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When Do You Need This Disk?
As the title of this article suggests, we are going to discuss how to create a disk, which may be a CD or a DVD, that does the rescue work in emergency situations on systems running Windows 2000. These emergency situations may include a system crash, a virus attack, a need to restore data from a system that is having problems booting, or a need to fix certain errors or bugs. This kind of a rescue disk is bootable, which means it can automatically run Windows 2000 from the disk drive, and there’s no need for a working hard disk. Such a disk would help the user access the hard disk and then deal with the important data in the emergency situations.
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Uses of an Emergency Rescue Disk
Even if this CD is made using Windows 2000, it will also work for Windows XP and Vista, which use NTFS as their default file system. So, to summarize, a Windows 2000 boot disk can help us with the following tasks.
1. If the system crashes and the user is no longer able to boot the system and access the data on its hard disk, this disk can assist the user in booting the system into the Windows environment.
2. Once you have booted the system and you are able to access the hard disk, you can now copy the important data to a floppy or flash disk so that it's not permanently lost in case of a system cleanup.
3. File and data recovery software can also be run from this CD in order to undo deleting files that you have accidentally deleted. Running these programs from this CD is safer because the version of Windows running from the CD will not overwrite the memory area previously occupied by the files that you deleted.
4. If the system has been corrupted by viruses and Trojans, even anti-virus programs could fail to clean the system. This emergency disk can then be used to boot the system, scan the hard disk for viruses and Trojans, and clean them up.
5. Another use of this rescue disk is that it can support the defragmenting of some special files with the same default Windows defragmentation utility, which are normally not defragmentable.
6. One of the major uses of this disk is to support backup and restoration of the hard disk. If you try to backup certain data or restore a portion of a disk, the system uses the running disk as well. So, it’s better to perform backup and restoration jobs from an emergency rescue disk.
Now we shall move on to the step-by-step procedure of making a Windows 2000 boot disk.
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You'll need the following items to create the Windows 2000 recovery disk.
1. A Windows XP SP (Service Pack) 2 setup CD/DVD
If your system comes with a preloaded version of SP 2, then you need to check your hard disk for the "I386" directory at the top of C drive. If you are able to find a non-empty C:\I386 directory, then you can use this directory instead of using a Windows setup CD.
2. BartPE Builder
This application is freeware, which means that it is software that is freely available on the Internet that can help build a bootable rescue disk. You can download it from the Internet and save it anywhere on your hard disk.
3. Sherpya’s XPE
XPE is used as an addition to BartPE, as a plugin. Just as BartPE helps in creating a bootable Windows rescue CD, XPE supports a Windows-based desktop, Windows Explorer, and some other utility tools like Disk Defragmenter. The file which needs to be downloaded is entitled as ‘xpe-1.0.7.cab’ - meaning XPE version 1.0.7.
4. A CD-R /CD-RW
A read-only or a rewritable CD is required to create the bootable emergency rescue disk.
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The Complete Procedure
1. To start off, create a folder on your hard disk and name it “XPSETUP". You need to do this if you want to use Windows setup CD instead of the preloaded "C:\I386" folder. Now copy all the files and folders from the Windows setup CD into “XPSETUP" folder. Note that this is not necessary but it is useful in speeding things up and it can also help avoid potential problems at later stage
2. We need another folder – create it on your hard disk and name it “rescue" or something similar. This will be used to store the files for creating the Windows “live" CD.
3. Find the BartPE file you downloaded earlier, now double-click on it. Say, it was named “pebuilder3110a.zip", double-click it and the files contained will be shown. Copy all the files from this folder into the “rescue" folder, which you created in Step 2.
4. The “rescue" folder will now contain the files that you earlier extracted from the BartPE Zip file.
5. Now look for the “plugin" folder and open it. Then create a new folder inside it and name it “xpe".
6. Double-click the XPE cab file you downloaded earlier, which was called “xpe-1.0.7.cab" or something similar, and when the contents are shown, drag all the files in the window to the empty “xpe" folder.
7. Close all open windows and then open the “rescue" folder.
8. In the “rescue" folder, you will see a red icon, labeled “pebuilder" or “pebuilder.exe". Double-click on it to start up the BartPE Builder program.
9. When the BartPE program starts up, the license agreement is shown, and if you agree, click "I agree".
10. A message will appear asking if you want to search for Windows installation files. You should click “No" since you have already copied the files from the CD to your hard disk.
11. You will be asked for the “source" field. Click the “…" button near the empty “source" field. In the dialogue box that appears, select the folder in which you copied the Windows setup disk files and then click on OK.
12. If you do not have a Windows CD/DVD drive but a folder “C:\I386" on your hard disk, you simply need to select “C:" instead of “C:\I386" - PE Builder will automatically be able to get the files from the I386 folder.
13. When you see the "Media output" section, select "Burn to CD/DVD".
14. Click on the "Plugins" button, which is at the bottom of the window.
15. In the newly opened window, there will be a list of programs, affixed with “Yes" and “No". The programs with “Yes" will be included on your rescue disk and the ones with “No" will not.
Note: The full list of programs is not visible – some of them require you to buy the software and add them manually. Nero Burning Rom, for example is not a free program and you will need to manually copy its relevant files into the appropriate folder.
16. Click the “A43 File Management Utility" line and then click on the “Enable/Disable" button, which is at the bottom of the window. Notice that the “Yes" flag changes to “No". Do the same for the following items:
Disable the following :
• Bart's Stuff Test (free edition)
• BartPE Installer v2
• Drive Snapshot
• PENETCFG: Automatically start PE Network configurator
• PENETCFG: PE Network configurator (the Truth)
• Startup Group. Not needed since we have XPE
Now, enable the following:
• RpcSS needed to launch DComLaunch Service first - SP 2 only
When all this is done, click the “Close" button.
17. Insert a blank CD-R/CD-RW into your CD drive and then click on the “Build" button. A message will be shown, asking whether you want to create a folder or not, click “Yes". The Windows License will appear – if you agree, click on “I agree". You will now see a new window, displaying the progress of PE Builder.
18. In case9 an error is shown during the process, use the “<<" and “>>" buttons at the bottom to go through the errors. If the error “Error: SetupDecompressOrCopyFile()" is shown, it means that either your setup disk is missing some files or you are not using Windows XP SP2 for your source.
1. If no problem occurs, PE Builder will begin to burn your CD, as soon as it finishes collecting the files. When all is done, you will see a message “Building done..." You can now click on the "Close" button to quit PE Builder.
20. Finally, it is now time to reboot your PC with your Windows rescue CD, this is to test your Windows “LiveCD". The startup time would be slower than usual because you are now booting from a CD instead of a hard disk. Similarly, you will also notice the loading and running of programs takes bit longer, which is normal for any OS when running from a CD
Now the windows 2000 recovery disk is complete and ready to be used at any time of need.