Five Minute Guide: BartPE CD

In this 5 minute guide we show you how to create a BartPE CD.

BartPE is a live CD for Windows environments similar to Knoppix for Linux. It allows you to recover from all sorts of nasty situations such as disk mis-configuration, driver tragedy. I must admit that until recently I hadn’t used BartPE because I’ve never had an issue that needed a LiveCD for a Windows machine.

I decided I would whip up this 5 minute guide to creating a BartPE CD to go along with an article on fixing an issue with 64 Bit Windows 2003 Virtual Machines in VMWare.

You will need:

–A retail Windows CD either XP or Windows 2003 (Note: BartPE does not appear to work with R2, X64, or any Enterprise/Datacenter edition of Windows 2003, it does not find the files on the CD) I used an original Windows 2003 Web Edition CD I had laying around.
–A CD Burner (If you want to create an actual CD)
–A Blank CD (See above)
–The latest version of BartPE
–5 minutes

–Insert your Windows 2003 or Windows XP CD-ROM into your CD-ROM drive.
–Download BartPE from the link above or from the author’s web-site at http://www.nu2.nu/pebuilder/#download
–Install the application and launch ‘PE Builder’
–You should be presented with the screen listed below

bartpescrn 
–For source select the CD-ROM drive where you inserted the CD or any other folder which contains the contents of a Windows CD.
–**optional and probably not needed** For custom specify a folder which you want to include in your Pre-installed Environment. (this could include tools, etc…)
–For output I created a new temporary folder for so I would remember to delete the files later. Decide where you want BartPE’s output to go, and then select that path here.
–Plugins
If you have a specific need in mind, i.e. virus scanning or adware removal, you may want to checkout the ‘Plugins‘ button at the bottom of the screen, there appear to be many useful utilities available in that collection.       

Media Output
Here is where you have to make a choice.

None means that it will not create an ISO or a CD and that it will simply output its files to the “output folder”.
Create ISO Image means that it will create a ISO image bootable ISO image of the output which you can either choose to burn later using your favorite CD authoring software OR boot a virtual machine with.
Burn to CD/DVD means that PE Builder will go ahead and create a bootable CD-ROM with the output on the disc.

There is no right or wrong answer, but ask yourself what are your needs? Are you going to be using this to fix a virtual machine? If so, than you most likely will not need physical media (CD-ROM) and you can just use the .ISO file. Besides, even if you have PE Builder create the .ISO file and you find out later that you need a CD, you can always burn the CD later using Nero or whichever authoring tool is your favorite. My suggestion would be to create the .ISO file and keep it around incase you lose the CD or need to boot a virtual machine which is being stubborn about booting from the physical CD-ROM drive.

Once you’ve solved that moral dilemma, simply click ‘Build’ and your requested action, whether it is None, Create ISO Image, or Burn to CD/DVD should be completed in a jiffy.

Note: It took me a lot longer than 5 minutes to make my BartPE disc, mainly because it took me about 4 hours to find a Windows 2003 CD it would ‘accept’. Where’s the love for the R2 X64 Data Center SP-2 nLite custom CDs Bart? :-) (Just kidding) Although it would be nice if it accepted other types and slightly newer media such as Volume Licensing, R2, X64, etc.

Enjoy!
-Drew

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