your system did not come with a "rescue", "restore", or "emergency startup" type CD (yes, I'm talking to the cheap bastards at Dell who don't include the Windows CD), then you NEED to follow the instructions at This creates a bootable "BartPE" CD with all the right utilities for fixin' what ails ye.

Do it now! Before you need it, not after. I learned the hard way, and after this past week, I can't sing the praises of BartPE enough. It was a life saver.

My wife's laptop booted to a BSOD when I was trying to VPN in to work. Oh well, a night off....but then it kept doing it, over and over. I couldn't get Windows to start for the life of me.

Since I didn't have a bootable Windows CD, I was left trying to boot FreeDOS from my thumbdrive (using LiveUSB Creator) . I made sure to have a copy of NTFS4DOS installed on there as well, and ran through some exercises where I got a command prompt to manually copy registry files around. That was painful, but it actually worked enough to get the machine to boot into XP. But it was a version of XP that had all sorts of issues, error messages, drivers crashing, no USB support, no CD recording, no network, etc. Without USB, network, or CD burning, I couldn't get our important files off the machine.

Anyway, to make a long story short, the FreeDOS/ntfs4dos route was crappy and painful with no real reward.

The BartPE rocks the house! It boots into a minimal XP interface with all the right utilities for fixing your issues, and USB drives are recognized, so I can copy important files off the machine in case I feel the need to wipe it clean.

I guess I really should do regular backups, but what fun is that? Preventing problems is boring, solving problems is heroic....


Stoner said...

You should get a DriveWire, too. It turns any traditional IDE/SATA/PATA drive into a USB drive. I've saved "broken" computers a couple times with mine.

Robb said...

Something like that is a good idea, for $40 it would be a good addition to the toolbox.