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For someone looking after a small 50 Windows PC network (Mainly XP - some Vista), what is a good set of recovery tools that can put installed on a USB drive (or perhaps CD?) to enable us to troubleshoot / recover / reboot troublesome PC's?

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closed as off topic by Sam Jan 18 '12 at 21:17

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4 Answers

The biggie for me is SpinRite from Steve Gibson (grc.com). Saved many an ailing disk drive with it.

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How homogeneous is the setup? If you've got a lot of identical hardware, having a generic disk image goes a long way...

Also one or more of the following:

  • UBCD and/or UBCD for Windows (a.k.a. UBCD4Win)
  • SpinRite
  • the aforementioned disk image
  • Some sort of PE-type disk (i.e. BartPE)

These are some of the biggies. UBCD4Win and BartPE can be configured to have all sorts of stuff like a good anti-virus program, CCleaner, etc. Alternately you could have a USB drive with something like ClamWin portable, CCleaner, and other portable utilities.

I recently came across Avira AntiVir Rescue System. I don't know how good it is yet, but it may be worth looking at.

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I've made some suggestions on another answer:

  • DOS boot with CDROM
  • Small BartPE with Ghost - run Win32 applications to test the computer, and transfer files off a dying harddisk with NTFS
  • memtest86 - test RAM
  • Offline NT Password Recovery boot - clear local administrator password when lost
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The entire SysInternals suite has saved me multiple times. memtest is also brilliant as is spinrite.

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