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Hidden treasures of the Ultimate Boot CD

The Ultimate Boot CD has literally dozens of utilities. Here, our desktop admin expert shares some of the most powerful and useful tools available on the CD.

Tucked away in the crevices of the Ultimate Boot CD (UBCD) are literally dozens of utilities, many of which might escape casual notice. Just be aware that they have immense value to the Windows system administrator.

Here's a quick guide to some of the most powerful and useful tools available on the CD:

  • Offline NT Password & Registry Editor. This tool, which runs from a miniature Linux kernel, lets you mount an NTFS volume, read the Registry and even recover passwords in a pinch. To run it, press F3 from the UBCD menu, press the right arrow to go to the second screen and press F6. Be warned that if you're using anything other than a standard ATAPI controller, it may require some manual tweaking to get running. Press D when the program finishes loading to automatically detect and load new disk device drivers, or press M to load them manually based on their driver names. (Most of the device driver names are self-evident: for instance, the Promise SATA RAID controller driver is sata_promise.)

  • Active NTFS Reader for DOS. A DOS-based tool (as the name implies) that gives read access to files on NTFS drives (as well as FAT volumes) of any size. Use this instead of the Offline NT Password & Registry Editor tool if you need to pull whole files, not just repair passwords or edit Registry entries. If you have a non-system drive you'd like to copy files out from, press F3 from the UBCD start menu, then press the right arrow to go to the second screen and press F7.

  • Manufacturer-specific disk tools: Every hard-drive maker has its own brand of disk diagnostics/drive-testing utility. The UBCD consolidates almost all of the major drive-makers' tools in one menu -- press F2 from the boot menu and page through the listings with the left/right arrows. DOS-level drive tools from Fujitsu, Gateway Inc., Hitachi Ltd., IBM, Maxtor Corp., Quantum Corp. Samsung, Seagate Technology Inc. and Western Digital Corp. (for branded drives shipped with their computers) are all here. Unless you have some specific compatibility issue that needs addressing, start with the utility for your drive that has the highest revision number.

  • Serdar Yegulalp is editor of the Windows Power Users Newsletter. Check it out for the latest advice and musings on the world of Windows network administrators -- and please share your thoughts as well!

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