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Can a Windows disk be used as a live OS?


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#1 Captain Dunsel

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Posted 05 January 2014 - 07:33 PM

I'm not sure I worded that topic question the way I mean it, so...

Is there a way to use the Windows disk to see my desktop and files and to run programs? Or is it only useful for installing/repairing Windows? I guess in a way I'm

asking if there's a Windows analog to a Linux "live" disk or flash drive. I ask because I have a borked Windows 7 installation.

 

The disk, provided by my computer vendor, is labeled as an "Operating System Disk" and across the top reads "Microsoft Windows 7 Professional x64". This jibes with my memory, i.e. that this is not one of those disks containing all the applications on the hard drive; it's a dedicated Windows disk. I know it can be used to repair a Windows installation, to access a restore point, or to restore from a disk image, but the first two have failed me, and I have no saved disk image. I was just beginning to explore the command prompt option but I'm curious about the "live OS" idea first.

 

Instructions on the disk clearly read, "This DVD may only be used for the recovery of your computer's operating system." But the tag on my pillow says, "Do not remove under penalty of law."  :-) So I remain curious. I've been exploring Linux and I know you can create a "live" disk or flash drive from which Linux will run, avoiding the need to install it, at least temporarily. Is such a thing possible with Windows, too? I don't see a way to do it using the disk directly, but is there Microsoft or third party software that can make such an animal?



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#2 Sneakycyber

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Posted 05 January 2014 - 07:59 PM

What exactly are you attempting to accomplish with the "Windows 7 Live cd"?


Chad Mockensturm 
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#3 Anshad Edavana

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Posted 05 January 2014 - 11:21 PM

Hi

 

A Windows installation disk can't be used as a full featured live disk. There are projects exists which add explorer shell to the Boot.wim and allow you to browse the contents of hard drive, run small apps etc. Since it is not a full Windows, running big apps are not possible. System recovery and repair is the main purpose of these boot disks. They are not intended to replace full Windows.

 

You should take a look at Windows to Go feature of Windows 8 Enterprise. This will allow installing OS to a USB medium which can be carried with you.

 

http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/enterprise/products-and-technologies/devices/windowstogo.aspx



#4 Captain Dunsel

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Posted 07 January 2014 - 11:31 PM

Hi

 

A Windows installation disk can't be used as a full featured live disk. There are projects exists which add explorer shell to the Boot.wim and allow you to browse the contents of hard drive, run small apps etc. Since it is not a full Windows, running big apps are not possible. System recovery and repair is the main purpose of these boot disks. They are not intended to replace full Windows.

 

You should take a look at Windows to Go feature of Windows 8 Enterprise.

 

Hi Anshad,

 

I looked at the Windows to Go page you linked to.  While it's interesting, I don't think it's for me.  It's targeted to enterprise users, which is certainly not me, and it would mean buying another Windows license, which I'm not willing to do.  Thanks, though.

 

But this other thing you were talking about -- that intrigues me.  What is boot.wim?  You say these projects would allow me to "browse the contents of hard drive, run small apps etc." and that's exactly what I want to do, and for exactly the purposes you mention: system recovery and repair.  Can you tell me more?



#5 Captain Dunsel

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Posted 07 January 2014 - 11:41 PM

What exactly are you attempting to accomplish with the "Windows 7 Live cd"?

 

Sneakycyber, as I mentioned in my original post, I want to be able to see my files and run programs.  That's it in a nutshell.  Right now I can do neither with Windows, as I keep booting into a blue screen.  I've explored many repair and recovery options, but when I've posted all the details -- in this and other forums -- I've gotten very few responses.  Since I thought maybe I was being too wordy and people weren't willing to read so much, I avoided going into it all again.  But since you asked, I want to be able to access my files if for no other reason than to offload them in preparation for wiping the drive clean and reinstalling Windows.  But before it gets that drastic I hope to try some Windows-based anti-malware programs and just basically work in more familiar territory than the Linux tools I'd been trying.  I'm open to suggestions but don't want to rehash my whole story if nobody is going to read it. 



#6 Anshad Edavana

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Posted 08 January 2014 - 12:19 AM

Hi

 

To rescue the files, you don't need to build a Windows live CD. You can use your Windows installation DVD to browse and copy the contents of your hard drive. For more detailed info, please visit the below link.

 

http://www.howtogeek.com/135005/how-to-use-a-windows-installer-disc-to-back-up-your-files-when-your-computer-wont-boot/

 

 

 

 

But before it gets that drastic I hope to try some Windows-based anti-malware programs and just basically work in more familiar territory than the Linux tools I'd been trying

 

It is not possible to run Windows based Antivirus programs from a Live Windows disc. As i mentioned earlier, a live disk is a heavily stripped down version of Windows and therefor large apps like Antivirus won't run from it. If you need to do an offline scan, i would recommend Windows Defender Offline as it is the only offline scanner which can cure an infected Windows registry.

 

http://windows.microsoft.com/en-IN/windows/what-is-windows-defender-offline

 

Also it is possible to remove infections from an unbootable system by running specialized tools like FRST from recovery console. For that, you can request for the assistance of a trained malware helper in the appropriate section of BC.

 

http://www.bleepingcomputer.com/forums/t/34773/preparation-guide-for-use-before-using-malware-removal-tools-and-requesting-help/

 

 

If you need to create a live Windows disc for rescuing data, please visit the below link.

 

http://www.msfn.org/board/topic/143529-make-pe3-program-to-create-portable-windows-7-pe/

 

 

You need a working "Windows 7" machine to create the boot disc ( i recommend USB).



#7 Captain Dunsel

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Posted 14 January 2016 - 10:53 PM

Hello Anshad,

 

Have you ever received a reply two years later?  :lmao: Well that's what this is. 

 

I read your comment long ago, but in those days I didn't know much about Linux or even about the Windows installation/recovery disk.  I suppose when I read your message I looked at the instructions at HowToGeek and was overwhelmed, maybe skeptical, or maybe I just wanted to try something else first... I honestly don't recall now. 

 

But I've learned a lot since then, and have been using my computer with the non-booting Windows for all that time with various Linux distros.  Therefore I delayed some of my recovery efforts. 

 

Lately, though, I've started again to get ready to copy all my data and reinstall Windows, so I looked over your advice again.  That article now makes perfect sense.  In fact I had already learned a lot about the Windows Recovery Environment and used it a number of times, so it looks familiar now.  I had even discovered the Notepad/File/Open idea somewhere else and learned how to go that far, but I guess I never made the mental connection about using it as a substitute for Windows Explorer and copying files.  I've now copied the instructions and will try that tip soon. 

 

I've already been copying my files with Linux live distros, but for some reason I can't copy large files or large collections of files at once, so it's been slow, and the operation has crashed a few times.  Maybe the tip you pointed me to will work better.

 

So thanks very much for your helpful e-mail which I'm now appreciating, and sorry for the slightly delayed response.  :wink:

 

By the way, I've also since learned of a few ways to build a "Windows PE" disk, the subject of my original post, but so far have not done one successfully.  And I also built a Windows Defender Offline disk, which I see you had recommended.  Though that wasn't the solution to my problem, it worked well.



#8 Niweg

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Posted 16 January 2016 - 04:43 PM

  Two things I want to mention.  First you can try making a Windows System Repair disc by going to Control Panel -> Backup and Restore -> Create system repair disc.  Insert a blank CD-R and in about 3 minutes you'll have a CD you can boot from.  I don't know how it compares to the Windows install disc, but it's something to be aware of.

 Second, there's this Linux question.  I've been using the 64 bit Linux Mint 17.3 system, and had very little problem with it.  If you're using a 32 bit version of Linux, that can limit the size of what you can copy; the 64 bit version will copy a whole lot more.

`

 Good luck.


Make regular full system backups or you'll be sorry sooner or later.


#9 Captain Dunsel

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Posted 16 January 2016 - 10:09 PM

Thanks Niweg,

 

I already have a System Repair Disk, and I could not follow your build instructions even if I didn't since I can't boot Windows at all.  :-)  As for how it compares, it seems to be a slightly lighter version of the install disk -- no live OS, that's for sure.

 

Linux Mint served me well also, for a while, but I've sure had my ups and downs.  I was first using version 17, with the Cinnamon desktop, on a live USB stick.  At some point it began crashing regularly until I gave up.  I tried the Mate version after that, also live.  The desktop seemed much more stable, though eventually the Firefox browser became so crash-prone that it was nearly intolerable, but also I was regularly getting a message that I was out of disk space and couldn't figure out how to recover that space -- very frustrating.  Several weeks ago I returned to Linux Mint 17 Mate live, figured out where the large trash files were and deleted them.  Then I loved Mint all over again -- until something happened a couple weeks ago to it, and it now hangs at the splash screen on every bootup.  I have no idea why, but I had to abandon it again.  I also tried version 17.3 with the Mate desktop -- again live -- and it looked good but lasted only a few days before it started giving me a boot message: "Your session only lasted less than 10 seconds. If you have not logged out yourself, this could mean that there is some installation problem..."  That was a brand new flash stick and a brand new ISO that I created it from.  In short, as intuitive and useful as Mint seems to be, I can't get it to work for any length of time on a flash stick!  Anyway, that's kind of off-topic for my original post, so I'll leave it at that.

 

As for the 32- / 64-bit point you raised, I have a sneaking suspicion that you may be referring to another of my recent posts -- but maybe I'm wrong.  In any case it's relevant to another question I had, and I'm going to check that post shortly.  At any rate, I appreciate the tip, and for the record I think the only 32-bit Linux distro I've ever tried was Slacko Puppy.  (And as it turns out, that's probably been the most reliable and useful distro of the ten(?) I've tried!)



#10 Niweg

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Posted 16 January 2016 - 10:29 PM

 I don't know that it makes any difference, but I've always booted Linux Mint from a DVD.  I have a new laptop with UEFI, but found a Dell article on how you can disable Secure Boot in UEFI and turn on the ability to boot from a CD or DVD. That article is here:

http://www.dell.com/support/Article/us/en/04/603195/en .  

 I made the comment about 64 bit in reference to your comment about having problems copying large files with Linux.  I ran into that once and discovered I'd inadvertently gotten the 32 bit version.  

 

`

 One extra thought.  Have you tried running memory diagnostics?  I haven't seen any of these problems on any of my 5 PCs.

`

 Good luck.  It sounds like you're having more "fun" than a body has a right to!


Edited by Niweg, 16 January 2016 - 10:32 PM.

Make regular full system backups or you'll be sorry sooner or later.


#11 Captain Dunsel

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Posted 17 January 2016 - 11:00 AM

Niweg,

 

(My fingers keep wanting to type Newegg, like the computer supply company your name may be based on. :) )

 

My computer has a standard BIOS.  As for the disk option, I've been considering that too.

 

OK, I thought so -- about the 64 bit comment.  It was too much of a coincidence.  FYI, the copying I've been doing -- and the crashes I've experienced -- have been mostly in Zorin, a 64-bit OS (at least the version I'm using).

 

Yeah, I'm having tons of "fun" alright.  More than I can stand.  This  :censored:  constant research and diagnosis is either going to make me crazy or make me a computer expert!

 

Your "one extra thought" has me a little nervous, because I did try running memory diagnostics a couple weeks ago, and I didn't like what I saw.  I think the program was memtest, which I was running from a flash stick like everything else these days, and it reported thousands of errors!  I watched in shock as the number just kept climbing, and I let the scan run for several hours before stopping it.  The thing is, I just didn't know if I was reading it right, or if I could trust what I was interpreting, or if it was working properly, etc.  I guess in short I found that many errors hard to believe, given that I use my computer every day and it seems to do what it's supposed to do.  But of course when I think about it, I could mention a dozen baffling, weird and frustrating symptoms I've seen over the last few weeks, and probably dozens more over the past couple years.  Bad memory could certainly explain a lot of the weirdness I've seen in Linux which nobody else seems to see, including but certainly not limited to the copy issues I've had, browser crashes, spooky system restarts when I choose "shutdown", a self-altering BIOS, and desktop environment crashes.  Hell, it could explain why Windows became corrupt in the first place!  After reading your comment I was shaken back into reality and thought to myself maybe I better focus on that before I even finish trying to copy my personal files and reinstalling Windows. 

 

But the intimidating part is perhaps knowing how to be sure.  I'm not sure how to test my RAM for sure.  I've read something about removing modules and running the test with only one at a time, but I have much to learn, I'm afraid.  I'm just so tired of researching and servicing this computer!  That's about the fifth recent topic I've needed to research or post a question about, and they're coming at me faster than I can get answers.  (For example, I logged on here today to ask why Zorin 9.1 crashed right out of the gate, or why it does that "spooky restart" thing, but now I'm more concerned about my RAM, which may explain both and much more.

 

I went to Crucial.com to see if they offered my RAM, and they probably do but my system, Velocity Micro, is not in their list.  Their analyzer tool won't run in Wine, so I'll have to re-learn what RAM I have if I want to buy new modules.

 

Thanks for the tips



#12 hamluis

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Posted 17 January 2016 - 01:50 PM

Memtest86+ Guide-How To's - Overclockers Forums - http://www.overclockers.com/forums/showthread.php?t=409152

 

Louis



#13 Captain Dunsel

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Posted 17 January 2016 - 02:16 PM

Thanks, Louis.  I'm reading the first one right now.  By the way, I was born in Dallas.






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