Abstract: The purpose of this article is to document the creation and subsequent implementation of a self-contained environment with the intent to recover an otherwise unbootable Thinkpad. The Preloaded Environment is based off a barebones copy of Windows XP generated by a host system beforehand, much in the same way a backup of a system would be made. Also documented is a way to extract system files from an unbootable drive mounted on another system and use those files to boot the hitherto unbootable system.
Step-by-step procedures are as follows:
1.) Download BartPE
2.) Install or extract BartPE to your primary HDD and prepare a USB flash-based drive as the media with a minimum capacity of 256MB.
3.) Download this entire directory and all its contents
and place it in the PEBuilder working directory next to the executables.
4.) Execute the PEBuilder.exe application; select the source destination for your files (See Alternative, Method 2), write the image to the default BartPE directory but do not burn an *.iso.
5.) Open a command line to the working directory of the PE builder and execute the follwing command line
pe2usb -f <FLASH DRIVE LETTER>:
6.) Monitor the progress of the imaging process until it has been completed.
7.) Proceed to the UFD-BOOT Section of this article.
Alternative; Method 2:
1.) Assuming you have performed steps 1-4, not including 4 which this current step replaces, you are now about to extract system files off an otherwise unbootable HDD (note that this HDD must have Windows XP on it). First, mount the HDD via USB, Ultrabay, or PC Card such that it is recognized by Windows PnP and assigned a drive letter via a form of DLA
2.) Start pebuilder.exe. In the "Source" field, replace "c:" with the drive letter that you wish to recover the system files from. Then proceed as you would in Method 1 through steps 5 to 7.
3.) Proceed to the UFD-BOOT section of this article.
UFD-BOOT is to be performed as follows;
1.) Plug the USB flash device in a USB port on your system whilst the system is off.
2.) Boot the system, making sure that the USB flash device is firmly connected and its activity light, if present, is on and functioning.
3.) Enter the BIOS and change the boot order of the devices; you should see present an entry for "USB Floppy" or similar and a sub entry for a USB mass storage device. Move this to the first boot device just in front of the system's HDD, which should now be second.
4.) Restart and examine the boot process; if all went as planned, you should be in the BartPE environment customized for a Thinkpad.
As a note, this can be done with most systems; the thing with the Thinkpads, however, is that the Windows XP preload is a heavily modified OEM version of Windows. At some point during the making of the PE image, you may have noticed a Warning that was generated once an OEM copy of windows is detected. It is important that you make sure the i386 has the correct drivers and system files that pertain to that system. Hence, the implementation of Method 2 for special systems where certain drivers are required by Windows XP to boot. It isn't recommended to load an off-the-shelf copy of Windows XP onto the PE UFD in this manner as it can cause unexpected results during booting. It is always best to stick with the Thinkpad i386 folder and related system files/drivers.