Event Viewer logs, accessible within ERD Communicator 2005, can prove invaluable in tracing the cause of system failuresAdministrative tools
Selecting any of the Administrative Tools, which are accessed by clicking the ERD Commander 2005 Start button and clicking Administrative Tools, opens a Windows 2000 Computer Management-like console. Administrators can leverage the console to perform Disk Management functions just as if the technician had booted into Windows and selected Disk Management within the Computer Management console. In addition to formatting partitions, Disk Management can set partitions active and change drive letters, among other tasks.
Accessing Winternals' Event Log, meanwhile, provides the ability to review Application, Security and System logs as if the technician had booted into Windows and selected Event Viewer from within the Computer Management console. Information found within these event logs can prove critical in identifying and eliminating the issues that are preventing a system from booting or operating properly.
RegEdit provides the standard registry editing utility for correcting problematic registry entries, while System Information reports on critical system specifications. RegEdit can prove a lifesaver in reversing a registry setting that's prohibiting Windows from booting. System Information, meanwhile, reveals the computer's name, OS kernel version, OS product type (such as Windows XP Home versus Professional), current service pack, applied hotfixes and more. Such data helps identify or eliminate potential causes for failure and ensures an administrator can collect as much information as possible about a failed, non-booting system.
Wayward services and errant drivers can also prevent systems from starting properly. ERD Commander 2005's Service and Driver Manager offers support professionals a simple interface for resurrecting desktops and servers that are failing due to problematic services and drivers. Using the Service and Driver Manager, technicians can view services and drivers that load by default. Using simple right-click actions, services can be disabled, set to manual, configured to run at boot or set for automatic startup. Drivers can be reviewed and reconfigured, too, as well as updated.
Autoruns provides another powerful graphic-based tool. The utility lists programs that run automatically when Windows starts, including those that aren't always listed in Windows default Startup folder. Within the ERD Commander 2005 boot environment, administrators can then make any adjustments as needed, thereby enabling the removal of programs or files whose automatic execution is prompting Windows to fail.
Erik Eckel owns and operates two technology companies. As a managing partner with Louisville Geek, he works daily as an IT consultant to assist small businesses in overcoming technology challenges and maximizing IT investments. He is also president of Eckel Media Corp., a communications company specializing in public relations and technical authoring projects.