Boot to CD-ROM and Run Diagnostic Tools

Posted June 16, 2004 by AlexTheBeast in Windows

If you have ever had a master boot record or boot.ini file become corrupted, you have experienced the frustration of not being unable to boot into Windows. If you do not have the 20 floppy discs with all the diagnostic tools you need, here is a brief list of boot options.


The tools listed below are a valuable resource which can save you time and money. Most of these options will allow you to copy files to another hard drive or across a network if your hard drive is still functional.

You will probably need to first enter your bios and change your boot order to boot from your CD-ROM.

    1. XP Disc

    Many people do not know that the XP disc is bootable. Once this boots, you may either install/reinstall Windows or open the recovery console. From the recovery console, you can run chkdsk, fixboot, fixmbr, and some partition tools. Typing help from the command line will give you your options.

    2. Ultimate Boot CD

    Download and burn this iso from http://www.ultimatebootcd.com/, and you will have access to the majority of popular floppy-based diagnostic tools. Boot discs, partition tools, partition managers, diagnostics, cloning tools, hard disk manipulators/installers, NTFS readers, and more are included in this life-saving iso. I have used this version for my Windows systems, but a Windows-specific cousin of this idea is available at http://www.windowsubcd.com/ as well.

    3. KNOPPIX

    For those who know linux, why not just boot into an OS from your CD-ROM. Knoppix is a live bootable CD that will load linux and multiple other tools. This collection is a perfect emergency tool for those running linux-based systems or for those who are familiar with this OS. Knoppix is available here. Other collections of linux live ISOs also exist.

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