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Bart's Preinstall Environment

Hey Kids,

You might want to check out Bart's Preinstall Environment at:
http://www.nu2.nu/pebuilder/

I know, so you are saying "But Bill, what can Bart's Preinstall Environment do for me?".

Basically it is an environment (similar to an windowed OS) that boots off cd and allows you to access your files for recovery, or antivirus scan/repair, access network, nero dvd burner, internet, windows explorer, etc, etc. Or, just about whatever you want to put in it.

When windows xp won't start you don't sweat it and have to worry about losing all your files. You can do repairs and run apps almost like in normal windows.

Pretty cool...I think.
 
This is probably the single greatest asset you can have for repairing, recovering or disinfecting a Windows based PC. Our PC support team uses it almost exclusively as their first tool of choice. What makes this tool so powerful is that you are actually booting Windows from a CD. This creates an environment that is not in any way dependent upon the OS on the hard disk.

It will probably take you several attempts to get your first successful build so you will want to use rewriteable media. Build 3.1.9 is relatively new and does have some issues; you might want to use 3.1.3 as it is very stable.

There is an additional suite called the Ultimate Boot CD for Windows available at http://www.ubcd4win.com which adds some great tools to deal with a misbehaving machine. There is even a video to guide you through the entire process. This is a very sophisticated tool that is more powerful than anything that is available commercially. You will probably have to poke around a couple of forums and try several times to get all of the initial kinks worked out, so this is probably not for everyone.

-Bob Hall
 
When my HP laptop went to la-la-land last year, I had a Simply MEPIS boot disk. MEPIS is a self-contained, try-before-you-buy shareware distribution of Linux, available at http://www.mepis.com/.

The disk booted up a full version of Linux, including flawlessly loading the proper video drivers and configuring USB. The file manager in the KDE desktop supports the MS-Win file systems including NTFS. I was able to back up any and everything before doing an OEM restore.

I also have SpinRite Version 6. Yes, the legendary Steve Gibson is still very much in business at http://grc.com/. SpinRite boots a basic version of DOS and runs off removable media. It can do an exhaustive diagnose and repair of your HDD, which is a good idea before you spend hours trying to put your OS back together.

Also, Acronis True Image has saved my bacon. It boots off removable media and with it you can restore the whole or part of a HDD. True Image can work in the background and make a full compressed HDD image to a USB drive, etc., while you work, without any annoying messages.
 
Also, Acronis True Image has saved my bacon. It boots off removable media and with it you can restore the whole or part of a HDD. True Image can work in the background and make a full compressed HDD image to a USB drive, etc., while you work, without any annoying messages.

I also use True Image (TI) and am very happy with it so far. Before purchasing I did extensive testing comparing it with Norton's latest Ghost. True image did everything I wanted. I haven't had to use it for recovery yet, but I did do some test recoveries. Thinking about building a server running True Image to back up all pc's on my home network in the background.

Anyway TI can also be started under BART PE along with Acronis Disk Director which also has a lot of options for repair/recovery. Of course TI has a feature that allows it to boot by itself as well for recoveries even outside of BART PE. Still, it's cool to know that you can just load up so many tools at your fingertips and go right into your machine to work on it. That's why I think everyone should have this or something similar. Back with Windows 98 and earlier we had the DOS environment and could do and access some things. NTFS and XP makes this much more difficult, but it's great to know you can still run full blown windowed apps when you need them for repair/recovery with BART PE. I recommend you build you a disk and test it in your various machines. Make sure you can access all the stuff you want and do the things you want with it. Then just put the disk away until you need it.

PS: Probably good to run Spyware scans this way too.
 
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