Friday, February 17, 2012


Download BartPE

PE Builder v3.1.10a - self-installing package
PE Builder v3.1.10a - zip package

What is BartPE and PE Builder?
Bart's PE Builder helps you build a "BartPE" (Bart Preinstalled Environment) bootable Windows CD-Rom or DVD from the original Windows XP or Windows Server 2003 installation/setup CD, very suitable for PC maintenance tasks.

It will give you a complete Win32 environment with network support, a graphical user interface (800x600) and FAT/NTFS/CDFS filesystem support. Very handy for burn-in testing systems with no OS, rescuing files to a network share, virus scan and so on.
This will replace any Dos bootdisk in no time!

A word from the author

Hi, my name is Bart Lagerweij. I've been creating DOS based boot disks and bootable CD-Roms from Dos 3.x (not sure what year) until 2002. I have created the: Corporate Modboot, Network bootdisk, CD-Rom bootdisk, a hardware independent Dos CD-Rom driver eltorito.sys and lots of other tools needed to boot a PC the way I want it to.

As you can read above I've stopped doing that in 2002. Why? I saw a Windows PE (WinPE) bootable CD-Rom (from Microsoft) in action and I got very, very curious. I knew then as I know now, that in time PE-based solutions will be every PC technicians best friend.
Goodbye to all the good and bad dos-based NTFS utilities! Now we can boot from a CD-Rom and have full read/write access to NTFS volumes!

Here are a few things that are possible with PE and are not possible with any type of dos-based boot disk, even when using network support and ntfsdos:
  • Accessing very large (>2TB) NTFS volumes or accessing volumes that are not seen by the BIOS, like some fibre channel disks.
  • Very reliable scanning and cleaning of viruses on NTFS volumes using a "clean boot".
  • Active Directory support.
  • Have remote control over other machines, using vnc or remote desktop.

While I was already thinking about what great things this could do, I noticed the end-user license agreement for Microsoft software that is included with Windows Preinstallation Environment (Windows PE) 1.2 (eula.txt). In section "1. ELIGIBILITY." it states the following:
..."You may only install and use the SOFTWARE PRODUCT if you are an active Microsoft Software Assurance Member ("SAM") for the systems product pool or servers product pool, if you currently have license coverage for Microsoft Windows operating system (OS) Upgrades via a Campus Agreement or School Agreement, or if you are a current or former participant in the Windows XP Joint Development Program, Windows XP Rapid Adoption Program, Windows .NET Server Joint Development Program, or Windows .NET Server Rapid Adoption Program. If you do not meet one or more of the requirements listed above, you may not install or use this SOFTWARE PRODUCT and you must terminate the installation of this SOFTWARE PRODUCT immediately"...

Oops, that does not include me. As a matter of fact that does not include most of us! This was very disappointing. But then I started thinking, how difficult can it be to build something similar to Windows PE from a Windows XP installation CD-Rom? A quick file compare looked like most of the needed files are on the Windows XP CD-Rom. Only because I thought building this would be easy, I started coding my own builder program. Had I known how hard it would be, I would probably never have started programming PE Builder.
This first version (v1.0.0) of PE Builder was released on April 28, 2003. Yes, version 1 was a very simple, very static, very bad and copyright violating program. And the (very friendly) people at Microsoft had every right to kick my butt. But I learned from it and in May 2003 I started on a second version. In July (three months later) v2 was ready.
Version 2 did not have the problems that version 1 had. The version 2 build engine had its own registry hive builder which was not easy to program and took about 50% of my research and coding time. It also was dynamic enough that it could build from Windows XP and Server 2003. In v2.0.1 I added a small but very powerful menu program called nu2menu, which was written by my buddy Henk de Jong. The latest 2 version (v2.0.2b) even used a new ISO filesystem called "ISO-9660:1999 (version 2)" instead of the Joliet extensions. Some non-English versions of Windows XP had filenames longer than the maximum allowed length for Joliet filenames (103 chars). I had to patch the ISO building program (mkisofs.exe) so that the Windows NT bootstrap and setup loader would boot properly. The file and directory names can now be up to 207 characters. But again this version had something bad. When comparing some INF files they looked too much like the Windows PE builder from Microsoft.

I had to change the entire INF file layout to use its own format. And on Sep 1, 2003 (almost 6 months after starting) version 3 was ready. After adding plugin support, PE Builder got very popular. People from all over the world are writing their own plugins to add the program they like and use.

Copyright (c) by Nu2 Productions

Keywords: Bootable Windows CD, Bootable Windows DVD, Creating Bootable CD, Creating Bootable DVD, Downloads, Free Software, Freeware Software, Tutorials.

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