BartPE is a free utility that lets you build a live CD-based copy of Windows XP that can be used for data recovery.
Bart's PE Builder helps you
build a “BartPE” (Bart Preinstalled Environment) bootable Windows
CD-Rom or DVD from the original Windows XP or Windows Server 2003
installation/setup CD, very suitable for PC maintenance tasks.
will give you a complete Win32 environment with network support, a
graphical user interface (800×600) and FAT/NTFS/CDFS filesystem
support. Very handy for burn-in testing systems with no OS, rescuing
files to a network share, virus scan and so on.
Update: A reader writes in about a useful extension:
Even better than BartPE is “UBCD for Windows”.
It uses Bart's PE Builder to create not just a bootable Windows CD, but
a bootable Windows CD with many useful tools included — antivuris,
browsers, PDF Reader, CD burner, drive backup/cloning tools,
diagnostics, recovery tools, etc. See the full list here.
[posted by D. Keith Robinson]