A. ERD Commander is a fantastic tool by http://www.winternals.com which gives access to NT systems by booting off modified Windows NT setup disks which allows access to not only the file system but also the registry and many other items to enable you to recover an unbootable NT system. It also gives access to removable media allowing you to replace corrupted system files, something you otherwise can't do without a second NT installation on the machine. The professional version also allows you to change passwords from outside of NT!

Its now possible to create a bootable CD-ROM containing ERD Commander which allows you to just insert the CD-ROM, reboot and you have an ERD Commander session.

A full procedure can be downloaded here, BOOTABLEERD.doc, however below are the steps I used and have included some additional files to make it easier for you.

  1. Install ERD Commander/Professional as usual which creates a number of startup disks based on the NT installation diskettes (3 for Commander, 4 for Professional)
  2. Create a directory on a partition called ERD
  3. Create a subdirectory i386 (e.g. c:\ERD\i386)
  4. Copy the content of all disks to this i386 directory
  5. Download and extract Service Pack 5
    C:\> SP5I386 /X
  6. Any files that are in the ERD\i386 directory that are also included with SP5 replace with the SP5 version (including files in the system32 directory EXCEPT Smss.exe which is core to ERD Commander). There are a lot of these but it will allow you to access NTFS 5.0 partitions and has a number of fixes. This step is not compulsory but recommended
  7. Download files bootsec.bin and CDROM_w.40. Place them both in the ERD directory.
  8. Copy the files
    - ntdetect.com
    - setupldr.bin
    - txtsetup.sif
    from the ERD\i386 directory to the ERD directory (but do NOT remove from the ERD\i386 directory)
  9. Start your CD-ROM burning software (CDRWIN from http://www.goldenhawk.com is recommended) but whatever software you use it must support creating a bootable CD-ROM
  10. Add the ERD directory to the CD image BUT ERD should be the root and so I386 should be a subdirectory off of the root of the CD so you should not have on the CD a directory ERD\I386, just I386, and the 3 files in the ERD directory would be on the root of the CD.
  11. Remember options:
    - ISO9660 File system (no Joliet )
    - No version numbers
    - BOOTABLE CD : emulation : none (custom) load sector count : 4 load segment (default) 07C0H
    - The boot sector image is the bootsec.bin you downloaded
    There is an example of creating a 2000 disk at Q. How do I create a bootable Windows 2000 installation CD-ROM? which is basically the same as this (goto step 7)
  12. Create your CD! You should now be able to boot off of it. I tried this last night and it worked great. If you have problems download the word document listed at the start, however I never had to edit setupldr.bin and if you use my boot sector image you won't need to do that part either.

Note: If you create a bootable ERD Commander Professional CD (versions 1.06a or lower), the program continues to ask for disk 4 for the FTDISK, PASSWORD, & CHKDSK commands. This will be fixed in the next version.

If using ERD Professional it's a good idea to get the new password update from winternals.com's support page.

The full list of files from SP5 to be copied to ERD\I386 are:

  • i8042prt.sys
  • halncr.dll
  • halmca.dll
  • hal486c.dll
  • l_intl.nls
  • fastfat.sys
  • disk.sys
  • kbdus.dll
  • c_1252.nls
  • cpqfws2e.sys
  • cpqarray.sys
  • class2.sys
  • halapic.dll
  • ntfs.sys
  • ntkrnlmp.exe
  • cdrom.sys
  • pcmcia.sys
  • cdfs.sys
  • ntdetect.com
  • autochk.exe
  • ql10wnt.sys
  • scsiport.sys
  • atdisk.sys
  • atapi.sys
  • aic78xx.001
  • sfloppy.sys
  • ftdisk.sys
  • symc810.sys
  • vga.sys
  • videoprt.sys
  • system32\ntdll.dll

Thanks to Guillaume Bordier for the original word document and you can see his site at http://www.multimania.com/jfb/gb