Microsoft Kicks Windows Vista Diagnostics and Recovery Up a Notch

The TechEd IT Forum 2007 in Barcelona, Spain, was the stage where Microsoft kicked the Windows Vista diagnostics and recovery up a notch.

But Vista was not the sole operating system in the company's focus. As a matter of fact, the upcoming Windows Server 2008, formerly codenamed Longhorn, will be able to leverage the new diagnostics and recovery capabilities offered via Diagnostics and Recovery Toolset (DaRT) 6.0 just as much as Vista did. The toolset is designed to integrate seamlessly with both 32-bit and 64-bit versions of Microsoft's latest client operating system, and the upcoming last 32-bit server platform.

"We're adding Windows Vista 32-bit and 64-bit, as well as Windows Server 2008, support to the Microsoft Diagnostics and Recovery Toolset (DaRT). DaRT 6.0 will enable IT staff offline removal of malware and viruses from infected PCs. On top of that, DaRT 6.0 now can unlock BitLocker volume encryption and allow IT professionals to use DaRT functionality on a BitLocker-encrypted drive. DaRT 6.0 is available via private beta currently and will be made more broadly available in Spring 2008. DaRT 5.0 is available today for download by MDOP customers," revealed Nick White, Microsoft Product Manager.

The sole caveat of the toolset – as White pointed out – is that it is a product addressed exclusively at current users of the Microsoft Desktop Optimization Pack, as DaRT is in fact an integer part of the package. DaRT is excellently positioned to bring back to live unresponsive and crashed Windows computers, and manage various scenarios for diagnostics and recovery including infections with malicious code. Microsoft's Brandon LeBlanc gave DaRT a try.

"The first thing I noticed when I started using DaRT is that it provides two options to the IT Professional: a way to analyze crash files from unresponsive PCs through the Crash Analysis Wizard, and a way to create a startup disc with the necessary tools in fixing an unresponsive PC that is unable to boot into Windows called ERD Commander", LeBlanc explained.

The Crash Analysis Wizard will permit the analysis of crash dump files with the *.dmp extension. Such files always accompany a system crash. The wizard had to work in tandem with Microsoft Debugging Tools for Windows, but otherwise the evaluation of the crash report is automatic, and the conclusion presented is straightforward.

"ERD Commander lets you create a startup image. That startup image can then be burned to a CD in which you can boot off of that lets you repair PCs that do not function. After experiencing DaRT first hand, I believe it is a must have for IT Professionals and offers a great set of tools in helping IT Professionals recovery crashed PCs in their environment. DaRT 6.0 (announced today as part of MDOP) offers IT Professionals the ability to run these tools on a BitLocker-encrypted drive as well", LeBlanc added.


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