| By Lincoln Spector |
Using Windows system rescue CDs isn’t practical if your machine isn’t equipped with an optical drive.
Fortunately, a clever solution may be sitting on your desk: take a flash drive you haveat hand, add some software, and create a custom, USB-based, bootable Windows recovery toolkit!
Flash media offer speed and flexibility
That ultra-light netbook PC was great until some malicious code or innocent mistake hosed its operating system. A rescue CD could get it back up and running, but the tiny PC lacks an optical disk drive. Now what to do?
The one media connector found in all modern PCs is the USB port. If you don’t have an external CD/DVD drive sitting around (and most PC users don’t), one of the cheap and ubiquitous flash drives may be the best way to provide access to otherwise-inaccessible files and possibly fix the broken OS.
Even if you have an optical drive, booting off flash has considerable advantages over laser light. Flash media is faster and far more easily erased and rewritten, making it exceptionally flexible.
There’s just one catch: it’s more difficult to set up a Windows rescue system on flash drives than it is on optical media. You can’t simply double-click an .iso file and burn it onto the flash drive.