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
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 SE1. 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.html5. 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.htmhttp://www.cgsecurity.org/wiki/TestDisk_Step_By_Stephttp://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.script7. 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
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. 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%20Tasks9. 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.html10. 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.
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=523.0http://theoven.org/index.php?topic=1048.012. 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.
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 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 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:\windowshttp://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 KB2976897dism /image:C:\ /remove-package/PackageName:Package_for_KB2976897~31bf3856ad364e35~amd64~~188.8.131.52Tip:
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.ScriptUltraVNC
script : http://gena.cwcodes.net/Projects/Gena-Sweets/Apps/Network/Remote%20Connect/UltraVNC.scriptNetwork 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.