bootable media

Bootable media is a hell of confusion, as is well known. I worked 2 days on that subject, and created bootable media of PE Builder, Partition Assistant and Backupper on a variety of computers, and tested on a variety of computers..

However I found the following.

1) PE Builder is a very clever good emergency system. It produces better bootable media than Partition Assistant or Backupper, and it includes Partition Assistant 5.5.8, and Backupper3.2.

2) PE Builder media can be created on Windows 8 systems, english language, only. This is easy to do on virtual system. Virtual systems are preferred over real hardware for any media creation and expedite tests, but tests also needed on real hardware.

Backupper bootable media would work well on the same system style
(efi/mbr/32/64) where they are created. Partition Assistant bootable work only on
mbr. Backuper and Partition Assistant bootable media can be created on any system, not just on Windows 8 (but as said in 1), PE Builder media is to be preferred).

3) Bootability depends on the "host system" where PE Builder run. The host system styles can be efi 64bit, efi 32bit, mbr 32bit, or mbr 64bit. (they are relatively easy to select in the virtual machine, but not obvious to the novice.)

4) Best results are from efi 64bit. Resulting PE Builder media run on efi 64bit and on mbr 64bit.

Also best results are from mbr 32bit. Resulting PE Builder media run on mbr 64bit and on mbr 32 bit.

These two media cover all practical cases.

It is not advisable to boot MBR style on an EFI system: one might lose restore points.

5) PE Builder lacks preconfigured Windows command shell. This can easily be added by creating a file named "Windows command shell.bat" and adding the file in PE Builder. Contents of the file are just one line containing: cmd.exe.

When adding file, type its name into the file name box. Preselection in the add file command is erroneously for ".ini;" and therefore shows nothing. Typing a W will propose the right file(s).

Be careful not to install Partition Assistant Lite on the "host system", as it will cause Part Assistant not to work on the PE Builder media.

6) Overall, I had 6 virtual computers to create bootable media and test, and 3 real computers to test. I created 11 bootable media: 3 of PE Builder, 3 of Backuper and 4 of Partition Assistant, and cross-checked. Cross-Checking was 51 test cases, to see what booted and what did not boot. This took no more than from friday-late-night to now, sunday-afternoon. (say 36 hours elapsed time, about 15 hours test time, which is not a lot of engineering).

When the emergency media booted, it then always worked well, Backuper and partition assistant worked always the same, and consistently the same as in the live Windows system.


  • edited November 2015

    Re 5) When Partition Assistant Standard 5.8 is present on the "host system", PEBuilder 1.5 copies this version 5.8 onto the bootable media, otherwise it has version 5.5.8 on the bootable media.

  • Re 5) Also Backupper 3.2 must be present on the "host system". PEBuilder 1.5 then copies this version 3.2 onto the bootable media, otherwise it has version 2.0.2 on the bootable media.

  • Thank you  very much for your tests and efforts.

    We have recorded your forum posts and we will analyze the problem and find out the way to fix it.

    Thank you again for your valuable informations. 

  • edited November 2015

    Please note1:

    Every of the three softwares PEBuilder, Backupper and Partition Assistant creates bootable media in a different way. This  is not constructive. And Backupper handles it best. And PEBuilder has preferred content.

    Please note2:

    a) mbr (bios) works on 32bit and on 64bit, basically. However efi for 64bit is different from efi for 32bit.

    b) WinPE 64bit and WinPE 32bit are different, too. Altough WinPE32bit can be created on a 64bit OS, in simple configuration like AOMEIs, WinPE64bit is generated on the 64bit host OS, and WinPE32bit is generated on the 32bit host OS. The host OS bitdepth and host OS efi/Bios style determine the boot media style. I consider this legit.

    Please note3:

    a) mbr 32bit style is expected to work on mbr 32bit and on mbr 64bit computers (contains WinPE32bit and should contain bootmgr).

    b) efi 64bit style is expected to work on efi 64bit and on mbr 64bit computers (contains WinPE64bit, and should contain bootmgr and bootmgr.efi).

    c) efi 32bit style is expected to work on efi 32bit, on mbr 32bit and on mbr 64bit computers (contains WinPE32bit, and should contain bootmgr and bootmgr.efi).

    The sheet attached above shows all 55 test cases. A check mark means it boots. A dash means it does not boot. Please note as explained in note3, not every dash is an error, but many of them are. On the sheet are 11 bootable media, numbered 1-7 and 9-12, three virtual machines (w8efi64, w8efi32, w10mbr32) and three real machines (hp64bitefi, hp64bitmbr, 32bitmbr).

    And ampeb32... means Backupper 3.2, ampe15... means PEBuilder1.5, partassist_... means Partition Assistant 5.8 bootable media generated by. Suffix efi64, efi32, efix64, eifx86, mbr(=mbr32) mean where generated.

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