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Ultimate Boot CD for Windows

If you are a techie, a geek, a computer power user or even someone who is just interested in computers, at some point or another, you’ve had to repair a computer that has either died dut to a software crash, or had to try and disinfect a computer that has been compromised by malware, i.e. viruses, spyware, keyloggers etc….

Most of the time, the computer will contain vital information, photos, huge music collection, projects and so on. If it’s just a software crash, taking the hard drive out and putting it in another computer will work, although there may not be time for it A better solution in that case is to back up the data to another drive or DVD, and format the drive and start again. However, since the operating system isn’t working, getting hold of the data is tricky. If the computer is infected with malware, trying to clean it out inside Windows usually doesn’t work, since the infection can hide and come back again. The best case then is to boot the computer using another operating system and scan from it.

There have always been tools to do these kinds of tasks, but for a long time they were either DOS based, or needed to be run from 3.5″ floppy drives. Network administrators have had that issue in particualr with Symantec Ghost, which was a pain to make boot floppies for. The solution slowly came about in the form of creating a bootable cd that had space for many troubleshooting applications. There are Linux based live cd’s that do this job quite well, but they often hit stumblings blocks: they can’t write properly to NTFS drives, and they can’t run Windows based cleaning tools.

The solution to this came about by using BartPE. BartPE was a tool that was designed to give a graphical Windows user interface while working in a pre-boot execution environment. This let users access NTFS drives and run Windows based tools. However, BartPE needed a lot of tools to make it useful, and not everyone had the time or bandwidth to get these tools, let alone get them configured for the PE environment.

Using BartPE, a small group of people decided to make a boot cd that would answer the needs of people who had been requesting it while using the original Ultimate Boot CD. For the full story on how the Windows version came about, read the history at www.ubcd4win.com

I built my first UBCD4WIN disk earlier today, and I’m blown away by the amount of effort they put into this project. I don’t think even the author of BartPE could have imagined how his creation would be so used. It has just about every tool a technician could need to backup data, browse a network, as well as disinfect an infected computer. What’s more, you can add to the disk certain applications that are PE compatible. This opens up an even wider realm of possibilities.

My only concern is that it can possibly consume more memory than some older computers have, but I think it’s a worthy tradeoff. Also, the project is becoming so big that they will soon run out of space on CD. From what I’ve read, they are going to be moving over to DVD in a while, which lets them offer a Linux based solution on the same disk as well, which could be used for computers running Linux. This will negate the need to have multiple disks. Truly, it will become the Ultimate Boot DVD. I think there will also be an option to create a bootable USB flash drive, since that is also becoming popular these days.

To end this long post off, I suggest you download and play around with the program. It could save you many hours in the future.

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