BartPE I was quite surprised when I checked the 4sysops list of free admin tools lately and found that BartPE is still not listed. BartPE's PE Builder allows you to create a bootable Windows PE CD that contains various useful repair tools (file manager, disk management, check disk, etc.). BartPE is a great utility if you have to repair a non-bootable Windows installation or if you want to get access to the operating system while it is offline.

bartpe-pebuilder The BartPE download doesn't come with Windows PE. You will need a Windows XP or Windows Server 2003 CD to create BartPE. The PE Builder is a very simple tool: you only have to tell it the path to the Windows installation files, folders or files you want to include, and the output directory for the ISO file. It is also possible to burn the BartPE CD with the PE Builder.

bartpe-pebuilder-plugins The files you include will be in the root directory of the Windows PE CD. You can use this feature to add your favorite tools to your rescue CD. Most standalone tools also run under Windows PE. BartPE is delivered with some useful utilities that are added as plugins. There are quite a few third-party publishers that offer plugins for BartPE. Some of the plugins that come with BartPE are not enabled by default, but you can change that with the PE Builder before you create the CD. When you boot up BartPE, you will be asked if you would like to enable network support. Network access can be useful if you want to access additional tools or files from a network share.


Unfortunately, the project seems to be dead. The last update was released in February 2006. The PE Builder runs on Vista, but you can't create a Vista-based BartPE CD. I haven't used BartPE for quite some time now because I usually work with Microsoft's ERD Commander if I have to repair a non-bootable Windows installation.

It was interesting to see that the XP-based Windows PE has quite a few problems in a modern environment. Even though I used a Windows XP SP3 source to create the BartPE CD, Windows PE crashed with a bluescreen on my Dell Precision M6400 laptop. I guess I could have made it work by integrating the latest Dell drivers, but I think this case shows that it is more likely now to run into hardware compatibility issues with Windows XP than with Vista.

BartPE ^

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14 Comments
  1. Claus Valca 11 years ago

    Greetings Michael,

    I used BartPE for quite a long time. However it seemed to have stalled in the development for quite some time. I never had any BartPE building issues and made many of them, but the Win PE 1.0 license was very restrictive; each PE build was tied to a single XP license.

    I then jumped over to VistaPE project which is based on the Win PE 2.0 (Vista). Like BartPE, it can take a while to get the "cooking" method for building down. Once you do, it is awesomely slick. And there are none of the Microsoft licensing restrictions like under 1.0. While you can do an expanded build if you have acces to a Vista DVD, you can just as easily use the WAIK's to build a very reliable and flexible VistaPE build.

    Driver support (with a few USB device exceptions) is very good; particularly for newer systems.

    It is really cool and I haven't missed BartPE since.

    I've even cobbled together a very successful build of Win PE 3.0 using the Windows 7 WAIK with some VistaPE foundational stuff. Super-slick! It's highly addictive once you get the hang of it.

    VistaPE
    http://vistape.net/

    I've done some VistaPE building guides on my blog, but a web-search will uncover a very large selection of others as well.

    Yep, VistaPE all the way and haven't looked back to the tired Win PE 1.0 since. (And I agree with you, the few times I've reached for my ERD Commander disk it either BSOD's the newer systems or it just cludges along.)

    That said, credit still belongs with Bart for his groundbreaking work in BartPE.

    Cheers!

    Claus V.

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  2. MarkG 11 years ago

    While BARTPE is no longer being supported, Ultimate Boot CD 4 Windows uses BARTPE as its base (the UBCD4Win developer licensed BART's technology). From the website: UBCD4Win is a bootable recovery CD that contains software used for repairing, restoring, or diagnosing almost any computer problem. I especially like the anti-spyware/virus tools. You build the disk from the latest XP CD you have. I use XP Service Pack 3 so I don't run into driver issues. It also automatically includes a large selection of wired Ethernet drivers and you can add a selection of wireless drivers too.

    http://ubcd4win.com/

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  3. Fred 11 years ago

    We've been using Bart's for years.. and still are. However, I'm happy to report that I brought in a consultant last week who sat down with me and untangled the MDT, WAIK, WDS knots. We're now capable of booting to the network and restoring images via these tools. It's an exciting process to explore and I'm not embarrassed about my earlier confusion (there are a lot of moving parts in there).

    Feels like I have caught up and I'm ready to tackle Windows 7 deployment with powertools! Horay!

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  4. Richard Niemeier 11 years ago

    Yes, Bart PE is the grandfather of free boot cd's with a GUI. I would say thank you. I too preferrer the UBCD4WIN but am also aware that many other similiar versions and communities have sprung out of the intitial Bart PE.
    Some of the best places to get a look at all the different types is
    http://www.boot-land.net
    http://www.911cd.net/forums/
    http://www.ubcd4win.com

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  5. Thanks a lot for these very useful comments. I probably will check out some of the other tools mentioned.

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  6. al duke 11 years ago

    Can anyone tell me how to repair windows with this tool. I have new mobo, cpu and gpu but just one ide and i cant use hd and cdrom at the same time so im trying to boot and repair from usb flash. I booted with bartpe, but it doesnt give me an option to reapir or install windows, just some basic stuff. Tnx

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  7. Derek Perkins 11 years ago

    Claus - Would you be willing to share your version of the Windows 7 disk?

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  8. Lancelot 11 years ago

    Since I cant find anything about LiveXP on 4sysops I feel I need to write sth and best place seems to me here :).

    LiveXP is the most flexible explorer based PE 1x project.
    It is quite alive 🙂 (for now last update 3 days ago).
    You can use xpsp2, xpsp3, 2k3sp1, 2k3sp2 source cds to build. Try with your language source cd (ex: xpspX.German), You will get surprised to see how things well organised for multilanguage source support :).

    Besides main goal of being easy to use RescueCD, with the existant optionality, LiveXP can be used as a multimedia, virus fighter,.... PE too :). There are various options.
    A complete LiveXP build Create an ISO file (for now) with 247MB size which have many free and helpful utilities that suits the main goal. Rest of the freespace on cd/dvd.... can be used with enableing existant scripts (some requires users providing commercial applications with license), or other scripts available on net.

    There are too many things to write about LiveXP. One should join the adventure and see why LiveXP is the most flexible and easy to use project :).

    For basic usage just download, extract it to a folder, doubleclick winbuilder.exe and click BigBlue Play button.

    Here is LiveXP page,
    You can download a packed file here:
    http://winbuilder.net/download.php?view.35
    (updated today)

    Here is LiveXP topic,
    http://www.boot-land.net/forums/index.php?showforum=52

    Here is boot-land tutorial section which also includes valuable tutorials about LiveXP
    http://www.boot-land.net/forums/index.php?showforum=31
    ex:
    Amalux's great LiveXP-Bootsdi Tutorial:
    http://www.boot-land.net/forums/index.php?showtopic=4111
    How to get complete LiveXP Tutorial:
    http://www.boot-land.net/forums/index.php?showtopic=6910

    Hoping to see a blog for LiveXP on 4sysops soon. Keep good work.

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  9. kanhaiya 10 years ago

    bart pe is the very good way to restore windows

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  10. joe 10 years ago

    I am using BartPE to make images of Windows 7 machines, everything works just fine. Simply make sure you have all the proper drivers for the machines you image. I am using Ghost 8 and I've not had any problems, so far. Working ion a new method but this works so far.

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  11. William Hairston 10 years ago

    Hello Joe,

    Are you saying that you use BartPE to make a windows 7 bootable CD/DVD or you use a BartPE bootable XP CD/DVD to backup a Windows 7 system.

    I was hoping I could find someone that have use BartPE to make a windows 7 bootable CD/DVD and could tell me how did they get it to do it and create it.

    William Hairston

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  12. joe 10 years ago

    I use BartPe to create backup ghost images that I use to deploy to other machines. I use this tool located here http://store.microsoft.com/help/iso-tool to make dvd images of the Windows7 disk to be put on USB as well.

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  13. Adriana 9 years ago

    Hi Guys...
    We use a pe usb boot tool, to fix users with boot issues, remotely and on site. However, I just realized we cannot make a bootable usb tool when a user has vista or win7 on their home computer. It seems the system files the boot tool has is not compatible with the newer os. If you have an image of a win7 boot stick is it just to deploy win7? or can you use it like a bart pe ?
    I read online that the win7 disk has a boot folder that allows you to make a bootable cd or usb but, then when I try to put our pe image on it. it won't boot.. I suspect the bootsect.bin file or other os files are not compatible.. would appreciate your comments...

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