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Live Windows Bootable CDs for Sysadmins 337

WhoDaresWins writes "Ever wonder how to make a Knoppix-like live Windows bootable CD (or DVD)? Well its now possible using Bart's Preinstalled Environment (BartPE) bootable live windows CD/DVD. It's basically an expansion of the Microsoft's own Windows PE (Preinstallation Environment) idea which is a minimal Windows (XP/2K3) based bootable live CD with a command prompt and the ability to run some basic Windows GUI. Bart's PE allows anyone to make a bootable CD using their own Windows XP/2K3 media with Bart's PE Builder. What's more many people have contributed quite a few plugins that allow you to use the BartPE discs as quite a nifty system administration tool and with some work an almost usable quick system."
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Live Windows Bootable CDs for Sysadmins

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday February 15, 2004 @04:32AM (#8284439)
    Read subject.
    Like, 8 years ago?
    • by MattyCobb ( 695086 ) on Sunday February 15, 2004 @04:33AM (#8284447)
      Why didn't we have this sooner? ....Like, 8 years ago? Would you REALLY want to see bootable Microsoft code from 8 years ago? eh!? answer me that!!!
    • by KReilly ( 660988 ) on Sunday February 15, 2004 @04:41AM (#8284469)
      I am not sure I would use this that often. I mean, the great thing about live linux cds is they are packed with utilities that can help with diagnostics. This is just a stripped down version of windows. Can anyone think of alot of uses for this that would beat out knoppix? Cause I can't.
      • by dasunt ( 249686 ) on Sunday February 15, 2004 @05:26AM (#8284590)

        Can anyone think of alot of uses for this that would beat out knoppix? Cause I can't.

        Knoppix is Linux. Linux writing to NTFS is a VERY BAD IDEA. Windows tends to use NTFS now. Windows gets viruses which REALLY SCREWS UP THE SYSTEM. Windows needs to have viruses removed, but the installation cannot be trusted, or else there isn't a licenced copy to put on it.

        Congratulations, BartsPE as a A/V plugin.

        That's only one use, but its a damn common task for Microsoft Windows.

        BartsPE > Knoppix for virus removal.

        • by Trejkaz ( 615352 ) on Sunday February 15, 2004 @06:12AM (#8284680) Homepage
          You could always use the Captive NTFS driver instead of the one which is risky to use for writing.
          • ERD Commander (Score:5, Informative)

            by trezor ( 555230 ) on Sunday February 15, 2004 @06:32AM (#8284714) Homepage

            As far as I am conserned... ERD Commander [] from Winternals has allways been my tool of choice.

            You can boot up a stripped version of Windows. Unlock admin-accounts. Access local-net, make backups of documents on an otherwise f**ked up harddrive... And yes, there is a command prompt.

            And no, I am not affiliated with Winternals, but ERD Commander has been around since NT4.0-days, if I remember correctly.

            Maybe this is some kind of free tool, unlike ERD Commander, but it isn't news.

            • Not everyone wants to give Winternals $300. Especially since the capability should be supplied with Windows XP, without having to pay more.
              • Not everyone wants to give Winternals $300. Especially since the capability should be supplied with Windows XP, without having to pay more.

                That may be so, but equally it's interesting that MSFT has not absorbed such fuctionality, and has not killed off the market for what is an excellent 3rd party app with a half assed bundled replacement.

                If you really need ERD, you can feel pretty good about paying them their license dollars (which IIRC are a fair bit more than $300).

                These are non-trivial tools, and p
        • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday February 15, 2004 @07:32AM (#8284819)
          >Knoppix is Linux. Linux writing to NTFS is a VERY >BAD IDEA. Windows tends to use NTFS now.

          Linux writing to NTFS partitions is safe by now. At least the kernel 2.6.1 menu config states:

          "While we cannot guarantee that it will not damage any data, we have so far not received a single report where the driver would have damaged someones data so we assume it is perfectly safe to use. ...

          Note: While write support is safe in this version (a rewrite from scratch of the NTFS support), it should be noted that the old NTFS write support, included in Linux 2.5.10 and before (since 1997), is not safe.
        • by LittleBigLui ( 304739 ) on Sunday February 15, 2004 @09:20AM (#8285038) Homepage Journal
          Current c't magazine [] includes a knoppix cd with new-fangled "use original windows NTFS.SYS via wine" drivers. So writing to NTFS in linux is no worse idea than writing to NTFS in windows :)
        • by sofayam ( 582239 ) on Sunday February 15, 2004 @09:47AM (#8285124) Journal
          That problem seems to have been solved, maybe not with great performance but at least safely usable for emergencies. Its called "captive" and works by emulating a windows kernel and reusing the windows drivers. For more info look at:

          (haven't used it myself but CT, the local german computer mag, says it's OK and they seldom miss a trick)

        • by Avihson ( 689950 ) on Sunday February 15, 2004 @11:29AM (#8285655)
          "or else there isn't a licenced copy to put on it."

          So where does the license for the bootable cd come from? Am I going to be busted by the BSA for carrying a rogue copy of windows around and using it on PCs when the original license is running on another?
          In Enterprise size installs this is no problem, but what about the freelance MCSE out there busting his tail working on small/medium lans and stand-alone installs?

          Right now, a friend in that line of work carries copies of all his utilities and worries about uninstalling them after he is done using them. I felt the same way when I used PartitionMagic to configure for dualbooting before I found the latest GParted.

          With a bootable Linux, either Knoppix or ones built on other distributions, there is never a licensing issue. The writing to NTFS is an issue at this moment, but in time that too will be a thing of the past.
      • by Anonymous Coward
        Just had a HD meltdown and I'm too lazy to get my user/pass mailed to me. So I'm AC.

        I just tried BartPE and I'm impressed - even though it didn't work for me. You're only right in that the 'core' is stripped down - but you can add massive functionality via plugins. For example, you drop in some Adaware dlls and exes and suddenly you have a bootable Windows CD with an up-to-date malware removal tool.

        Some of the other plugins already configured (just add the files) are: a browser (offbyone), SSH/telnet c
      • by chengmi ( 725888 ) on Sunday February 15, 2004 @05:54AM (#8284645)
        People tend to go with things that are familiar to them.

        A lot of people are familiar with the Windows GUI, so a Windows live-cd would be popular among this majority of people.

        Personally, I think the live-cd concept is great but impractical. I like the fact that changing an OS is as simple as changing a CD, but the sound of my very loud cd drive spinning all the time is unbearable.

        What really needs to happen is for us to find a way to make an operating system (with a sufficient number of features) fit on a USB drive. Either that or make large USB drives cheaper. =P
      • "Stripped down" means that it doesn't have stuff like "Background Intelligent Transfer Service".

        You can run pretty much any utility you want from such a bootable CD.
      • by 1u3hr ( 530656 ) on Sunday February 15, 2004 @07:53AM (#8284880)
        the great thing about live linux cds is they are packed with utilities that can help with diagnostics. This is just a stripped down version of windows.

        This is not "just a stripped down version". It DOES contain "utilities that can help with diagnostics". More, since you have to burn your own disk (the author can't redistribute the MS files needed) you can add other stuff than the default utilities.

    • by neonstz ( 79215 ) * on Sunday February 15, 2004 @05:04AM (#8284530) Homepage
      Like, 8 years ago?

      Because the windows source wasn't released until now. :)

    • We had this sooner (Score:4, Insightful)

      by frovingslosh ( 582462 ) on Sunday February 15, 2004 @06:48AM (#8284744)
      Why didn't we have this sooner?

      First of all, lets understand you're talking about Windows in general and not WinXP eight years ago. Well, the answer is you could. I saw a number of write-ups on how to make a CD that would win Win95 right from the CD. Let me add that, because of the driver issues and such you did have to build it for the system you were configuring for (at least if you wanted to use anything other than the minimal VGA drivers) and you might have to ignore a few error message that it spit out while it booted, but it could be done. You wouldn't be able to make a CD you could carry anywhere, but some people were making CD"s that could boot like Knoppix for a classroom environment (without the obvious "cheat" of just installing from CD to hard drive and then running from hard drive). Finding the information is proving a bit tricky, but I should have it somewhere. When and if I find it, if someone doesn't beat me to it, I'll post what I have or a link to same.

    • by man_of_mr_e ( 217855 ) on Sunday February 15, 2004 @07:33AM (#8284820)
      Ummm.. because Windows *DID* have this quite a few years ago?

      Windows PE is just an extension of the XP embedded tool system, which is just an extension of the NT4 embedded tool system available since about 1998.

      NT embedded has always been able to boot from a CDRom and run a complete system, MS just formalized this into something called "Windows PE" that Bart copied (actually, about 2 years ago).
    • We did have this earlier, but had to pay for it as part of the Retrospect Professional backup/utility package from Dantz: see N=KBASE&id=27814 []

      It even allows you to prepare a boot CD for one machine from a backup-set, hosted by another...

  • Lessee:

    1) It's Windows. Forget "open".

    2) It's Windows. Forget "stable".

    3) It's Windows. Forget "drivers" without a dozen driver install disks...

    4) It's Windows. Forget "Source code".

    5) It's Windows... most apps won't run without registry editing and all kinds of other crap.

    Oh, and did I mention... It's Windows?!?!?
    • 5) It's Windows... is it legal?

      6) It's Windows... does it have a virus that could spread?

      7) It's Windows... so you already have it preinstalled on the network (94% of the times)

      8) It's Windows... does the license allow you to use it on other machines?

      9) It's Windows... can you use share it?

    • Lessee:

      1) It's Windows. Forget "open".

      Who gives a fuck. People working in an office (or even an overwhelming majority of home users) dont get paid to fuck with the source code, nor would most of them even want to. Only programmers care about that shit, and at least 99% of computer users are not programmers.

      2) It's Windows. Forget "stable".

      If Win2k or XP are unstable, your computer is a piece of shit. Your poor choices in hardware arent Microsoft's responsibility; stop buying Packard Bell.

      3) It

      • Re 1:Who gives a fuck [about openness]

        I could have agreed with you if we were talking different versions of "free" beer/libre. When using a closed product like MS Windows, you dont know from one day to another if the whole licensing process will change, whether they will extend support or just quit an entire product line etc. If they do quit, there is no way you can continue to patch your systems.

        Re 3:drivers come on CDs these days

        The grandparent poster did not say anything about floppys, and I totally
      • by I confirm I'm not a ( 720413 ) on Sunday February 15, 2004 @07:20AM (#8284795) Journal


        1. It's Windows. Forget "open".
          Only programmers care about that shit, and at least 99% of computer users are not programmers.
          I've had managers who wouldn't touch closed-source apps because they didn't trust them and/or couldn't extend them. I've had non-developer colleagues who wouldn't touch closed-source apps because they cost money whilst open-source was a free-download away (and "why pay for something you'll only use once?", and "if it's closed source will people develop plug-ins for it?")
        2. It's Windows. Forget "stable".
          Ah, the joys of being able to choose your own hardward. I told my boss I wanted a beowulf-cluster of SPARC-stations. She laughed at me. Seriously, back in the real-world, some of us don't get any choice about the hardware we use. Seriosuly, back in the real-world most of us don't get any choice about the hardware we use. If open-source software can be stable on the same hardware as a closed-source BSOD-generator, which should I choose?
        3. It's Windows. Forget "drivers" without a dozen driver install disks...
          I run XP at home on the GF's laptop. I've got numerous driver install CDs. Strangely, I never received the one magic CD you hint at, the one with all the drivers for the hardware I've not bought yet. OK, XP comes with a lot of generic drivers, but every new piece of hardware I buy comes with a driver CD for Windows. Strangely, Linux typically "just works".
        4. It's Windows. Forget "Source code".
          A. I assume you're joking. Firstly, MS didn't license (eg. with the GPL) their leaked source code, so no one legit will touch it lest they "contaminate" themselves or open themselves up to prosecution. Secondly, it's only a fraction of the complete source.
          B.See statements regarding #1.
        5. It's Windows... most apps won't run without registry editing and all kinds of other crap.
          I've installed very few apps on XP that didn't edit the registry. Sure, I didn't do it by hand - the installer did it, and I pray that the uninstaller will also do it (I live in hope...) Fixinf Registry foul-ups after botched uninstallers run amok terrifies me because like many Windows users I don't feel comfortable editting the Registry. Firing up vim (or Emacs, I suppose... ;) and hacking a config file, however...different story. Easy to backup, easy to restore, easy to understand, etc.

        Yup, a pretty weak troll attempt. Try harder.

      • I'd say he makes a couple of good points, even if he didn't intend to.
        I agree with the source code arguments, though open source software tends to get bugfixes earlier, which /is/ a concern. Nevertheless, if you're using this boot CD, you're probably using Windows anyway, so it truly /doesn't/ matter.
        However, "open" means more than just the source. It's also about protocols, interoperabillity, etc. To me, that's more of a concern, even as a non-programmer Linux user.

        Driver install disks? If you're doin
      • >If Win2k or XP are unstable, your computer is a >piece of shit. Your poor choices in hardware >arent Microsoft's responsibility; stop buying >Packard Bell.

        I repair a LOT of computers, and you have no idea how often I've had to turn off ACPI. To remove that during install you have to use undocumented stuff (press f5 when it says press f6 to install third party drivers).

        3) It's Windows. Forget "drivers" without a dozen driver install disks...

        >A. d00d, turn off the 8-track; drivers come
      • People working in an office (or even an overwhelming majority of home users) dont get paid to fuck with the source code, nor would most of them even want to. Only programmers care about that shit, and at least 99% of computer users are not programmers.

        Yeah, and people not working in capitol hill don't get paid to fuck with laws, nor would most of them even want to. Only lawmakers care about that shit, and at least 99% of citizens are not lawmakers.

        Just because you're not involved in creating something do
    • 3) It's Windows. Forget "drivers" without a dozen driver install disks...

      Think about that for just a moment. If you compare the Knoppix variant that came out when Windows XP came out, were there drivers for todays hardware in it? I guess not. Knoppix is very well maintained version of Linux, where the maintainer takes time to integrate as many drivers as there are.

      If you have the time, you can build your own Windows CD with all of todays drivers already built-in (to do this, search for Sysprep and PNPDri

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday February 15, 2004 @04:39AM (#8284460)
    This has been available for over a year....
  • Very useful (Score:5, Interesting)

    by caston ( 711568 ) on Sunday February 15, 2004 @04:41AM (#8284466)
    I'm a self-employed call-out computer tech (and yes that is the only way I could get work ;) and I use Bart'sPE very often in my job and find it a very useful tool.

    You come for the NTFS support and stay for the win32 API. By far the other most useful things are the virus scanner and the networking support. You can easily detect all nics that XP will support outof the box or create a plugin if it doesn't

    It's great for fixing Windows machines that won't boot. While I would prefer to use Knoppix and systemrescuecd BartsPE is usually more suited.

    • Re:Very useful (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Slack3r78 ( 596506 ) on Sunday February 15, 2004 @02:42PM (#8287357) Homepage
      I agree with you completely. I had heard about Bart's PE before, but finally taking the time to put together my own build a few months ago was one of the best things I've done in a while. It's really amazing how many machines that are barely even running can be brought back to life simply by popping PE in and running an AV and spyware scan. The networking support is also a lifesaver - it makes recovering data from a crashed install a simple matter of a second machine and a crossover cable rather than having to tear the machine down and install the harddrive in the second machine (a real pain when the machine in question is a laptop). Really, I think the comparison to Knoppix is a bit unfair as Knoppix is supposed to be a demonstration of what desktop Linux is like. Bart's PE, on the other hand, is a very stripped down version of Windows with system administration tools as it's sole driving focus. It's much closer to say Knoppix STD than it is to vanilla Knoppix.
  • Yeah... (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday February 15, 2004 @04:41AM (#8284467)
    "New hardware has been detected. Please reboot for the changes to take effect..."
    "Windows is shutting down"
    "Write configuration failed. The volume E: is read-only"
    "Loading Windows"
    "New hardware has been detected. Please reboot for the changes to take effect..."
  • It's finally come? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by BenSpinSpace ( 683543 ) on Sunday February 15, 2004 @04:42AM (#8284473)
    To be honest, it feels more like a disappointment than a relief. I'm sure people can identify: we've all faced our horrible problems in the era of Windows 95 and 98 (and others). The operating system seems to completely crash and will only boot up to a screen that tells us some vital file is missing. Or perhaps we have that horrible old floppy disk with a few core programs on it, all of which are near useless. DOS is our only way to go... unless of course the floppy drive is broken. (Happened to me once... rendered the computer seemingly quite useless to me, with my level of knowledge at that time). Do you know what it's like remembering my MSN searches from 5 years ago, when I checked if a Windows bootable CD was a plausible thing? After all of those years, and all of those trials... suddenly, it's here. I happen to think that Windows XP is a fine operating system, and with Norton & Ad-Aware, most bad things are kept off my system anyway. Even the horrible "Your computer has started up in 640x480 with 16 colors, no sound card registered, no video card recognized, and no monitor apparently ever installed for NO APPARENT REASON WHATSOEVER" situation rarely comes up. And NOW we have bootable Windows? It's a silver lining with a cloud, if you ask me.
  • by Trillan ( 597339 ) on Sunday February 15, 2004 @04:46AM (#8284480) Homepage Journal

    I'd like to announce the new Blue Screen of Death plugin. This plugin makes a blue screen of death a simple click away. Remove the unpredictability of not knowing exactly when your system will die!

    Warning: Does not remove other blue screens of death.

  • by caston ( 711568 ) on Sunday February 15, 2004 @04:49AM (#8284485)
    One thing I would like to mention is that there is also a meetup site for Barts Pebuilder:

    Also don't forget the slashdot meet.

  • Useful! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by johannesg ( 664142 ) on Sunday February 15, 2004 @04:53AM (#8284502)
    With the increasing use of Linux on the desktop, this could be really useful for people who want to double boot into Windows, but do not want the hassle of having to repartition their drives.

    Needless to say, this is good news for Microsoft as it may increase the acceptance of Windows as an alternative to Linux on the desktop ;-)

    • Re:Useful! (Score:3, Insightful)

      by swillden ( 191260 ) *

      With the increasing use of Linux on the desktop, this could be really useful for people who want to double boot into Windows, but do not want the hassle of having to repartition their drives.

      I find it very interesting that this post was marked "Funny", rather than "Insightful". Personally, I'm interested in looking into it for precisely this reason. I would love to be able to configure a bootable CD with the Windows tools I occasionally need and carry it around rather than wasting HDD space on a Window

  • It's a neat idea, (Score:5, Interesting)

    by foxtrot ( 14140 ) on Sunday February 15, 2004 @04:54AM (#8284505)
    but then I get to thinking about hardware drivers and wonder how the heck they did it. One thing Linux has gotten pretty good at over the years is handling a billion zillion hardware drivers so that you know you've got the right ones for installing a system. I've never had good luck in Windows when upgrading the hardware if I leave the old driver in place.

    You might be able to get away with a basic set of simple drivers (Basic IDE, sound blaster, NE2000...) but then you lose any sort of performance you might have once had... I'd like to know how this thing actually works.
    • by Sancho ( 17056 ) on Sunday February 15, 2004 @05:15AM (#8284556) Homepage
      Among other things, the PE environment (or at least, the ones made with PE builder) are limited to 6 processes. They also reboot after 24 hours (intentionally, no less!), resolution is limited to 800x600, 16 bit color, etc. What this tool is really good for is scanning for viruses, doing repairs that otherwise would be difficult (or impossible) under your normal operating environment, etc. In fact, one thing I just saw PE builder used for was to flash a firmware on a machine that only had Linux on it.

      • by WhoDaresWins ( 601501 ) on Sunday February 15, 2004 @06:02AM (#8284661)
        No its definetly not limited to 6 processes (both WinPE and BartPE). Also you can use a commandline resolution utility like SetRes.exe to set a higher resolution. Basically it will set it to the highest possible VESA mode that your video card supports. There is however a limitation of 24 hours with WinPE. If you use XPE plugin with BartPE it almost allows you to have quite a Windows like environment with a working browser and all. If you take the time to cusomise your BartPE with all the app plugins you need then it can a quite useful thing.

        And Oh yes I submitted this story so I should know something :)
        • Interesting on the processes...both Microsoft's site and Bart's site list this as a limitation. Seems pretty odd that it's not actually a limitation. Er, I did mean to say "concurrent processes".. could that be what it actually is?
          As for resolution, well I hadn't thought of a commandline util, that's pretty slick. I hate working in 800x600 :)
      • It seems funny that they mention a "24 hour" limitation for an installation environment. Last week someone re-installed a big Windows server and he had to reboot the thing at least 24 times to complete the installation of all software. The times between boot were always less than 24 minutes, often more like 24 seconds!

    • When building a Bart's CD, the program just finds the user's own Windows XP operating system files, and incorporates them into the Bart's CD. No knowledge of the NTFS file system is required, because the actual, real NTFS file system is included.
    • ... Heh. That's a new slant on that subject. Never heard that before. 'One thing Linux is better at than Windows is drivers.'

      News to me indeed. :/

  • by erf007 ( 649029 ) <{cosmic7600} {at} {}> on Sunday February 15, 2004 @04:55AM (#8284508) Homepage
    A co-worked of mine once showed me a CD platform he uses regularly. Something called ESCD (?) I am not 100% sure about the name of it.

    I had just inherited a new notebook from a co-worker that had just left. I needed to make sure that all the corporate information on the notebook was accounted for. Unfortunately this was one they had built up themselves and noone had the admin passwords to the local machine. Enter ESCD.

    Using this nice little CD I was able to boot to a linux environment, read the NTFS partitions and make changes to the password files with a nice little menu to step me through it.

    A couple of quick changes later and I was able to log in to the machine as the local computer admin and receover all information that had been stored on there. Was quite funky.

  • PXE Boot Images (Score:5, Informative)

    by VoidEngineer ( 633446 ) on Sunday February 15, 2004 @04:58AM (#8284518)
    Ah, this stuff has been around for like 4 years, at least. We were using this kind of technology at the University of Chicago back in 1999 with WindowsNT images. (The department I worked in was responsible for supporting all of the public-use workstations throughout campus, and we naturally relied on disk imaging technologies.)

    If you buy a product like Altiris LabExpert [] or Norton Ghost [] and are very clever, you can jury rig an entire operating system environment onto a CD.

    Oddly enough, we stumbled on how to do this kind of thing while researching Wake-Over-LAN and PXE technologies. Apparently, the system BIOS just needs to be smart enough that it can look at something other than a PCI/IDE/SCSI hard drive for information with which to load a kernel into memory. If your BIOS is PXE enabled, it's smart enough to tell the system bus to look for a kernel on the network card (in the case of a Wake-On-LAN network boot) or on a CD drive (in the case of a CD boot).

    FYI, PXE is Intel's Preboot Execution Environment [] specification, and is therefore working at the hardware level underneath Microsoft PE (Preinstallation Environment).

    Nonetheless, the hardware capabilities which have allowed Windows to be booted from a CD have been around since 1999, at least, as they are part of Intel's PXE specification.

    Just my two cents...
  • Last i heard of this (Score:2, Informative)

    by DaLiNKz ( 557579 ) *
    was on a Windows trading website (they trade old/new beta's of windows software for tinkering).. This little project isn't very legal at all, if anything, this attention its getting may get them a nice little memo for Microsoft. They are basically stripping down a piece of the new installer for windows and turning it into a small OS for simple applications.. I mean, a good idea and all and sounds fun but its just going to piss off Microsoft..
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday February 15, 2004 @05:05AM (#8284535) almost usable quick system.

    Almost usable...doesn't that describe all versions of Windows, stripped down or not?
  • Licensing? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by TheMadPenguin ( 662390 ) on Sunday February 15, 2004 @05:11AM (#8284545) Homepage
    What about MS licensing? what are the limitations of distributing something like this? Knowing Microsoft It can't be free..... can it?

    "Fear the penguin" []
  • by b17bmbr ( 608864 ) on Sunday February 15, 2004 @05:13AM (#8284550)
    "i think if you read the eula, you can use my software on only one comptuer at a time. you can not install it on one computer and boot it into memory on another. i would like to introduce you to our team of lawyers. don't let their horns or fangs fool you. they are really nice. (ha ha ha ha). i might also remind you that there are specific ways in which you may use my software, all of which you agreed before you even opened the CD (thinks to himself: damn, i'm clever). if it isn't specified, and you don't have a license to do this, then you may not."

    and this is another reason i use linux.
  • Go live, windows... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by mm0mm ( 687212 ) on Sunday February 15, 2004 @05:18AM (#8284565)
    If Microsoft will ever release Kinoppix-like full-functional live CD version of Windows with a set of most frequently used apps, that will make many windows users' lives much easier. All viruses and worms that screw up your system by overwriting system configuration files/registry and by installing junk (e.g. spyware) on the hard disk will be history --as long as applications are allowed to run only from the CD-Rom. You can still keep custom icons and all junks (e.g. your mp3s and appz collection for file sharing) on hard disk, while everything in C:\Progra~1 and \Windows dirs will remain as they are supposed to be on a CD. Works just like XboX, I guess. Forget customization: security is more important than your custom wallpapers, don't you think?

    Only and the biggest problem with Win-Live CD is that YOU CAN'T PATCH IT! and the fact is MS loves patching your PC. So after all, Win-Live is just another dream. How unfortunate.

    Meanwhile, Windows live-CD will allow me to get rid of fat32 partition on my machine. no more dual-boot necessary....
    • Or they could simply change their default security policy to not give users and viruses/trojans they download the access to screw with these files in the first place.
    • by ctr2sprt ( 574731 ) on Sunday February 15, 2004 @06:10AM (#8284678)
      That's not a problem with "Win-Live CD," it's a problem with anything that installs on any readonly medium. All patches are applied by making a copy of the image, applying the patch, and then making a new disc of the patched version. And Windows supports that just fine.

      If all you want is read-only access, use NTFS. Explicitly deny write permission to the Everyone pseudo-group. Deny supersedes permit, as it should, and not even Administrators can bypass it automatically. They have to take ownership of the file and grant themselves the permissions they need. It's about as secure as mounting writeable hardware readonly (or nosuid or noexec) in Linux.

      • by pe1chl ( 90186 ) on Sunday February 15, 2004 @07:18AM (#8284790)
        The problem with using this technique is that some Windows programs require write access in unexpected places. Admittedly this is becoming less of a problem, but there still are older programs around that store configuration data and/or temporary files under their C:\Progra~1\Progname subdirectory :-(

        Worse, when they do and they cannot perform the write, the error information is often useless.
        The program fails in an unclear way (like, nothing happens when you click something) or an error message like "cannot create file" (without filename) appears.

        We run Windows 2000 Pro, and ordinary users of the system have no write access to anything on C: except their profile directory. This often results in lengthy debugging sessions and searches on the Internet to resolve problems. Even Office 2000 has problems running on such a system (the orgchart program does not work when C:\WinNT is not writable).
        Similar problems arise when programs try to write to the registry.

        There have been many times when I wished there was a tool like "strace" on these boxes so that it would be possible to quickly determine what the application tried to do, and why that failed.
        (actually, an strace for Windows appears to exist. next time I have to debug something like this I will try it)
  • by prostoalex ( 308614 ) on Sunday February 15, 2004 @05:28AM (#8284597) Homepage Journal
    Any word on when they plan to leak the source?

  • by tloh ( 451585 ) on Sunday February 15, 2004 @05:53AM (#8284644)
    I've skimmed the homepage with great interest. There is definitely the potential for an even greater tool than has already been created by this guy. But considering what folks are capable of doing, how are the guys at Redmond going to respond? With the recent code leak in the news, it could be very easy for Gates & Co to pull an SCO or something else in the spirit of control and intimidation to stop users from doing what they consider to be "unacceptable" use of the Windows EULA.

    What's more many people have contributed quite a few plugins....

    Bart addresses the bureaucratic legalities of using the original install media further down on his web page but when push comes to shove how solid is his position when his own code and that of his contributors are concerned?
  • Stop! (Score:5, Funny)

    by christophe ( 36267 ) on Sunday February 15, 2004 @05:58AM (#8284649) Journal
    This man released something which involves making a copy of the copyrighted intellectual property from Microsoft! We must stop him, or Windows will be available on P2P networks very soon, and terrorists will use it to destroy the world!

    (This 'copy is bad' nonsense works both ways, right?)
  • by pe1chl ( 90186 ) on Sunday February 15, 2004 @06:11AM (#8284679)
    The Dell Server Assistant CD, a CD-ROM you get with any Dell server, is a booting CD that loads Windows NT and then runs a GUI program that lets you select a disk layout, an operating system, parameters for the operating system (system name, IP address etc) and then prepares an unattended installation file for that operating system. It asks for the OS installation CD, copies it to the disk, and hands over the installation process.

    This CD uses some commercially available software kit, the name I now cannot recall, to load a Windows NT system into RAMdisk and let it run from there.
    Unfortunately there is no apparent way to exit the installation GUI and go to the NT desktop.
    This CD has existed for many years, and I sometimes wondered if we should make the effort to "hack" it and use it as a system repair tool for NTFS based systems.

    I don't think this CD is anyway related to Microsoft WinPE technology, but I wonder why it does not stop and say "we must now reboot for the changes to take effect" all the time. It runs on a wide range of Dell servers and I don't think they are completely hardware compatible in the strict sense that Windows often requires.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday February 15, 2004 @06:55AM (#8284755)
    OS 9 and older...
    put any Mac installation CD in, restart while holding down the C key.

    OS X
    use Carbon Copy Cloner. This is just a GUI for the UNIX utilities built in. After making a clone CD, follow OS 9 instructions.
  • by ^ZuLu^ ( 103831 ) on Sunday February 15, 2004 @07:16AM (#8284787)
    There has also been an article in german's well-known c't magazin that covers the process to create your very own live-windows-xp-cd. Just look at c't 02/04 p.180 and following.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Why can't Windows developers come up with something new, instead of copying Linux all the time?

  • I mean, an OS on a CD is the ideal natural form of the whole "one OS media per machine" approach. Put the CD in any machine you please, but it'll only be in one at a time. The natural use supports rather than fights the whole single-machine-license thang. And it's convenient enough, most people wouldn't see this as a "bug".
  • by hingo ( 687307 ) <> on Sunday February 15, 2004 @09:30AM (#8285067) Homepage
    Hey, this could be a great tool for converting Linux users to WinXP!! Now they can try Windows without installing it and when they start to like it, they can switch to a WinXP installed on the harddrive.

    This Live-Windows-CD is also great, if you need to use Windows but all your friends have Linux and in your office there is only Linux etcetc... Don't worry, now you can keep this CD in your pocket, and use Windows on any computer!

    Oh wait... did I just get something backwards?
  • At last!!! (Score:3, Funny)

    by s88 ( 255181 ) on Sunday February 15, 2004 @01:09PM (#8286482) Homepage
    I've also discovered a way to use my ladder to remove nails from the wall.
  • I love Bart PE (Score:3, Informative)

    by Lord Kano ( 13027 ) on Sunday February 15, 2004 @02:21PM (#8287187) Homepage Journal
    I use it to defrag my windows system. Delete the hyberfil.sys and pagefile.sys and the defrag goes much smoother and faster.

    I discovered it about two months ago. It's fantastic. There are plugins for antivirus software so if you suspect that a machine is infested you can clean it out.

  • by unborracho ( 108756 ) <> on Sunday February 15, 2004 @03:22PM (#8287657) Homepage
    Is it just me or haven't you been able to boot from the Mac OS CDs for years? I even remember Norton Utilities for Mac booting into its own Mac OS that ran from the CD. I'm actually surprised that Windows hasn't implemented this feature, because back in my Mac days, it saved me from having to format my hard disk quite a few number of times.
  • WinPE & Cygwin (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Ratbert42 ( 452340 ) on Tuesday February 17, 2004 @06:46PM (#8310309)
    Cool. Now I can boot WinPE and have all my cygwin tools available.

    No, seriously, the best reason I've found to use this (over Knoppix or similar Linux/BSD's on a CD) is support for Windows-only hardware, like every wireless card I have.

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