Gerrards Cross Computer Club

Ultimate Boot CD for Windows

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Page updated 16 July 2008

Page Contents


When working with broken Windows systems it is often useful to be able to boot up into a familiar environment to be able to have a look at the files on the broken machine and hopefully repair the problem.

Windows CD can boot into Recovery console but this is a command line environment and its capabilities are limited (probably by design).

There have been UNIX boot disks for a while that can operate on some aspects of Disk partitions and Windows files with a GUI interface. For those of us with a Windows background there have been relatively few choices. There was a method of creating a CD which would enable a number of DOS boot disks to be collected together and this has been very useful over the years. Bart. who created this boot method, went on to produce a method of booting Windows from a CD. This is the basis of Ultimate Boot for Windows. The original site is still available (look here for Bart's Preinstalled Environment) but these instructions are based on the later work.

The Ultimate Boot home page is here. This contains full instructions and further information. This page supplements those instructions and acts as a reminder to me how I actually did it!


First you need to download the program. This is an executable and be prepared for a large download. At the time of writing (5 September 2008) the version is version 3.20 and is 239 megabytes. the download page give many mirrors - choose any one. If the download speed is slow cancel and select another.

The direct link to the download page is here. Save it to somewhere on your computer.

I had problems finding a valid download (the download worked but the program failed during installation) and after trying several of the mirrors found this one



You are creating a version of XP. XP is a licensed product so you have to have a legitimate copy of XP in order to use the program. Furthermore this must include Service Pack 1. It says on the web site that Service Pack 2 is supported and recommended but I found this does not work.

If you have a copy of XP without Service Pack 1 there are instructions on the site as to how to "slipstream"  a service pack into a standard XP.

If you are a member of the Gerrard's Cross Computer Club, and have a legitimate copy of XP installed on your computer, then I can probably help you with this pre-requisite. If you are not a member  then you will need to follow the instructions on the UBCD page.

The instructions on this page assume that you have this on a CD.


Click on the installation executable to start the installation.

Step Screenshot

Choose your language and click OK.

I have chose English


We now see the initial screen for the Setup wizard.

Click OK

UBCD setup wizard

We are now presented with the License Agreement We all read EVERY work of these don't we.

On the screenshot this has bee Accepted

Click Next to continue

End user license agreement page

This is an information page showing what is included in the package and the version history.

Click Next to continue

Information page about installation

We are now presented with the default installation location. You should have noticed that it does NOT show a standard folder within Program files.

Be careful if you need to change it. The path must NOT contain spaces. For this installation I have left the default setting.

Click Next to continue with the installation.

Choose installtion location

A final dialog box showing what it will install where. This is your last chance to change your mind!

Click Install to continue. This will take some time!

Final confirmation

The installation process now asks if you want to verify the MD5 checksum  (it would perhaps be better if it did this earlier in the installation process but better late than never)

Click Yes and the hash will be verified
hash verification

The hash is verified - Click OK to continue

Hash verified

After an extensive checking process a final installation screen appears. 

Click OK

Final screen
The process now continues with a page giving links  links containing build instructions etc. There does not seem to be a way to display this information again. The help menu however takes you to the web site where this information can be found.

Click Next
information about building etc

Check for patches, Click Yes

Check for patches

At the time of this installation ( 5 September 2008) there were no patches. 

Click OK

There wer no patches

End of wizard is now displayed. 

Click finish

The build program will then start if the checkbox is selected.
End of wizard

The licence screen will then appear. This only happens once.

Accept license agreement - click Agree

License agreement

The build screen opens and immediately asks for the Windows installation disk. Click OK to start the search.

The CD must be copied onto the hard drive or the CD inserted into the CD drive.

You could click No and run the search later, or find the installation manually.
Windos CD prompt

Running the build process

The program can be started from the Start /Program menu in the usual way. there are a number of options, most of which are links to the web site so make sure you have internet access when you access these options. The same applied to the Help facility when running the program.

Running the program Screenshot

This shows the initial configuration screen. As shown the search facility has found a copy of XP with Service Pack 1 on the CD drive - drive D: Note that search failed to find XP SP2.

The title bar shows the incorrect version of UBCD4W! The instalation was from version 3.20.

The Source shows where the builder will look for the XP image. This can be changed manually using the icon to the right which brings up a standardBrowse for Folder Dialog box. Alternatively use the menu Source. This gives the option to search, or to slipstream (I have not tried this yet).

The Output folder is where the installation will be built - it is a working folder. There should be no reason to change it.

The Media Output section controls whether an iso image is created. Optionally this can be burned to a CD. I usually use a CD burning program to do this.

If you wand to accept the plugins as delivered then all you now need to do is click Build. I recommend this anyway to verify all is well before customising further.

Inital runtime screen

If the output folder does not exist then a Dialog box will appear for confirmation. click Yes to create the folder.

Confirm creation of work folder

You are now asked to view and agree the Microsoft Windows End User License Agreement. You should only proceed if you have a valid license.

Click I Agree

Windows EULA

A build screen will now appear. A progress bar at the top shows how far this has gone but this only applies to the first phase. This takes some time. Some Command windows pop up from time to time. 

Click Close when the button appears.

The build is not complete and, if selected, an ISO image has been prepared.

End of build

Customising Build

The great feature of this process is that the programs included on the bootable CD can be adapted. New programs can be added. Programs on the standard build can be removed, perhaps to make the image smaller.

Programs must be made into packages, or plugins, before they can be added. there are a large number included in the standard build and many more are available for download.

As Ultimate Boot for Windows is derived from Bart's Preinstalled Environment any plugins built for Bart's PE can be added to the build.

Example plugins

DriveimageXML download

While it is very useful to have a bootable diagnostic disk the purpose of providing this page is to have a means of recovering a drive from a backup. The free drive backup program ,DriveImageXML, exists in the standard build but is not the latest version and will not restore an image made by the current version. DriveImageXML kindly packages up their current version into a BartPE plugin for inclusion in the image. These instructions cover the replacement of this application.

Drive Image plugin page can be found at Choose the DriveImage XML 2.01 plugin. This is a .cab file. Download and save to your hard drive.

JKDefrag with GUI download

I have also included the addition of my (current) favourite de fragmentation tool JKdefrag and one of the GUIs. 

This is partially packaged for inclusion in Ultimate Boot and the instructions for installing it, and updating to the latest version are also included. It needs more manual intervention than DriveImage probably as it has not been packaged into a .cab file and an updated version of JKdefrag has been released. 

The download is a zip file. This needs to be unzipped into a new folder JKdefragbartpe created in C:/

Customising build Screenshot

Here is a repeat of the intial dialog screenshot. to view or modify the plugins installed just click Plugins

Inital runtime screen

This screenshot shows part of the plugin list. the line highlighted shows the DriveImage XML entry that is included in the build.

Plugins are deleted by selecting them and clicking Remove.

Plugins are added by clicking on Add. Do this to install DriveImage

Note: It is also possible to add some plugins using a more manual approach. this will be covered later.

view plugin list