I emailed Ian several days ago asking about posting this and I guess he's been busy so I'll go ahead.
I want to share about some fantastic software for Windows 2000, XP and 2003. A friend told me about a website that was Bart's boot disks and that it had really cool stuff. So finally I checked it out.
The first thing of Bart's that helped me was his boot cd creator called BCD.
I had recently gotten a new Toshiba laptop that came only with recovery CD's and BCD took files from my hard disk (c:\windows\i386) and created for me a Windows XP Installation CD! I could hardly believe it.
Next my friend told me about Pebuilder which is similar to Windows own WinPe (Windows Preinstalltion Environment). WinPe and Bart's Pebuilder are stand alone Windows NTFS operating systems that boot entirely from one CD. Their purpose is to offer a platform for setting up a hardisk with utilities like Norton Ghost, which if you already own you can add to your Pebuilder CD. Their purpose is also to offer a fantastic tool for disaster recovery. You can add things like antivirus and file copiers to move valuable data off a drive before reformatting it. You could, if you know what you are doing, even copy spare system files into place since the c: drive is not used whatsoever.
I've been playing with this pebuilder for weeks and it is very easy to do by following the instructions and I have yet to see any request for money by Bart for any of his work. I could have just missed it but I did just now check pebuilder and it has no request.
To create this cd (unless you decide to spice it up by adding your own applications) all you do is to create a folder on a data drive such as \pebuilder and unzip the zip (approx 1.1 megs) into that folder. Then you put your Windows XP CD into your cd drive. Then you execute pebuilder.exe. You will get several screens where you will tell pebuilder where the installation cd is, where it can make a work folder and so on. If you have added two files needed (and specified) for networking you will tell pebuilder what folder they are in. Then pebuilder will take it's files and copy the needed files from your Windows XP installation cd into the work folder. Then Pebuilder will create an .iso file and be finished. You just double click on the .iso file and your burning software will come up. Just insert a blank cd and burn the image.
When this is done just reboot and specify the cd as the boot device and you will see Bart Lagerweij's masterpiece for the first time. It is a simple but solid graphic os running NTFS with basic options included such as a working command prompt, wordpad, and even paint just for kicks. All this and a little more.
I'm not affiliated with Bart in any way but for being a very satisfied user.
I have helped a programmer get a ramdisk ready for use with Bart's Pebuilder but since I have that affiliation I will try to not connect the dots here too much to avoid making this a bad message.
I will provide links to Bart's website and to a forum which support's Bart's work as well as others.
Bart's website is: www.nu2.nu
The forum site is: http://www.911cd.net/forums/
Also to ease your minds, this appears to be perfectly legit. Bart has been reviewed by Microsoft who had him pull version 202b for several weeks (which he did) since 2 files resembled counterparts in the real WinPe. Bart retooled and changed those by removing them and covering their part in another revamped .inf file. In doing so he made it very much easier to use; now version 3.0.7 -Beta.
As I said I won't jinkx this message but I will just give you my user name on that forum, it is 'FreakinWeekin'.
Ian if you want I will happily remove my username here. I really hope the message is ok. This is really cool stuff. And I have no connection to Bart.
Thanks very much,