Thursday, April 3, 2008

5118 Vista Recovery Environment ISO File

I've been prepping 5118 as well as 5119 and came a cross a great idea. How about creating a real startup failure and recovery process for the students in the lab instead of using the simulation.

Following things you will need to do for this:
1) create a copy of one of the lab machines (Vista-CL1-02 is as good as any)
2) capture your favourite PE, RE or Vista Insall ISO
3) delete a super important system file like the winload.exe
4) make sure to save the changes by merging the disks

Ok, Maybe step 2 is not as easy as it sounds. So here is some help along the way:
Vista PC Guy has a nice article on creating PE images, where he also talks about creating bootable USB versions.
But we want a recovery image and not a PE image. More importantly we need the Startup Recovery tools "srt" loaded at startup. This is what you do:

1) Follow PC Guy's teps 1 thru to 8 to create a clean winpe image. Or use the one you extracted out of the 5119 course iso file using WinRar or PowerISO or IsoBuster or whatever ISO app you like.

2) Add the RE tools to the image by using the BuildWinRE tool located in the "C:\Program Files\Windows AIK\Recovery" folder. Remember to use the WinPE Command Prompt instead of the standard one to have all paths properly loaded. It is as simple as defining the source and destination. In my case (having created the pe folder myself using AIK) it looked like this:

C:\Program Files\Windows AIK\Recovery>BuildWinRE /source "C:\winpe_86\ISO\sources\boot.wim" /target "C:\winpe_recovery\ISO\sources\boot.wim"

3) final step is to take this RE image and make a bootable ISO file using oscdimg:

C:\Program Files\Windows AIK\Tools\PETools>oscdimg -lVistaRecovery -b"C:\Program Files\Windows AIK\Tools\PETools\x86\boot\" -n -h c:\winpe_recovery\iso winrecovery.iso

Important here is to remember to reference the, otherwise the iso won't start at bootup.

That's all, now you can start up your virtual machine using the recovery console, start the command prompt, and kill c:\windows\system32\winload.exe and then close the machine commiting changes.
The next time your student will start up that machine he/she'll see a wonderful error message and can boot into the recovery console and choose to repair the system following the steps outlined in the coursebook and simulation. No need for ten Vista Installation CDs!

By the way, it is a great iso file to burn to CD and use as Desktop Support Engineer to troubleshoot users computers.

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