Building Bootable Tools CD

It’s pretty common in the IT world to carry around a stack of 3.5″ floppy disks with a variety of bootable software on them for diagnostic and repair purposes (Symantec Ghost, DriveImage, DBAN Disk Eraser, Memtest86, HDD Diagnostics, etc.) At various employers I’ve spent some time trying to put all these tools on a bootable CD-ROM. Unfortunatly, it’s usually not a high priority and ends up being unfinished but the plan remains in my head. As floppy drives continue to become scarce in the corporate world this is going to get done sooner or later. The plan as it currently stands is something like this:

Use tools from Bart’s excellent site (especially BFD) to build a series of floppy disk images of the DOS based software (Ghost, Drive Image, HDD Diagnostics, etc.) via scripts to allow for easy updating. The Linux tools (DBAN and Memtest86) usually come supplied as FDD images so I’d just use those directly. Put all the onto a cd and use CDShell as the bootloader and menu program to select which image to start (CDShell also supports loading ISO cd images). I would probably build the cd with Bart’s BCD program which spits out an ISO file or burns directly to disc.

A project similar to this is availible at but it doesn’t do things quite the way I want. It may work for you though. The time consuming part for me is to try and consolidate the Symantec Ghost boot disks for each different NIC into one big image that’s partially a floppy image and partially on CD (due to size) while still making it fit in 640k of DOS accessible RAM. I’m sure it can be done, I just haven’t had the time to spend on it recently.

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