How To: Make a DiskInternals data recovery boot CD
When carrying out data recovery, it is advisable not to write anything to the drive containing the data you wish to recover. If that drive is the drive Windows is installed on, then it would be best not to start Windows, because Windows will be writing to the drive even if you aren't. But if you can't run the computer, data recovery is a bit difficult!
One solution is to move the drive containing the lost data to another computer. Another is to boot the computer from a different drive. To make this possible, many data recovery products are available on bootable media, such as CDs. However, these bootable products often use DOS or Linux-based interfaces in order to avoid the need to license Windows from Microsoft, and are consequently not as easy to use as Windows-based products.
The DiskInternals Data Recovery Boot CD is a boot CD that runs Windows and contains ready-to-use trial versions of all the DiskInternals data recovery products. It consists of a setup program that builds a bootable Windows CD using the licensed Windows files on your own computer, so the CD you make must only be used by yourself. Although it's quite a complicated process, the setup program completely automates it so it is really easy to build your own data recovery boot CD. This tutorial shows you how it is done.
IMPORTANT: If you want to recover files from your PC's main C: drive then you should carry out these steps using a different computer, or you will almost certainly overwrite some of the data you want to recover.
Step 1: Run the setup program
After downloading the Data Recovery Boot CD Setup, run it. It starts just like a regular software installation program.
When the installation completes, run DiskInternals Boot CD.
Step 2: Starting DiskInternals Boot CD Creator
The DiskInternals Boot CD Creator has a wizard-based interface. When the opening screen appears, click Next.
Step 3: Installing PE Builder and Firefox
On the next screen, you will be asked whether you want to download PE Builder and the Firefox Plug-in.
- PE Builder is the software that will build a bootable CD from the Windows files on your computer. It is required, but you can use an existing copy if you happen to have it already installed.
- The Firefox plug-in is required because the bootable version of Windows that will be created does not include Internet Explorer or any other web browser. You can use Firefox to search for help with your data recovery problem, and to purchase licenses online for the data recovery tools, in order to be able to save the files that are recovered. Even if you already have Firefox installed on your computer, you still need the plug-in for the boot CD.
The Boot CD Creator wizard will then download the required files and finish, after which you will be prompted to start PE Builder.
Step 4: Running PE Builder
PE Builder is the software that builds a bootable CD from the Windows installation files found on most PCs. It may look complicated but all you need to do to create a data recovery boot CD is to use the default settings.
- Note that PE Builder requires Windows XP Home or Professional (SP1 or later), Windows Server 2003 or Windows Vista. It will not work with earlier versions of Windows.
- The Windows files used to create the boot CD are usually installed by the manufacturer in a folder named I386, in order that Windows is able to perform updates without requiring the installation CD to be inserted. PE Builder will search your hard drive to try to locate these files. If your computer manufacturer never provided this folder, or if you deleted it to save disk space, then you will need the Windows XP installation CD from Microsoft.
Click Build to start the process. First an ISO CD image is created. This will take a couple of minutes. PE Builder will display a progress listing showing what it is doing.
Then the CD will be made using the built-in CD burning software. If CD burning fails because your burner is incompatible with this software, you can burn the CD yourself using your own ISO burning software, using the file pebuilder.iso which will be created in the Program Files\DiskInternals\Boot_CD\pebuilder folder.
Step 5: Using the data recovery boot CD
To use the CD, place it into the CD drive and restart the computer. If your computer starts normally, you will need to go into the BIOS Setup menu and change the boot order so that the CD drive comes before the hard drive.
When the computer boots from the CD, you will see a standard Windows start-up screen followed by the PE Builder splash screen and the PE Builder desktop. The system will ask if you wish to enable network access. You should normally do this, as it will allow you to save recovered files to another drive accessed via the network, as well as provide access to the Internet.
The PE Network Configurator will detect your network hardware automatically, so in most cases all you need to do is click OK to accept the default settings.
Now you are ready to begin data recovery. Just select the tool you wish to use from the menu and click Run from CD. (The Install button on this CD will not work, because the products are already installed on the CD.)
Note that the data recovery products on this free CD are trial versions. You will need to enter a previously purchased license key, or purchase a key from within the software, to gain the ability to save the recovered files to another location. If you wish to purchase using a different computer, please visit Tech-Pro.net's Data Recovery Products page and click on the Buy Now link for the product you want to buy.