Topic: Make your own "DaRT" boot disc  (Read 18272 times)

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Make your own "DaRT" boot disc
« on: December 23, 2014, 04:23:33 AM »

anshad

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Hi

I started this topic mainly to discuss possible alternative tools ( preferably freeware ) which can be used with SE projects as generic replacements to tools used in "Microsoft Diagnostics and Recovery Tool" set.  Although DaRT has it's own advantages, it's heavily priced ( with only big corporations in mind ) and at the same time OS and architecture dependent. For example, you can't use a "MsDaRT 8.1 x64" media to service "Windows 7" or even "Windows 8.1 x86". In my experience, most of the functions of DaRT ( if not all ) can be implemented on SE projects with the help of freeware tools. I hope this thread will help beginners to create their own versions of "DaRT" or poor man's DaRT  :smile:.


 Here is a comparison i made between DaRT tools and SE alternatives, their advantages and disadvantages ( i will refer Win7PE_SE/Win8PE_SE/Win8.1SE simply as "SE" now on ).

DaRT tools which has better alternative available on SE


1. Explorer

The file explorer came with DaRT is pretty basic. With SE, we have full Windows explorer available with our boot disc. In addition to that, you can run "Explorer ++" , "Q Dir" or even the most popular "Total Commander". SE has clear upper hand on this.

Total Commander Plugin : http://yomi.cwcodes.net/Temp/Total%20Commander.Script

Total Commander vs Explorer comparison : http://blog.newtrics.com/?p=993
                                         


2. File search.

With SE we have built in Windows search. Additionally there is "Super Finder XT" and other alternatives available.




3. Locksmith.

"Locksmith" of DaRT can only unlock passwords if the offline OS is supported by the boot disc. That is you can't reset "Windows 7" user passwords by using DaRT 8.0.

With SE, we have "NTPwedit" which can unlock/reset local user accounts of any Windows OS - from XP to Win8.1.



http://cdslow.webhost.ru/en/ntpwedit/


4. Disk Commander.

This DaRT tool is used to backup/restore partition table and restore MBR.

SE has "Bootice" which can do all the above and plus more.

http://shishtpal.blogspot.in/2013/10/a-small-tutorial-for-bootice-users.html




5. Disk Wipe


Again "Bootice" has more powerful disk wiping functions than DaRT.




6. File Restore.

Add "Recuva" to your build. It is far better than DaRT file restore utility. Also add "TestDisk" which is the best tool on earth to recover lost partitions from both MBR/GPT disks.

http://pcsupport.about.com/od/filerecovery/gr/recuva-review.htm

http://www.cgsecurity.org/wiki/TestDisk_Step_By_Step

http://www.cgsecurity.org/wiki/PhotoRec_Step_By_Step


Recuva Script : http://gena.cwcodes.net/Projects/Gena/Apps/HD%20Tasks/File%20Undelete/Recuva.script

TestDisk 6.14 : http://gena.cwcodes.net/Projects/Gena/Apps/HD%20Tasks/Recover/TestDisk_PhotoRec.script


7. Registry Editor.

SE has "Runscanner" plugin created by "Paraglider" which can load offline OS registry automatically by simply clicking on a shortcut. Unlike DaRT Regedit which is OS and architecture dependent, "Remote Regedit" function of "Runscanner" works with all Windows versions. You will find "Runscanner" on "Apps\System Tools\Registry" in all SE projects.

            How to add "Remote Regedit" shortcut to Desktop
                 
                              ( Click to expand )

                  ila_rendered

When you double click on the shortcut, runscanner will load the offline OS Registry and open it with Windows default Registry editor "Regedit". You can edit any key and value just like on a full running OS. Simply close the Regedit tool when you are done.

If there are multiple Windows OS on the Host system, you will be prompted to select the root directory ( Windows ) of the OS which needed to be edited. On the other hand, DaRT will only auto load Registry of offline OS if it matches with the version and architecture of DaRT.

                 ila_rendered


8. Disk management.

Both SE and DaRT has fully functional "Disk Management". If you add "Partition Wizard" to your build, you can resize/move/convert partitions which is impossible with DaRT. Note that "Partition Wizard" is only free for home users.

How to move/resize a partition : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bvaka7AW78Y
 

"Partition Wizard free" script : http://theoven.org/index.php?topic=931.0

An alternative script is available as part of Gena package. It is also compatible with SE projects. Please check http://gena.cwcodes.net/Projects/Gena-Sweets/Apps/HD%20Tasks


9. Crash Analyzer

Add "Nirsoft BluScreenView" to SE and it is as much as good as DaRT's "Crash Analyzer". While the "Crash Analyzer" run WinDBG silently to find any third party driver which is present at the call stack at the time of crash ( requires internet access ), "BlueScreenView" can do the same without the help of MS debugging tools and an active internet connection. If SE is connected to net, you can optionally upload crash dump files to "OSR online crash analysis" site and view more  technical details about the crash.

OSR : http://www.osronline.com/page.cfm?name=analyze

BlueScreenView : http://www.nirsoft.net/utils/blue_screen_view.html




10. System Restore.

SE can be build with or without "Recovery Environment". If you need to add "System Restore" and other default recovery tools, enable it on "Build\Copy Files" script. Setting file copy to "Full" instead of "Standard" is highly recommended.

             ila_rendered


             ila_rendered

Please note that "System Restore" is OS and architecture specific so the version of PE and offline OS should match. For example, you can only restore "Windows 7 x86" using "Win7PE_SE x86".  This restrictions are also applicable to all PE based recovery discs including DaRT and WinRE (System Repair Disc ).


11. Defender

SE has better alternative AV scanners like "ESET online scanner" , "Kaspersky Virus Removal Tool" etc.

http://theoven.org/index.php?topic=523.0

http://theoven.org/index.php?topic=1048.0


12. Computer Management.


DaRT Computer Management can display offline OS startup entries, drivers and services. User can delete startup entries or modify the load behavior of drivers and services. Below are the alternative tools to these i have in my PE.

                    ( click to enlarge the attached screenshots )

   ServicesPE : Can be used to disable drivers or service entries of offline OS.

                                   ila_rendered

ServicesPE script : http://gena.cwcodes.net/Projects/Gena/Apps/System%20Tools/ServicesPE.script

   Autoruns : It has a function to analyze and list offline OS startup entries. More powerfull than DaRT.

       http://technet.microsoft.com/en-in/sysinternals/bb963902.aspx

                                 
                                  ila_rendered

  Nirsoft DevManView : Can display offline OS device manager and allow the user to disable any devices.

       http://www.nirsoft.net/utils/device_manager_view.html
   
                                  ila_rendered


DaRT tools which doesn't have GUI alternatives available in SE.


1. System File Checker.


DaRT has a nice GUI to run "System File Checker". With SE, we can still run SFC against the offline OS via command line. Note that offline SFC is OS and architecture dependent.

Example to run SFC against offline OS : sfc /scannow /offbootdir=d:\  /offwindir=d:\windows

http://www.winhelponline.com/blog/run-sfc-offline-windows-7-vista/


2. Hotfix uninstall

With a GUI interface, DaRT has an upper hand over SE in removing hotfixes of offline OS. However with SE, you can use command line tool DISM for the same functionality. While DaRT GUI is OS dependent, command line DISM is not architecture specific. You can use DISM from a x86 Win7PE against x64 Windows 7. Also Win8 DISM is backward compatible with Win7.

Example DISM command-line to display installed Hotfixes : dism /image:C:\ /get-packages

To remove a package/hotfix : dism /image:C:\ /remove-package/PackageName:Package_for_insert_exact_package_name_here

ie ; to remove hotfix KB2976897

dism /image:C:\ /remove-package/PackageName:Package_for_KB2976897~31bf3856ad364e35~amd64~~6.1.1.0

Tip: You can save complete list of packages installed on an offline OS to a text file by entering command similar to dism /image:C:\ /get-packages >"X:\Hotfixes.txt". Then it is easy to uninstall the hotfix by copy and paste it's full package name from the txt file.

It may be possible to create a nice GUI interface for these tools with "Autoit" or similar. I hope someone good at programming will help us.


DaRT remote recovery

Since i don't work on a corporate environment, i know very less about these feature. However i think "Remote Desktop" , "VNC Viewer" and "Ammy Admin" can be used as an alternative to DaRT remote recovery feature.

http://www.ammyy.com/en/

http://www.uvnc.com/






AmmyAdmin script : http://gena.cwcodes.net/Projects/Gena-Sweets/Apps/Network/Remote%20Connect/Ammyy%20Admin%20v3.Script

UltraVNC script : http://gena.cwcodes.net/Projects/Gena-Sweets/Apps/Network/Remote%20Connect/UltraVNC.script


Network Support

While DaRT discs are limited to use only wired networks, SE can connect to Wireless networks via "PENetwork". Also SE projects allow you to browse internet using either IE or Opera. Make sure to check "Apps\Network\Opera" plugin.


Q: Is it possible to build a PE disc which can run "System Restore" regardless of the offline OS version and architecture.

No. "System Restore" function of NT6 family uses shadow copies and MS never revealed any inner details about the process. Technically it is possible to mount the shadow copies from a PE and restore individual files. However we don't know which exact files are restored, which are omitted etc. Unless somebody reverse engineer the process, sadly we have to keep separate "System Repair" discs to run the restore operation. I would recommend building a main PE disc/USB ( either Win7PE_SE or Win8PE_SE ) which has all generic diagnostic and recovery tools. Then add "System Repair" disc of other operating systems to the BCD boot menu using either "Multi WIM" script or "BOOTICE". Use SE as the main repair/recovery environment and when you need to run "System Restore" or offline SFC, boot from the  "System Repair" disc matching to the offline OS.
« Last Edit: December 27, 2014, 06:42:33 PM by anshad »

Re: Make your own "DaRT" boot disc
« Reply #1 on: December 23, 2014, 04:35:37 AM »

wingers

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Thanks anshad - that is very useful  :smile:

Re: Make your own "DaRT" boot disc
« Reply #2 on: December 23, 2014, 04:52:55 AM »

wingers

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has anyone got an up-to-date script for BlueScreenView that I can use in Win8.1PE? only one I can find is in Gena but this is not latest version of BlueScreenView

Thank you

Re: Make your own "DaRT" boot disc
« Reply #3 on: December 23, 2014, 06:05:16 AM »

Atari800xl

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anshad, thank you very much for creating this topic, and for the very useful info.

DaRT has always been some kind of mystery to me, the mystery being "there must be something so very special about it, but I don't see it". Also, "why use that crummy and cumbersome system when we have Win8PESE?"

DaRT is just so extremely restricted, and SE is so extremely versatile.
Just a few things that come to mind: I like to [TAB] through folder names with TCCLE, using a nice large console font (by Uwe Sieber), in a personalized (large) blue command window, and use The Semware Editor with the same fonts. Everytime I'm forced to use any standard MS prompt, I feel like somebody put handcuffs on me (and not in a good way).

Of course, everybody can fill in their own favorite SE applications, but I just love WinNTSetup (with 'all' [updated] OS iso and wim files on a single USB), all my [updated] imagers (Acronis, Snapshot, Terabyte, Aomei, Macrium, Active@, Paragon, only 400mb alltogether!), XYPlorer (a file explorer that actually leaves room for file lists, imagine that!), Autohotkey (automate "anything"), etc. etc. It can basically do anything you throw at it. Quite wonderful, actually...
« Last Edit: December 23, 2014, 06:06:30 AM by Atari800xl »

Re: Make your own "DaRT" boot disc
« Reply #4 on: December 23, 2014, 06:30:52 AM »

anshad

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Quote
has anyone got an up-to-date script for BlueScreenView that I can use in Win8.1PE? only one I can find is in Gena but this is not latest version of BlueScreenView

It is extremely simple to create a plugin for standalone tools like "BlueScreenView" by using "Utils\PCPacked" plugin. Please check the attachment. By default, BluScreenView will analyze running operating system. Load the offline OS crash dump files by choosing "Options --> Advanced Options --> Load from the following Minidump folder".

If opera or IE is enabled in your build, you can even run an automatic Google query about the crash code by right clicking on the crash dump and select "Google search - bugcheck + driver".

ila_rendered
 
« Last Edit: December 23, 2014, 06:36:24 AM by anshad »

Re: Make your own "DaRT" boot disc
« Reply #5 on: December 23, 2014, 06:40:34 AM »

anshad

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Quote
Of course, everybody can fill in their own favorite SE applications, but I just love WinNTSetup (with 'all' [updated] OS iso and wim files on a single USB), all my [updated] imagers (Acronis, Snapshot, Terabyte, Aomei, Macrium, Active@, Paragon, only 400mb alltogether!), XYPlorer (a file explorer that actually leaves room for file lists, imagine that!), Autohotkey (automate "anything"), etc. etc. It can basically do anything you throw at it. Quite wonderful, actually...

I fully agree  :thumbsup:. Are you using Win8PE_SE or WIn8.1_SE for work ?.

Re: Make your own "DaRT" boot disc
« Reply #6 on: December 23, 2014, 06:55:04 AM »

Atari800xl

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Are you using Win8PE_SE or WIn8.1_SE for work ?.
I'm using Win8PESE (and Win7PESE). Win8PESE boots a bit better for me (Win7PESE has some timing issues sometimes, sometimes it requires a reboot, or a "refresh" of my Autohotkey script, to mount my Portable iso).
I like Win8PESE a bit better than 8.1SE, because it has a bit of more "normal" feel. Not sure how to explain it, but I think you know what I mean (taskbar, etc).
I have a separate "PE builder PC" (just an old p4-630 with all spare HD's I could find), that can build all projects quite quickly (extracted isos and wims).

Re: Make your own "DaRT" boot disc
« Reply #7 on: December 23, 2014, 06:58:02 AM »

ChrisR

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Wow, really great and helpful for all of us  :band:

Re: Make your own "DaRT" boot disc
« Reply #8 on: December 23, 2014, 09:43:36 AM »

Lancelot

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Great Thanks anshad,

Very good contribution   :ymca: :ymca:

I put these 2 to FAQ http://theoven.org/index.php?topic=834.0
Q: Dart Plugin ?
Q: SE and DaRT can coexist ?
« Last Edit: December 23, 2014, 09:44:06 AM by Lancelot »

Re: Make your own "DaRT" boot disc
« Reply #9 on: December 23, 2014, 09:46:45 AM »

Lancelot

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Hi wingers,

In addition,
 Gena BlueScreenView plugin have a download option (since this application was being updated frequently),
  and you can also update plugins of such portable applications by only attaching new one  :wink:

or as anshad indicated, PC Packed  :thumbsup:

:turtle:

Re: Make your own "DaRT" boot disc
« Reply #10 on: December 23, 2014, 09:47:55 AM »

Lancelot

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btw anshad,

let me know if you like to change things on FAQ , or things I forgot/miss to add ....

See You
:turtle:

Re: Make your own "DaRT" boot disc
« Reply #11 on: December 23, 2014, 10:42:20 AM »

wingers

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Quote
has anyone got an up-to-date script for BlueScreenView that I can use in Win8.1PE? only one I can find is in Gena but this is not latest version of BlueScreenView

It is extremely simple to create a plugin for standalone tools like "BlueScreenView" by using "Utils\PCPacked" plugin. Please check the attachment. By default, BluScreenView will analyze running operating system. Load the offline OS crash dump files by choosing "Options --> Advanced Options --> Load from the following Minidump folder".

If opera or IE is enabled in your build, you can even run an automatic Google query about the crash code by right clicking on the crash dump and select "Google search - bugcheck + driver".

(Attachment Link)
Thanks anshad

I notice you mention ntpwedit - I see the only existing script I can find is v0.4 (updated by ChrisR) - hopefully it can be updated again to the 0.5 version


Re: Make your own "DaRT" boot disc
« Reply #12 on: December 23, 2014, 10:55:14 AM »

Atari800xl

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Almost missed the new edits and pictures. Nice!!!

Re: Make your own "DaRT" boot disc
« Reply #13 on: December 23, 2014, 12:47:25 PM »

ChrisR

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Hi Wingers,

I notice you mention ntpwedit - I see the only existing script I can find is v0.4 (updated by ChrisR) - hopefully it can be updated again to the 0.5 version
You can find the plugin updated with ntpwedit v5 here: http://theoven.org/index.php?topic=1103.msg12775#msg12775


Re: Make your own "DaRT" boot disc
« Reply #14 on: December 23, 2014, 12:52:14 PM »

wingers

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Hi Wingers,

I notice you mention ntpwedit - I see the only existing script I can find is v0.4 (updated by ChrisR) - hopefully it can be updated again to the 0.5 version
You can find the plugin updated with ntpwedit v5 here: http://theoven.org/index.php?topic=1103.msg12775#msg12775
Thanks Chris

Re: Make your own "DaRT" boot disc
« Reply #15 on: December 23, 2014, 09:09:35 PM »

Lancelot

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you can optionally upload crash dump files to "OSR online crash analysis" site and view more  technical details about the crash.

OSR : http://www.osronline.com/page.cfm?name=analyze

Hi anshad,

this reminded me the Add_URL command which we forgot to add on macro library section and macro library interface,
 just added to ML home http://theoven.org/index.php?board=14  :thumbsup:
ex: Add,Url,StartMenu,Google.url,http://www.google.com

further, maybe on plugin (or gena plugin), you may consider adding link with bluescreen view shortcut
 :wink: :thumbsup:

:turtle:

Re: Make your own "DaRT" boot disc
« Reply #16 on: December 23, 2014, 10:25:46 PM »

anshad

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Thanks Lancelot. "Add_URL" was unknown to me  :smile:.

Re: Make your own "DaRT" boot disc
« Reply #17 on: December 24, 2014, 05:09:22 AM »

ChrisR

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I re looked again the 1st post with the embedded images, really good, it has indeed a good place in the Faq  :great:
Thanks anshad  :thumbsup:

Re: Make your own "DaRT" boot disc
« Reply #18 on: December 26, 2014, 08:38:35 AM »

JonF

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7. Registry Editor.

SE has "Runscanner" plugin created by "Paraglider" which can load remote registry. Unlike DaRT Regedit which is OS and architecture dependent, "Remote Regedit" function of "Runscanner" works with all Windows versions.
Works with all 32 bit versions.  Doesn't work with any 64 bit versions, and never will unless somebody donates Paraglider enough money to buy the tool.

Re: Make your own "DaRT" boot disc
« Reply #19 on: December 26, 2014, 09:28:48 AM »

ChrisR

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7. Registry Editor.

SE has "Runscanner" plugin created by "Paraglider" which can load remote registry. Unlike DaRT Regedit which is OS and architecture dependent, "Remote Regedit" function of "Runscanner" works with all Windows versions.
Works with all 32 bit versions.  Doesn't work with any 64 bit versions, and never will unless somebody donates Paraglider enough money to buy the tool.
Yep, indeed, but however, Runscanner can works with SysWOW64\regedit.exe on a 64 bits build.
On x64 build, Runscanner can be used  with 32 bit apps but not with 64 bit programs. The price it would take for a 64-bit version is really dissuasive  :wink:


 

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