Enhancing your Windows troubleshooting

If you have ever picked up a copy of Microsoft’s Desktop Optimization Pack, there is an interesting tool called DART (Diagnostics and Recovery Toolkit).

In DART you have various tools that when you boot off the DVD or USB drive you create from it you can access various tools such as start-up diagnostics when the system doesn’t start up, system restore (when you can’t boot into the system) or to remove a troubling hotfix.

One thing that is not mentioned often is the enhanced recovery environment. Yes, you do get one since Windows Vista, but the one part of DART has additional tools.

The recovery environment is stored in the file WINRE.WIM, which is found in the folder C:\Recovery\{GUID}. This folder is hidden and protected by default, so you’ll need to enable show hidden files, folders and drives and then disable the option to hide protected operating system files in Windows Explorer’s folder options. (Newer versions may have additional folders to access.)

You’ll now see the Recovery folder at the root of the system drive (usually drive C), but you won’t have permission to navigate its contents. Select the properties of the folder and edit its security. Give your own account full control and click on the OK button. Make sure all sub-folders are also included in the change.

Note: How to do this and the number of additional prompts and questions vary between Windows versions.

You can now navigate inside the folder, rename the WINRE.WIM to WINRE_OLD.WIM (or another name).

Go to the appropriate DART disc and copy BOOT.WIM from the Sources folder on the disc into the WINRE.WIM folder in the previous step and rename BOOT.WIM to WINRE.WIM.

Note: You must copy over the right BOOT.WIM file. For example, same architecture (32-bit or 64-bit) as the Windows’ operating system as well as the same Windows version (you can’t use the Windows 7 DART on a Windows 8.1 system).

Now when you select to repair your computer, the recovery environment will have DART built-in.

Note: You don’t have to return the security back the way it was but you probably should hide the system files and folders.

Unfortunately Microsoft’s Desktop Optimization Toolkit is available for companies with software assurance. It is not available for sale on its own. TechNet Plus subscribers had access but that program is finished.

Note: As usual, use at your own risk.

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About ebraiter
computer guy

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