Q. Can I replace the recovery environment provided with Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2 with the Microsoft Diagnostic and Recovery Toolset (DART) environment?

A. When an OS has problems booting, it uses the recovery environment to resolve the issue. You can access this environment by pressing the F8 key before the Windows logo displays during boot and and selecting Repair your computer.

The recovery environment is stored in the file Winre.wim, which is found in the folder C:\Recovery\. This folder is hidden and protected by default, so you'll need to enable Show hidden files, folders and drives and disable Hide protected operating system files in Explorer's folder options.

You'll now see the Recovery folder at the root of the C: drive, but you won't have permission to navigate its contents. Select the properties of the folder and edit its security. Give yourself Full Control and click OK.

You can now navigate inside the folder, rename the Winre.wim to Winre.old_wim and copy in the DART sources\boot.wim from your DART CD, renaming it to Winre.wim, as shown here.

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Now when you select Repair Your Computer, the recovery environment will have DART built-in.

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Related Reading:

Check out hundreds more useful Q&As like this in John Savill's FAQ for Windows. Also, watch instructional videos made by John at ITTV.net.
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