Review: Active@ Boot Disk 7 is a jack-of-all-trades repair and imaging utility

At a Glance
  • Generic Company Place Holder Active@ Boot Disk

    PCWorld Rating

    Boot disk recovery and repair toolkits don't get any better than this Windows-based environment.

The more things change, the more things stay the same. For Active@ Boot Disk 7.1, that means continuing as one of the best of breed Windows repair toolkits. A jack-of-all-trades, it boots on its own, manages and recovers data and partitions, creates backup images, changes passwords, wipes disks, and more. And it's competitive with the rest of the industry at all those tasks.

1. Active@ Boot Disk runs under the Windows environment and includes top-flight recovery tools.

Active@ Boot Disk was one of the first recovery toolkits to employ the Windows Pre-installation Environment (PE) which is still largely unique in allowing you to load drivers at boot time. This allows it to handle odd-duck devices such as tape drives, cartridge drives, etc. Linux covers most of those devices now, but it's still an undeniably handy capability.

Appearance-wise, not a lot has changed with Active@ Boot Disk since version 3. There's the same blue desktop and start menu, but it supports the latest technologies such as SSDs, UFS, Ext4, etc. There's full support for burning images and backing up to optical, as well backing up across the network. The boot disk creator that's installed under Windows now creates bootable flash drives as well as discs.

Other features of Active@ Boot Disk are a disk monitor, which will tell you the current S.M.A.R.T. info, and a file explorer. The latter was the one module I had some issues with. It would quit unexpectedly with an error message when deleting certain files didn't go correctly.

Disk imaging and restore are fully supported by Active@ Boot Disk.

All in all, however, everything worked quite well. The only items on my wish list are the ability to run a drive's S.M.A.R.T. self-diagnostic tests and creating images in the Windows VHD format so you can easily mount and recover the contents without using the boot disk or installing the free Lite version of Active@ Disk Image (or the full pay version of course).

Acitve@ Boot Disk is also available in a $70 DOS edition for those who need to work on slower or memory-challenged systems, or systems running Windows 9x. You can purchase the DOS and Windows-environment editions bundled for $110. No matter the package, you'll be getting one of the industry's leading repair and recovery products.

Note: The Download button takes you to the vendor's site, where you can download the latest version of the software.

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At a Glance
  • PCWorld Rating

    Boot disk recovery and repair toolkits don't get any better than this Windows-based environment.

    Pros

    • Recovers just about anything
    • Works with the latest technology
    • Resets Windows passwords

    Cons

    • Somewhat pricey
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