Create a PC Rescue / Network Boot Disk for your computer lab. (BartPE disk)

This page describes how to create a BartPE bootable CD PC rescue / network boot disk that can run Windows programs.


BartPE is a multipurpose CD often used to run a program to clone computers across the local area network. It can perform many other valuable functions such as rescuing files from a corrupted hard drive that won’t boot up, burning those files to a CD or transferring them to another drive on the network. There is no surer way to remove spyware and virus’ than using a bootable CD such as this. Every computer lab should have a tool like this in the tech toolbox.

Getting Started - Download BartPE “PE builder” and Selfimage cloning “plugin for BartPE”

The BartPE bootable CD is built from combining a Windows XP or Windows Server 2003 CD and the freely downloadable “PE builder”. The result is an pebuilder.iso file that you burn to a CD rom. You boot up a computer with your new BartPE CD and it gives you a mini Windows environment and lets you connect the computer to your network. Most common network cards are supported and it is possible to add support for other network cards. You can add many programs to this CD (cloning, antivirus, CD burners, etc) to add extra functionality. These add-on programs are called ‘plugins’ and are simple to add.

For this example we will add a free hard disk cloning program (plugin) to the BARTPE CD called Selfimage. To get started adding Selfimage to the BartPE CD, go to the Selfimage site Downloads area and download the “plugin for BartPE”.

Building the BartPE CD

  1. Download the latest self installing BartPE package and install it.
  2. Installing the BartPE self installing package to the default location

  3. Search for installation files ? Choose No.
  4. We aren’t going to search for Windows installation files on the system. We are going to supply an XP or Windows 2003 server CD.

    Search for installation files, choose No.

  5. Put the Windows XP or Server 2003 CD in the CD rom.
  6. Set the source in PEbuilder to the location of your CD rom. In this example it is F:\. Set the media output as “None” for now.

    Set the path to the CD-Rom where the XP or Server 2003 CD is located.

  7. Press “Build”.
  8. When the building process is finished, check the top left corner “Operation:Finished” for errors and warnings. Review and fix errors as needed. In my experience, errors can be fatal, rendering the build unusable. Warnings are less critical and may not affect usability.

    PE builder build Operation:Finished.

  9. Add the Selfimage cloning plugin.
  10. After downloading the selfimage plugin for BartPE, unzip it and copy the “selfimage” folder into the C:\pebuilder\plugin folder.

    Adding the Selfimage cloning plugin

  11. Rebuilding with the Selfimage cloning program added.
  12. Click the pebuilder.exe.

    Click pebuilder.exe to rebuild with Selfimage cloning program added

  13. Ensure that the Selfimage plugin is enabled.
  14. Check to see that the selfimage plugin is enabled. If not, click “Enable” and then “Close” to continue.

    Enable the Selfimage plugin

  15. Build the final ISO image that will become the BARTPE CD
  16. Select the source of the XP or Server 2003 CD. In the media output field choose “create iso image” .

    Media output “create iso image” Click “Build”

  17. Building the iso, are you sure you want to continue ? Say Yes.
  18. Building the final ISO file, say Yes

  19. Operation Finished
  20. After the operation is finished, you will now have a “pebuilder.iso” in the C:\pebuilder3110a folder. Burn that iso to a CD and you are all done !!

    Operation finished, now burn the pebuilder.iso file to a CD and you are all done ! (Quick tutorial for ISO burning).