- ERD Commander 2002
Since the release of Windows 2000, Microsoft has significantly enhanced and improved
the built-in system-reliability tools. In Windows XP and Windows Server 2003, these
tools have been improved one step further. However, if your job is to support and
maintain Windows NT/2000, Windows XP, and Windows Server 2003 installations,
including performing emergency recovery for damaged systems, you may wonder why
Microsoft didn't include such functions as booting DOS disks to recover damaged
Windows 2000/XP or Windows Server 2003 installations. After all, Recovery Console is
a great tool, but it is still somewhat limited. Furthermore, there may be situations in
which you will have difficulties starting it.
If you are missing the ease of booting ERD to recover damaged Windows NT/2000/XP
or Windows Server 2003 installations, you should turn your attention to ERD
Commander 2002. It is an ideal utility for system administrators, allowing them to fix
nearly all of the problems that prevent Windows NT/2000/XP or Windows Server 2003
To install and use ERD Commander 2002, you'll need to satisfy the following
Target system must be equipped with a bootable CD-ROM device and run one of
the following operating systems: Windows NT 4.0 with Service Pack 4 or later,
Windows 2000, or Windows XP.
Note You can also use ERD Commander 2002 on Windows NT 4.0 systems that
do not have SP 4. However, since ERD Commander 2002 needs to update
NTFS volumes to a version that requires the NTFS driver from SP 4 or
higher, it will prompt you to perform such an update. Although the current
version of this product (v.3.0) is officially supported with Windows
NT/2000/XP, it also works fine with Windows Server 2003.
Regardless of the operating system used on the target system, ERD Commander
2002 has the following hardware requirements: at least 64 MB RAM and x86 233
Mhz or equivalent processor.
ERD Commander 2002 software.
Note To obtain ERD Commander 2002, visit visit the
http://www.winternals.com/trynow to order this product on a bootable CD or
download a Boot CD-ROM Wizard executable, which you can use to create
a bootable CD-ROM ISO image.
- To run the ERD Commander 2002 Boot CD-ROM Wizard, you will need the following:
A computer running Windows 9x/ME, Windows NT, Windows 2000, or Windows
XP, and equipped with a CD-RW drive. CD-ROM burning software capable of
creating a bootable CD from an ISO image must be installed in that system.
A blank CD-R or CD-RW disk.
After you start the ERD Commander 2002 Boot CD-ROM Wizard, it will display a
traditional Welcome screen (Fig. 14.8), and then prompt you to accept the license
agreement, and, finally, to specify an optional password for your rescue CD-ROM, in
order to assure that only authorized users can access your systems (Fig. 14.9).
Figure 14.8: Welcome screen of the ERD Commander 2002 Setup program
Figure 14.9: The Password Protection screen of the ERD Commander 2002 Boot CD-
After you carry out these basic steps, ERD Commander 2002 Boot CD-ROM Wizard
extracts all files required to build a bootable CD image (Fig. 14.10). Note that the newest
release of this program doesn't require the distribution CD for this purpose (in contrast to
the previous version, ERD Commander 2000, which did). After this operation is
- completed, the Wizard will provide you with the option to include OEM drivers for SCSI
devices that Windows XP doesn't support automatically. Finally, the Wizard will provide
you with the option of including additional files in the bootable CD image (Fig. 14.11).
Figure 14.10: ERD Commander 2002 Boot CD-ROM Wizard extracts files needed to
build the bootable CD image
Figure 14.11: The Additional Files dialog of the ERD Commander 2002 Boot CD-ROM
At the final interactive step, the Boot CD-ROM Wizard will prompt you to specify the
destination directory where it will store the generated ISO image (Fig. 14.12). The image
usually requires approximately 180 MB of disk storage space (though it will be more, if
you choose to include additional files). Since most popular CD-ROM-burning software
requires ISO images to have the ISO filename extension, the Boot CD-ROM Wizard also
requires that extension.
- Figure 14.12: The final interactive step of the Boot CD-ROM Wizard
After you carry out all of the steps, click Next, and the wizard will create the bootable
CD image. When the Boot CD image has been successfully created, you will need to use
your regular CD-ROM-burning software to create an ERD Commander 2002 bootable
CD, which you will be able to use when repairing and recovering your damaged systems.
To perform recovery procedures if your Windows NT-based system cannot start, proceed
1. Insert the ERD Commander 2002 bootable CD into the CD-ROM drive on the
target system and reboot the computer. When the message prompting you to press
any key to boot from CD appears, press any key, and ERD Commander 2002 will
start booting. Once the ERD Commander 2002 boots, it will load a stripped
version of Windows XP (Fig. 14.16). Note that, at this stage, it verifies NTFS
compatiblity, as shown on the screenshot in Fig. 14.13. As was mentioned earlier,
if your target system runs Windows NT 4.0 without SP 4, ERD Commander 2002
will prompt you to update your NTFS volumes.
- Figure 14.13: ERD Commander 2002 loads a stripped version of Windows XP
Note ERD Commander 2002 can access any Windows NT/2000/XP file system,
including FAT, FAT32, NTFS, and CDFS. It will also provide you access to
the drives of Windows 9x/ME systems (although most of its administrative
tools will not function when accessing installations of those operating
systems). Also note that ERD Commander 2002 is not intended to solve the
problems caused by disk corruption and, therefore, only disks that are
consistent enough to be recognized by Windows NT/2000/XP will be
accessible. Thus, if your problem is caused by disk corruption, it is
recommended that you use other utilities, for example, Disk Commander
(also product of Winternals Software).
2. After the stripped Windows XP version loads, ERD Commander 2002 will detect
the existing installations (Fig. 14.14). You will likely immediately notice that this
function is similar to that of Recovery Console. However, it provides additional
capabilities, as well as standard windowing GUI. And, as was already mentioned,
although it is officially designed for Windows NT/2000/XP, it also detects
Windows Server 2003 installations and works just fine with them.
- Figure 14.14: ERD Commander 2002 prompts to specify the installation that you
wish to repair
3. After you choose the damaged installation that you need to repair, ERD
Commander 2002 will provide you with a comprehensive set of tools for repairing
the damaged system (Fig. 14.15). However, it is important to be aware of the fact
that, although it looks similar, this GUI is not the same as the Windows XP code.
For example, it is not designed as a general-purpose OS (doing so would be a
violation of the end-user license agreement). The environment is designed in such
a way as to reboot automatically after 24 hours of continuous usage. Also, do not
remove the ERD Commander 2002 CD from the CD-ROM drive while ERD
Commander 2002 is running, since doing so will lock-up the environment and
make a reboot necessary.
- Figure 14.15: ERD Commander provides a comprehensive set of tools for
repairing damaged installations of all Windows NT-based systems
A brief glance at the screenshot shown in Fig. 14.15 confirms that the set of capabilities
provided by ERD Commander 2002 would impress even those individuals with the
wildest of imaginations.
ERD Commander's built-in tools allow you to perform the following tasks:
Removing or replacing incomatible device drivers.
Updating obsolete system files.
Correcting misconfigured NTFS security.
Updating Locked Files.
Correcting Registry Problems. As outlined throughout this book, a significant
number of boot problems are caused by improperly configured registry values.
The built-in Registry Editor included with ERD Commander 2002 (Fig. 14.16) has
all the capabilities and even the same interface as Windows NT/2000/XP
- Figure 14.16: ERD Commander 2002 provides Registry Editor with the same user
interface and the same capabilities and the Windows NT/2000/XP Regedit.exe
Rescuing critically important data from a failed system. Beside the possibility to
copy data to removable media, ERD Commander 2002 provides network
capabilities, which allow you to copy the data to another system on your network.
Regaining access to the system from which you have been locked out. Have you
(or your users) ever forgotten passwords? Or have you ever encountered a
situation where you had to administer computers running Windows NT-based
operating systems for which you don't know the Administrator password because
one of the company's employees has left suddenly? If so, you will appreciate the
Locksmith Wizard tool included with ERD Commander 2002 (Fig. 14.17), which
provides an easy way of listing all local accounts for a system running Windows
NT/2000/XP or Windows Server 2003, and change the password for any of these
accounts, including Administrator.
Figure 14.17: Locksmith Wizard tool included with ERD Commander 2002
provides the easiest way of changing the password for any user account
- Note Of course, this method of resetting forgotten passwords is not the only one.
For example, Windows XP includes a built-in function for resetting forgotten
passwords by means of using the password-reset diskette (the procedures are
slightly different for Windows XP Professional workstations that are not
members of a domain and Windows XP Professional workstations that are
joined to a domain). There are other methods of resetting passwords for
practically every Windows NT-based operating system, such as replacing
SAM, using the system shedule (AT) service, using password-cracking
utilities (such as L0phtcrack, which was briefly covered in Chapter 9) and so
on. There are also many freeware utilities on the Internet (to download one
of them, visit http://home.eunet.no/~pnordahl/ntpasswd/). The method
provided by ERD Commander 2002, however, is the easiest, and has the
fewest limitations. Just one final note about ERD Commander 2002 boot
CD—store it in a safe place, and remember that there is no security except
Viewing the Event Logs—ERD Commander 2002 includes the Event Log Viewer
tool with the same interface as the Event Log Viewer MMC snap-in. This is a
significant advantage over the Recovery Console, since Event Log records often
contain valuable clues that will be helpful in detecting the cause of particular
Very powerful recovery capabilities, providing you with access to fault-tolerant
drives (including mirror sets, volume sets, and striped sets). And, of course, you
can run Chkdsk.exe uitility on corrupt drives.
Enabling and Disabling Services and Drivers.