Wondershare LiveBoot 2012
by Chris Taylor
It often pays to watch the messages that get posted on
On August 6th, Dunc Petrie posted a message in the
General Messages area that started; Wondershare
LiveBoot 2012 is offering a lifetime license absolutely
FREE until August 12: Usually $59.95.
What is LiveBoot 2012? Well, the
Wondershare web site claims
it can; Rapidly Rescue You from Any Imaginable PC
Crash Disaster with a boot CD. While I might
dispute the use of the word any, it is a
pretty powerful recovery package.
You start by downloading an executable that is only 6MB.
Sweet! Oh, but that is just the downloader which then
downloads a 321MB file. Dont try this on dial-up!
It is understandable that it is so large. Once you run
the installation file, you end up with a nice little menu
program that allows you to burn a CD or create a bootable
USB drive with the actual program. If you are using a USB
flash drive, you will need one that is at least 330 MB.
And since it will be wiped clean prior to the addition of
LiveBoot, be sure to save any important files on
the flash drive.
LiveBoot is based on the Windows WinPE 3.0
environment. This provides a stripped down Windows 7
system that can be run from removable media. While WinPE
(the PE stands for pre-installation
environment) was originally designed by Microsoft
for deploying Windows in a corporate environment, it is
also used by various software authors as a platform for
Once you create the CD or USB flash drive, you simply
boot from it. After a minute or so, up pops the LiveBoot
environment and you can access all the tools to help fix
LiveBoot will automatically connect to the
network if it sees a wired connection, so you can have
access to other computers on your network and the
Internet. Wireless connections are not available however.
The main screen divides the tools into four broad
categories; Windows Recovery, Data Recovery, Disk
Management, and Password & Key Finder.
This section provides some solution centers with specific
tools to meet a particular problem, such as Windows
crashing on every boot or random crashes after Windows
loads. The complete set of tools includes Master Boot
Record Recovery, Boot Sector Recovery, Boot File
Recovery, Registry Recovery, Registry Editor, access to
Windows System Restore (where you can try to recover by
using a standard Windows restore point), Memory
Diagnostics and Windows Backup/Restore.
The Data Recovery section is designed to allow you to
restore lost files. There is a Smart Recovery option that
automates the process. Or you can opt to go for a more
directed approach of looking for deleted files, lost
files (from deleted or corrupted partitions), or lost
partitions. A number of options allow you to narrow your
search. For example, you can look for specific filenames.
Or you can search for files created or modified in a
specific time period. File recovery can take many hours,
depending on the size of your disk and number of files
you have. As well, recovery is highly dependent on how
heavily the disk has been used since the files were
lost. But it certainly seems to do a thorough
job of finding anything that is recoverable.
This area of LiveBoot is divided up into 4
Clone Genius allows you to clone either a single
partition or an entire disk. This can be useful if you
are replacing an old disk or upgrading to a larger disk.
Partition Genius allows you to do just about anything you
can think of with disk partitions. You can create new
ones, delete those you no longer need, format them,
resize them, hide and show them, recover deleted
partitions, convert FAT16/FAT32 to NTFS and check their
integrity. You can even explore them to see the contents.
The Wipe Data section allows you to securely wipe a
partition or entire disk. This is great if you are
getting rid of an old disk or computer and want to make
sure none of your personal data or licensed software is
recoverable. It can also be used if you have a rootkit
installed that you cant seem to get rid of. Rather
a last resort, but this will make sure all remnants of
malware are completely wiped out before you re-install
everything from scratch.
The Data Backup/Restore section allows you to image an
entire disk partition or disk. And of course, once you
have used the program to create an image, you can use the
restore function to recover. Note that this is not as
convenient as using an imaging program like Acronis True
Image or Norton Ghost that runs from within your normal
Windows environment, but if you dont want to shell
out a few bucks for one of those programs, this can do
Password & Key Finder
The Password section allows you to reset the password on
any local account including the Administrator
account to nul (no password). This is very handy
if you forget your password and cant get logged
Key Finder allows you to see the product key for Windows
itself and any version of Microsoft Office from Office 97
to Office 2010. Both of these options are useful in case
you decide you have to re-install Windows and dont
have a record of your product keys. Just make sure you
capture the keys before you re-install Windows!
Also included on the Start menu are a number of handy
tools that come with Windows such as Calculator (not sure
why you would need this during a recovery exercise), CMD
prompt (always handy!), Network Configurator (in case the
network is not automatically started), Remote Desktop
Connection, Windows Explorer, Wordpad (handy to document
what you do as you proceed), and more.
Interestingly, after installing LiveBoot 2012,
Secunia Personal Software Inspector reported a security
vulnerability in ImgBurn.exe, a component installed as
part of LiveBoot 2012. This vulnerability was
patched over 7 months ago. Shame on Wondershare for
distributing software with security vulnerabilities that
have long ago been patched.
I did not put all the tools to the test. After all, I did
not really want to delete any partitions, recover the
registry or perform a boot file recovery on my working
systems. But I did try out some of the non-destructive
tools and recovered some deleted files. Overall,
Wondershares LiveBoot 2012 seems to be a
powerful and well-rounded set of recovery tools for
System requirements: 800MHz processor, 512 MB RAM (1 GB
recommended. The web site notes that more than 1 GB RAM
is required to run Data Recovery and Disk Management),
CD-ROM drive or USB flash drive.
Windows XP/2003/Vista/7 required to create the bootable
media. Windows 98/ME/2K/2003/XP/NT/Vista/7 can all be
targets for recovery operations.
LiveBoot 2012 v7.0.1
Originally published: October, 2011
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The opinions expressed in these reviews
do not necessarily represent the views of the
Ottawa PC Users' Group or its members.