Replace default Windows 7, Windows Server 2008 R2 Recovery Environment (RE) in DaRT

This guide describes how to replace default Windows Recovery Environment (RE) with a Diagnostic and Recovery Toolset version 6.5 (or DaRT, earlier known as Winternals ERD Commander). In order to replace Windows RE boot image with DaRT you'll need to use account with admin privileges. It's recommended to replace default Windows RE within DaRT for […]

This guide describes how to replace default Windows Recovery Environment (RE) with a Diagnostic and Recovery Toolset version 6.5 (or DaRT, earlier known as Winternals ERD Commander). In order to replace Windows RE boot image with DaRT you'll need to use account with admin privileges. It's recommended to replace default Windows RE within DaRT for getting wide local troubleshooting toolset such as LockSmith for passwords reset, restoration utility, etc. Now follows these steps:

Preparing field:

  1. Open Windows Explorer, click with Alt and choose Folder Options from Tools menu
  2. Choose Show hidden files, folders and drives and deselect Hide protected OS files (Recommended) and Hide extensions for known file types
  3. Then click OK
  4. Open C:\ Drive, right-click Recovery folder. Choose Properties from menu
  5. Select Security tab, and click on Edit
  6. On new windows, click on Add and find you user account, then click on OK
  7. Assign Allow: Full Control permissions for specific account and click OK. Now, as you can see C:\Recovery folder’s accessible to your user account. At C:\Recovery\<UID> you'll find Winre.wim image file. This’s Windows RE image that’ve been loaded every time you're choosing to repair your computer from F8 startup menu.

Creating ERD Commander ISO Image

  1. Install DaRT 6.5 from Microsoft Desktop Optimization Pack 2009 R2
  2. Open ERD Commander Boot Media Wizard from Windows menu and create ERD ISO image:
    1. On welcome screen click Next
    2. Insert and navigate to Windows 7/Server 2008 R2 media and click Next
    3. On Preparing files screen click on Next
    4. Select or exclude tools that’ll be included in your ERD image and click on Next
    5. Locate Windows Debugging tools and click on Next
    6. Choose if you want to update your ERD's system sweeper and click on Next
    7. If you want to add additional drivers, click on Add. Then click on Next
    8. On Additional Files click on Next. Note: You can add useful applications and files to your ERD ISO image such as disk imaging utility, corporate antivirus, etc.
    9. To create ISO image click on Next
    10. To burn ISO into a media set the wizard to your media burner. Click on Next to proceed
    11. Click on Finish
  3. On ISO navigate to Sources directory; inside X:\Sources (when X: is CD driver letter) you'll find boot.wim image
  4. Copy boot.wim into C:\Recovery\<UID>\ and change file name to Winre.wim. Note: It's recommended to rename original Winre.wim file name to Winre.wim.old or delete it from C:\Recovery directory. Next time you'll restart your computer and choose Repair your computer you'll notice that DaRT has been added to Windows RE menu (and there's also network support at start of Windows RE). Note: deploy Windows 7/Server 2008 R2 with a built-in DaRT recovery environment support. Note that you’ll need an active Software Assurance (SA) license to each OS that deployed with DaRT.