Building Boot Disks From CAB Files

Hi Fred. I look forward to Sundays and Wednesdays. You wrote… The biggest showstopper for many users is that PE Builder— and UBCD4Win— require a normal Windows installation CD. Many PC OEM "recovery" CDs or hard-disk recovery files won’t work with PE Builder, and that’s the only installation copy of Windows many users have." I discovered that while I have no installation disk on my HP XP Pro computer, all the installation CAB files are on my C: drive and Bart PE Builder worked just fine. For those who don’t have a disk it might be worth trying it. You might be surprised. —Robert

Thanks, Robert. Yes, sometimes, the CAB files are on the recovery CD; sometimes they’re on the hard drive— although they may be stored in a hidden recovery partition.

For many ideas on dealing with these "no standard setup CD" situations, see

If you can get at the CAB files somewhere, you then have a world of possibilities open to you, including the use of PE Builder and UBCD4Win .Since the programs are free, it certainly doesn’t hurt to give them a try— even if you don’t have "normal" Windows XP install disks.


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Fred Langa

About Fred Langa

Fred Langa is senior editor. His LangaList Newsletter merged with Windows Secrets on Nov. 16, 2006. Prior to that, Fred was editor of Byte Magazine (1987 to 1991) and editorial director of CMP Media (1991 to 1996), overseeing Windows Magazine and others.