How to Create a BartPE USB Stick

BartPE, or Bart Preinstalled Environment, is lightweight version of Windows XP that is used to troubleshoot a computer with startup errors. BartPE can be installed to a CD, DVD or USB stick. To create a bootable USB flash stick with the BartPE installed, you must have PE Builder and PE2USB -- used to build a copy of BartPE and extract the copy to USB -- Windows XP SP2 or SP3 and a copy of Windows 2003 Server Service Pack 1 (SP1), the latter of which contains resources to make BartPE bootable.

Things You'll Need

  • 512 MB to 1 GB USB flash drive
  • Windows XP SP2 or SP3 CD


    • 1

      Click "Start." Click "Computer" to open Windows Explorer. Select "Tools" from the menu bar. Click "Folder Options." Go to "View." Click "Show Hidden Files, Folders and Drives." Click "OK."

    • 2

      Download Windows 2003 Server Service Pack 1 from and save the file to "C:." Insert the Windows XP CD into the disc drive.

    • 3

      Download and install PE Builder from for BartPE, then download PE2USB from to the desktop. Double-click the PE2USB file and drag-and-drop the contents into the folder where PE Builder is installed.

    • 4

      Click "Start." Input "cmd.exe" (without quotes) into the search bar and press "Enter" to run Command Prompt. Type "cd\" (without quotes) and press "Enter."

    • 5

      Return to Windows Explorer and click the "C:" drive. Locate Windows Server 2003 SP1. Right-click the file and hold down "Ctrl+C." Press "Enter."

    • 6

      Return to Command Prompt. Right-click the terminal and select "Paste" from the context menu. Press the spacebar once, then type "-x" (without quotes) and press "Enter."

    • 7

      Click "OK" to extract the files. Click "OK" on the "Extraction Complete" window. Go to the i386 folder where the files were extracted.

    • 8

      Hold down "Ctrl" and left-click "setupldr.bin" and "ramdisk.sy_." Press "Ctrl+C." Navigate to the PE Builder folder and press "Ctrl+V."

    • 9

      Return to Command Prompt. Input "cd <PE Builder>" (without quotes) into the prompt. Replace "<PE Builder>" with the full file path to the BartPE Builder folder. Press "Enter."

    • 10

      Input "expand -r ramdisk.sy_ c:\<PE Builder>" (without quotes) and press "Enter." Navigate to the PE Builder folder in Windows Explorer. Click "File," point to "New," then click "Folder."

    • 11

      Name the folder "srsp1." Select "setupldr.bin" and "ramdisk.sys," hold down "Ctrl+C," and double-click the srsp1 folder to open it.

    • 12

      Press "Ctrl+V" to paste the files. Open PE Builder. Click "Yes" on the "Search Files?" dialog box.

    • 13

      Input "<disc drive>:\i386" (without quotes) into the "Source" field if PE Builder is unable to locate the Windows XP installation files. Replace "<disc drive>" with the letter assigned to the CD or DVD drive.

    • 14

      Select "Create ISO Image" from the "Media Output" section. Type "c:\<PE Builder>\bartpe.iso" (without quotes) into the field. Replace "<PE Builder>" with the location of the PE Builder software. Click "Build" and insert the USB flash drive into the USB port to create the BartPE build.

    • 15

      Return to Windows Explorer. Right-click the USB drive and select "Format." Select "FAT" as the file system. Click "Start" to erase all of the files on the USB drive. If you have any files you want to save, transfer them to the hard drive before formatting.

    • 16

      Return to Command Prompt. Type "cd <PE Builder>" (without quotes) and press "Enter" to go to the PE Builder folder.

    • 17

      Type "pe2usb <USB drive>:" (without quotes) and replace "<USB drive>" with the letter assigned to the flash drive. Press "Enter" to create a BartPE USB stick.

Tips & Warnings

  • If you only have a Windows XP or Windows XP SP1 CD, you must slipstream SP2 or SP3 into the CD. Download the appropriate service pack from the Microsoft Download Center and select "Slipstream" from the "Source" menu.
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  • Photo Credit Paul Tearle/Stockbyte/Getty Images

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