ERD - never there when you need it

by Wayne Maples [Published on 20 April 2004 / Last Updated on 20 April 2004]

An up-to-date Emergency Repair Disk is critical when you need to repair a broken NT installation. When you add or remove hardware or make significant changes to your setup you need to update your ERD. This only happens when you explicitly chose the Update Repair Information option. You can bring up the Repair Disk dialog by typing "repair disk" in Start/Help/Index or by typing rdisk in Start/Run. Unless you have explicitly asked for the data to be updated, the information stored on the ERD and the information stored in the repair directory is probably that generated during the initial install. It will not help you 6 months or a year later (or 2 years later). You have added a different harddrive, changed out disk controller, added a partition, removed a partition, .... The ERD is not as important as an up-to-date \winnt\repair directory which has equivalent information. Using the AT scheduler, you can schedule an automatic update of the \winnt\repair files using the command

rdisk /s-

The /s parm tells the repair disk utility to update the erd and repair directory data. The /s- tells the repair disk utility to NOT request a floppy to generate an new ERD but to update the \winnt\repair directory only. Once you have this process automated, you will not need to worry about having a current ERD disk.

OK. OK. You say, what if my harddrive fails and \winnt\repair is GONE. If you are in a network environment, the updated repair data should be copied to a file server for use in this case. If you are on your own, keep pushing those floppies into drive A: and generate updated ERDs.

As far as I can tell, Windows 2000 has eliminated this capability. The Windows 2000 environment is too large to fit on a diskette. Windows 2000 ntback has an option to create an Emergency Repair Disk but it is a GUI option. To create a repair disk in w2k, click Start/Programs/Accessories/System Tools/Backup/Emergency Repair Disk. The repair disk is not bootable in either Windows NT or Windows 2000. Although the repair disk concept is somethat different, under both Windows NT and Windows 2000, when this action is performed, the registry hives are copied to %system32%\repair directory and the files can be used in recovery procedures. Under Windows 2000, no registry files are copied to the the ERD. Windows 2000 adds a Repair Console option where you can boot up the systems have access to the command prompt.

ERD Related Tips:

Related:

How to Repair Windows NT System Files Without a CD-ROM Attached

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