In this article we will look at 5 ways to create bootable recovery disks in Windows PE environment, which will save your personal system and help you recover it, if and when needed.
Every Windows user must have at least one system rescue disk. A Windows bootable recovery disk is an operating environment that can be started at boot, that is, it can create a new operating system, unrelated to your normal (supposedly corrupted). The new environment usually has a handy set of tools that you can use to fix Windows or at least diagnose the issue.
Many Windows rescue disks use a Linux environment. However, there are recovery discs that use the Windows Preinstallation (PE) environment. A Windows PE rescue disk has a Windows-friendly interface, great hardware support, and the software you need to fix your system
What is Windows PE?
Windows PE (Preinstallation Environment) is a lightweight version of Windows 10. You can use Windows PE to install, test, and repair a complete installation of Windows 10. A Windows PE recovery disc will work with all versions of Windows 10: Home, Pro, Education, Enterprise and so on.
Η basic version of Windows PE supports all Windows applications, drivers, networking tools, partitioning and disk management, contains computer management tools, Hyper-V and more. Windows PE-based recovery discs enhance this feature, adding in tons of free and open source tools you can use to recover, restore, and analyze the problematic installation of Windows 10. Let's look at 5 of them.
1. Hiren BootCD PE
Hiren BootCD is a legendary Windows rescue disk. This is a bootable rescue disk, packed with tools to help you recover from drive failures, malware, password recovery, account management, and more.
Hiren's original BootCD was in a Linux environment. However, it has stopped receiving updates since 2012. However, Hiren's BootCD has been updated as a rescue disk in Windows PE environment in 2018. It has many open source and free recovery tools, all within a familiar Windows 10 environment. full list of tools here.
Download: Hiren BootCD PE for Windows (free)
2. Bob.Omb's Modified Win10PEx64
Bob.Omb's Modified Win10PEx64 is a modified Windows pre-installation environment. It has a long list of recovery and analysis tools such as Malwarebytes Antimalware, EaseUS Data Recovery, FileZilla, Rufus and many more.
Unlike some other Windows 10 PE rescue disks, Bob.Omb also includes several ransomware decoders. Ransomware decryptors can detect your ransomware system, remove them, and restore your encrypted files. However, they only work with certain types of ransomware, so do not attempt to use them on older types of ransomware. It may aggravate the infection or increase the ransom.
Download: Bob.Omb's Win10PEx64 for Windows (free)
3. Kyhi Drive Recovery
Kyhi Recovery Drive, also known as the huge Windows 10 Recovery Tools — Bootable PE Rescue Disk, is a custom Windows 10 PE environment. In this case, Kyhi has developed a Windows 10 PE environment full of system recovery and recovery tools.
The Kyhi recovery drive has a significant number of tools for malware removal, disk sharing and repair, management tools, VNC tools, backup and more.
The Kyhi developer stopped issuing pre-formatted ISO recovery discs. But you can download the original version 2017 below.
Download: Kyhi Drive Recovery for Windows (free)
Update 11/2021: Unfortunately Kyhi Drive Recovery is no longer available.
4. Windows 10PE x64 by Gandalf
The official build name is "Windows 10PE x64 Redstone 5 Build 17763 Version 04-30-2019". Gandalf Windows 10PE Recovery Disk has hundreds of tools you can use to rescue your system in times of need.
As for the Windows PE-based recovery disc, Gandalf has definitely packed everything, as it comes with about 200 tools.
These programs include disk recovery tools, network analysis applications, hardware and software diagnostic tools, backup programs, malware and firewalls, and more. Gandalf Windows 10PE x64 receives an update every few months, which means it contains all the latest recovery tools and applications.
Download: Gandalf Windows 10PE x64 for Windows (free)
5. WinPE by Sergei Streclec
Sergei Streclec WinPE is a Windows-based rescue disk. WinPE has a decent range of recovery tools, network analysis applications, backup utilities, archiving tools, password managers, and more.
A nice feature in Sergei Streclec's WinPE is the organization. All tools are organized into easy-to-use categories, which means you will find what you are looking for right away.
Note that the password is "strelec". You need the password to unlock the recovery tools!
Download: WinPE for Windows (free)
Create a boot disk for Windows
The name "recovery disc" or "recovery disc" is a slightly incorrect name. Initially, recovery discs were exactly as they were called: bootable LiveCD. Today, you can create Windows recovery discs from a USB flash drive.
There are many tools that can help you make a bootable USB flash drive. We used to have presented by Rufus. Download the tool and just follow its instructions to burn the ISO to the USB flash drive.
When you want to run a Windows PE-based recovery disc, shut down the computer, connect the USB flash drive to your computer, and boot from the USB drive.
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Here you have to intervene in the Bios of your system to tell it to "read" at boot, first of all USB.
What is the best recovery disc based on Windows PE?
As always, the best Windows rescue disk is the one that has the tool to fix your problem. The Windows PE-based recovery discs we covered in this article contain a wide range of recovery and analysis tools. If there is a specific tool you need in the above 5 cases, just download the relevant recovery disc.
Most of the time, it is best to have already copied a Windows PE-based recovery disc to a USB flash drive. That way, when an issue arises, you are ready to intervene. Remember, you do not need to cling to one. Try them all, one at a time, until your problem is solved.