Create a Windows Boot CD / Rescue CD

by Oscar Sodani
May 7, 2004

This is one of the handiest tools I've seen in a long time. BartPE helps you to create a Windows XP boot CD that looks and feels just like Windows. Forget your old DOS boot disks and other rescue CDs -- this is the best rescue tool I've used for getting rid of viruses and ad-ware. This tutorial will show you how to create your own Windows Boot CD with BartPE -- and all you need is your Windows XP CD, and a CD-R drive.

The first step is to download the program. You should check this site for the latest version, or you can download version 3.0.32 directly from here. We recommend checking for a new version however.

Once you've downloaded and unzipped the file, run pebuilder.exe. You should see the intro screen. Just hit the Next button to get started.

Now you should see a screen asking you for the path to your Windows installation files. Pop in your Windows XP CD, then type in the drive letter of your CD-ROM drive (i.e. D:). When you hit the check button, you should see a message telling you that the source is valid. If it doesn't recognize the CD for some reason (or one didn't come with your PC), try using your C: drive as the source, as many manufacturers will place the Windows XP CD contents directly on your C: drive.

Once the check is successful, hit next to proceed.

Now you will be confronted with a vast array of plug-ins that you can add to your boot CD. The plug-ins allow you to add functionality to your boot CD, such as virus-checking, or spyware checking, or even a web browser. Look through the list and see if there's anything that you would like to add. You can click on a plug-in in this windows and choose the PluginHelp button to get more information on the plug-in and how to enable it.

In this case, we're going to add McAfee's STINGER virus-removal tool to our CD. With the Sasser virus being the virus-du-jour, a Windows boot CD can really help you clean up your friends' and family's PCs. Scroll down in the list and find McAfee Stinger. Click the PluginHelp button to receive the latest instructions on how to enable it. With version 3.0.32, here's what we did:
- We downloaded the latest Stinger tool from McAfee's site - We moved the stinger.exe into the plugins/stinger directory of the BartPE tool. (This is where you unzipped the file you downloaded at the beginning of the tutorial) - We went back to the PEBuilder application, highlighted the McAfee Stinger option, and clicked the Enable/Disable button. The "No" next to the option should change into a "Yes".

There are dozens of plug-ins available -- check here for a list. Click the Next button when you are done selecting and installing your plug-ins. You will now see a screen where you can choose where your files will be saved. The first directory is a working directory on your hard drive where temporary files will be saved. Make sure you have several hundred megabytes of free disk space on the drive where you choose to store these temporary files.

The second directory is where you will be storing the ISO image. An ISO image is a single file that contains an entire CD's worth of information. By using this ISO file with your CD creation program, you will be able to create your CD.

Hit Next to continue. BartPE will now go through and create the ISO image for your Windows Boot CD! When it's done, click Next to continue. Then click Exit to exit the program.

Now you can use your favorite CD recording program to burn the ISO image you created onto a CD. Every CD recording program is different, but most, if not all, support ISO images. Just find the option where you can "burn image from disk", choose the ISO file, and hit Start!

Once your CD has been created, you can put it into any recent PC, reboot the PC, and the Windows XP BootCD will load!

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