Here are the best Windows rescue disks to help you access your computer for making repairs and backups, even when it won't boot.
At times, Windows is an unruly operating system. Random crashes, boot failures, error messages, and full blue screen of death system crashes are part and parcel of Windows life.
If that sounds like your life, you must learn about some amazing Windows 10 rescue and recovery disks. These rescue disks have saved more than a few Windows user's bacon on many occasions. Check out the Windows 10 rescue and recovery disks below—it could be the difference between a self-fix or a costly trip to the computer repair store.
- Hiren's BootCD PE x64
- Kyhi's Recovery Drive
- The Ultimate Boot CD
- Native Windows Recovery Disk
Hiren's BootCD remains one of the single best Windows rescue and restore disks. Any IT technician or habitual technology tinkerer will have come across Hiren's BootCD. If they have, they'll sing its praises. However, the original Hiren's BootCD ceased official updates in November 2012. Now, a trusty band of Hiren's BootCD fans updates the rescue disk with the latest and greatest recovery utilities.
Hiren's BootCD focuses on fixing Windows systems. The rescue disk contains a wealth of utilities, including malware and rootkit detection, antivirus scanning, temporary file cleaners, data and driver backups, hardware scanning, partition scanning, imaging and saving, and even password crackers. You can also use Hiren's BootCD to reflash your BIOS or wipe your CMOS if required.
Furthermore, Hiren's BootCD is now based in the Windows 10 Preinstallation Environment (PE) to roll with the times. A PE is a lightweight version of the operating system primarily used for troubleshooting and is usually accompanied by additional recovery and rescue tools.
Need an old Hiren's BootCD version? Use the drop-down menu to select the version you want.
Kyhi's Recovery Drive, also known by the cumbersome name of Windows 10 Recovery Tools—Bootable PE Rescue Disk, is a custom Windows 10 PE environment. In this case, TenForum's user, Kyhi, has developed a Windows 10 PE environment filled with system restore and recovery tools.
Kyhi's Recovery Drive comes with a huge range of tools for virus and malware removal, disk repairs, partition managers and scanners, networking, remote view and VNC tools, image backup and recovery tools, and much more.
Better still, many users will find Kyhi's Recovery Drive extremely easy to use due to the familiar environment. The recovery environment looks exactly like a Windows 10 installation, so navigation and access are just as you would expect.
The above image showcases just some of the array of Windows 10 recovery tools found in Kyhi's Recovery Drive.
Like Hiren's BootCD, UBCD troubleshoots Windows and Linux systems with a massive range of helpful utilities. It is useful against issues up and down the system error board with drive cloning and data recovering tools, hardware testing, partition scanning, and a host of other system repair tools.
UBCD aims to "consolidate as many diagnostic tools as possible into one bootable CD"—something the makers have come very close to achieving.
UBCD is completely free for download, so be wary of any site attempting to take payment for a download.
You cannot have a bacon-saving recovery disk list without including the grandfather of them all: Knoppix. This Linux Live CD provides a fully functional operating system once loaded onto a malfunctioning system, rather than just providing you a GUI with different system analysis options.
The Knoppix operating system comes with some 1,000 software packages for you to scan through, including troubleshooting, hardware analysis, data recovery, and cloning tools alongside browsers, image-manipulation tools, and media players.
There DVD version of Knoppix is known as "Maxi," bundling over 2,600 different pieces of software in a 4.7GB package. Most of the software included in both Knoppix packages are either free or open-source though there are some proprietary software packages.
The final recovery disk is the Windows Recovery Disk. If you have a recovery disk, there is always a chance you can repair your Windows installation.
Unsure how to create a Windows recovery disk? Here's how to create Windows 10 installation media. When trouble arises, pop your installation media into your system and select the Repair mode when it appears.