Is there a clear leader when it comes to picking a rescue CD?
January 8, 2011 10:21 AM   Subscribe

What are some useful collections of utilities for troubleshooting a busted PC (memory checks, hard drive scans, windows key extraction, CPU stress tests)?

I've found quite a number of boot/rescue CDs on the interwebnets, but I don't know if there are any shenanigans to watch out for when picking one to use.
posted by jsturgill to Computers & Internet (8 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
I like HDtune for hard drive testing on the windows side and memtest86 for mem testing. Sorry can't give you links because I'm on my phone.
posted by meta87 at 10:40 AM on January 8, 2011

I guess I'm actually hoping for someone with knowledge to chime in and say yes, something like The Ultimate Boot CD is a useful collection of legit utilities that do what they say on the tin, use without qualms or further research. Or, alternately, that those sorts of ready made collections of utilities are rife with rootkit installing w4r3z and other such things, avoid like the plague, make your own.
posted by jsturgill at 10:51 AM on January 8, 2011

Oh well in that case, sure, I've used ultimate boot cd a few times, all the features are right there, it does indeed do what it advertises, although I've always found it to be way way overkill, which I guess is the point. I usually never need anything more than spinrite or memtest. Never had to deal with key extraction though.
posted by dead cousin ted at 11:52 AM on January 8, 2011

Lifehacker had this recently:
Five Best Computer Diagnostic Tools
posted by Nerro at 2:47 PM on January 8, 2011

I like the rescue version of Debian Live - it includes memtest86+, cpuburn, and all the other poke-at-your-system goodies that fit on the CD... no GUI though, so you'd need to be comfortable with a linux command line system...
posted by russm at 6:25 PM on January 8, 2011

I use my System Rescue CD a lot.
posted by intermod at 9:12 PM on January 8, 2011

If you're trying to utilize a pre-loaded environment, I can definitely recommend BartPE. It's based off of Microsoft's Windows PE (only available to enterprise customers apparently) but with the added benefit of a GUI. It was passed on to me from a third party contractor at my job, and has definitely worked wonders. More info here. You will need your original OS CD as well as be able to boot from a flash/CD drive. Plugins are available on the main site, here. That should suit all of your needs in addition to the native Windows utilities (excluding the windows key extraction, sorry).
posted by DanOms at 9:23 AM on January 9, 2011

All helpful responses. Thanks.
posted by jsturgill at 1:59 PM on January 9, 2011

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