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Toolkit Item: Kyhi’s Rescue Disk

As part of an ongoing series of articles here at Win10.Guru, I’ve put together a list of useful, if not indispensable, admin tools for Windows. The first story in the series is called The (Windows) Admin’s Toolkit and it appeared the day the site went live on 1/1/2018. As I count such things, this is the eighth (8th) installment in this series, and it takes as its focus a special bootable Windows disk that long-time TenForums.com user Kyhi put together. He calls it “Windows 10 Recovery Tools — Bootable Rescue Disk” or “Windows 10 Recovery Tools — Bootable PE Rescue Disk,” but the rest of us on TenForums and elsewhere know it more succinctly as “Kyhi’s Rescue Disk.” So that’s what I’ll call it here in this story, too.

What Exactly Is Kyhi’s Rescue Disk?

Good question! Kyhi’s Rescue Disk is based around the Windows 10 Pre-installation environment, aka Win 10 PE. In fact, Kyhi’s Rescue Disk comes out of the Win10PESE project at TheOven.org. I take Win10PESE to be read as “Windows 10 Pre-installation Environment, the easy way” based on the acronyms used. For those who don’t already know, let me turn to Microsoft Docs to provide a definition:

Windows PE (WinPE) for Windows 10 is a small operating system used to install, deploy, and repair Windows 10 for desktop editions (Home, Pro, Enterprise, and Education), Windows Server 2016, and other Windows operating systems. From Windows PE, you can:

  • Set up your hard drive before installing Windows.
  • Install Windows by using apps or scripts from a network or a local drive.
  • Capture and apply Windows images.
  • Modify the Windows operating system while it’s not running.
  • Set up automatic recovery tools.
  • Recover data from unbootable devices.
  • Add your own custom shell or GUI to automate these kinds of tasks.

To begin with, Kyhi’s Rescue Disk is a bootable Windows repair environment, best packaged on a USB Flash Drive (UFD). I keep one in my little tub of UFD’s, simply labeled “Kyhi” as shown in this photo.

Kyhi's Rescue Disk.UFD

I keep Kyhi’s Rescue Disk handy at all times, in my “little tub of UFDs.”
[Click image to see full-sized view.]

To build Kyhi’s Rescue Disk you need only download the ISO file (comes in x86/32-bit and x64/64-bit flavors at present). Then you can use a tool like Rufus (or the Windows command line/PowerShell for the truly hardcore) to create bootable media (usually, a UFD) from which you can run this repair and recovery environment/toolkit.

What Kyhi’s Rescue Disk Brings to the Party

If you look at what’s in the Program Files directory for Kyhi’s Rescue Disk, you’ll understand what it can do to help you repair a broken or dysfunctional Windows 10 installation. Remember, this boots into the Win10 PE environment, so you have access to all of these programs from an alternate boot that can operate on the injured Win10 installation in all kinds of interesting ways. Here’s what’s included in the current version of this terrific tool:

Kyhi's Rescue Disk.progfiles

Each folder here corresponds to a specific Windows tool or utility, which becomes available when you boot from Kyhi’s Rescue Disk.

Suffice it to say that with a variety of backup and recovery tools (AOMEI Backupper, Ashampoo Backup, DriveImage XML, Macrium Reflect, and more), disk and file cleanup tools (CCleaner, DiskExplorer, FSCapture and FSViewer, various partitioning and disk tools, and more), and a whole bunch of other helpful stuff, there’s not much you could want to do to a Windows image that this collection won’t enable. Quite simply, I find that keeping this repair/recovery UFD around makes it unnecessary for me to build and keep lots of other ones around too. Great stuff!

Author: Ed Tittel

Ed Tittel is a 30-plus-year computer industry veteran. He’s a Princeton and multiple University of Texas graduate who’s worked in IT since 1981 when he started his first programming job. Over the past three decades he’s also worked as a manager, technical evangelist, consultant, trainer, and an expert witness. See his professional bio for all the details.

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