Thursday, May 6, 2010

Bootable CD/USBs:SARDU vs UBCD4Win

I have written before on the benefits of using a Boot media other than your HDD when it has become infected. The article I wrote about creating a bootable CD/DVD/USB was mainly concerned with building a UBCD4Win on CD or DVD. Since then I have played around with SARDU (Shardana Antivirus Rescue Disk Utility) and it has not only been translated into English, but it has also impressed me so much as to prompt me to write this article.

There are many Boot CD images (ISOs) you can download and immediately Burn to CD. My favorite one of these is UBCD. The reason I like UBCD is that it is very versatile. There are many utilities included in the disk as well as AV and Anti-malware apps. There are many others and you can find them onthis webpage and download and burn them. I am even more drawn to UBCD4Win because it has everything that UBCD does as well as being a lot easier to configure and update. But SARDU surpasses both of these because I can update UBCD4Win and put that image as one of the many that will be included when SARDU creates it's ISO, DVD or bootable USB.

Basically SARDU is a utility that makes it simple to create a bootable DVD or USB. The main Menu is comprised of 4 sections, Antivirus, Utility, Linux and PE. Each section has a list of possible software you might wish to include, represented by a button each. This button links directly to the ISO, IMG, or Torrent file you need to download. There is no searching around for the correct files or arcane file naming in order to get it to work. Just click each button you wish to include and download to SARDU's ISO directory. If the file is zipped, you will need to unzip it.

Note that the way SARDU informs you of what is available is through the checkboxes and radio buttons. A greyed out area (checkbox/radio button) means it does not detect the image file, An unchecked white box or unclicked radio button indicates that the file is there but you have unselected it (ISOs are renamed with an IS extension, IMG with IM extension), and a checked box or clicked on radio button indicates the file is both present and active (will be used to burn ISO or USB). If you know you downloaded a certain file, but the checkbox remains unchecked (SARDU will automatically check anything it finds), then check the ISO directory and make sure it isn't in ZIP form (unzip it), in RAR form (UNRAR it), or in torrent form (download the torrent using a torrent tool).

The first time you do this is the most bothersome because it just takes a long time to download all the files (if you download everything it comes to almost 5 gb). I suggest downloading everything, even if you already have the ISO, because if it is named differently SARDU won't recognize it. For instance I've been using UBCD4Win for some time and have my own specially configured ISO, but when I downloaded the default ISO using SARDU it named the file U_B_C_D_4_WIN.iso. If I want to use my version I just rename from UBCD4Win.iso to U_B_C_D_4_WIN.iso and put a copy in SARDU's ISO directory.

One of the best things about using SARDU is that it combines all the best AV boot CDs and utilities, along with all your windows rescue disks (windows 98SE, XP, Vista, and 7), a Windows PE environment and a Linux distro like ubuntu, into one bootable image. If that isn't enough, SARDU also includes an extras folder (Sardu->ISO->extr), anything you put in that folder will be included as well. Below is a screencapture of the main menu of the boot image I created (4.4gb) running in VMWare Player:

The benefit here is amazing. You can boot to virtually any Antivirus/Utility bootdisk just by choosing from the menu. They are all on one USB stick or DVD.

So what exactly do you need to do?
  • Download SARDU
  • Run SARDU
  • Click on each of the buutons to download the relevant ISO/IMG/Torrent
  1. If it's a torrent folllow instructions on page for downloading torrent files
  2. If it's compressed, uncompress it

When you have checked off everything you want included, I first suggest making the ISO. NOTE: The first time I made an ISO with SARDU it created a directory called ISO CREATED, and put sardu.iso in there. Subsequently, the sardu.iso file appeared in the ISO directory instead - I'm not sure why, but you should look out for this.
If the size indicated by SARDU is less than 4.4gb you can then burn a DVD, otherwise you will need to use the USB option

This is an excellent and easy way to make a bootable USB. (I did it with a passport drive and it was relatively simple in comparison with other methods)

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