Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
There are several steps required, configuring WinPE WIM, Boot Manager and PXE Server .
For the configuration steps, let's assume that inserted Active@ Boot Disk has a D: letter in our configuration environment.
Step 1: Copy WinPE Source Files onto PXE Server
- Map a network connection to the root TFTP directory on the PXE/TFTP server (let’s assume it has a F: letter) and create there a \Boot folder (full name F:\Boot)
- Copy the bootable Windows PE image (D:\SOURCES\BOOT.WIM) to the F:\Boot folder (on PXE/TFTP server)
- Copy the BOOT.SDI file from D:\BOOT folder of inserted Active@ Boot Disk to the F:\Boot folder (on PXE/TFTP server)
- Copy the BCD file from D:\BOOT folder of inserted Active@ Boot Disk to the F:\Boot folder (on PXE/TFTP server)
Step 2: Configure custom boot configuration (optional)
In case if default boot configuration supplied with Active@ Boot Disk (stored in file BCD) does not work for you, you can configure your custom boot configuration:
- On a Windows 7 computer or in a Windows PE environment, create a BCD store by using the BCDEdit tool
- Create the RAMDISK setting, BOOTMGR and OSLoader settings for the Windows PE image
- Copy the BCD file to the F:\Boot folder (on PXE/TFTP server)
Step 3: Deployment process
- Configure your PXE/TFTP server to point PXE clients to download Wdsnbp.com
- A client is directed (by using DHCP Options or the PXE Server response) to download Wdsnbp.com
- Wdsnbp.com validates the DHCP/PXE response packet and proceeds to download PXEBoot.com
- PXEBoot.com downloads Bootmgr.exe and the BCD store. The BCD store must reside in a \Boot directory in the TFTP root folder. Additionally, the BCD store must be called BCD
- Bootmgr.exe reads the BCD operating system entries and downloads Boot.sdi and the Windows PE image
- Bootmgr.exe begins booting Windows PE by running Winload.exe within the Windows PE image
For more detailed instructions, read Microsoft TechNet official documentation
We are using a WinPE environment that is booted into via PXE from a Windows Deployment Server. I am wondering if there is a way for us to copy registry information and files into the WIM file that we boot from so the applications are already installed and registered? Or will I need to script the installation and registration to occur each time we boot into WinPE? New!
Customizing WIM is a complex task, however it can be done. To accomplish this, run the following: (Requires Microsoft's Windows AIK and done from a command prompt)
- Mount WIM:
Dism /Mount-Wim /WimFile:D:\ABoot\iso\sources\boot.wim /index:1 /MountDir:D:\!
- Attach Registry from a file to your local registry, add your values, unload registry:
reg load HKLM\my D:\!\windows\system32\config\software
reg add "HKLM\my\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Fonts" /v "Courier New (TrueType)" /t REG_SZ /d cour.ttf
reg unload HKLM\my
- Unmount WIM:
Dism /unmount-Wim /MountDir:d:\! /Commit
Here is the link to access the Microsoft Windows AIK and documentation
An alternate method is to add a script in to the Boot Disk Creator while preparing bootable media. The script is then automatically launched when WinPE is loading. Here is a link with further details: http://boot-disk.com/booting_disk_drivers.htm.
New! Automating Erasure with Active@ KillDisk
Automating Erasure with Active@ KillDisk. Tips and suggestions
Are there any best practices for using Active@ KillDisk to erase large arrays of hard drives?
Hard Drives may be erased individually in a JBOD configuration, however, it is more optimal to configure the array of disks using either a RAID0+1 or a RAID 10 configuration as depicted below.
How to add computer's Serial/ServiceTag/Asset number into the PDF certificate?
Here are a few steps to accomplish this:
- Run the Active@ KillDisk software on a workstation.
- The KILLDISK.INI file will be located in C:\Program Files (x86)\LSoft Technologies\Active@ KillDisk 7.5.
- Fill in the required "Settings" details. Full list of settings
- While editing the KILLDISK.INI file, remove all lines below (and including the line) of the [Geometry] section. This is not required and can interfere.
- Also find and remove the line "logComments=". This will be re-added in again when the script runs.
- Make sure the KILLDISK.INI contains "showLogo=true", otherwise the extra Technician info will not be displayed in the certificate.
- Save the KILLDISK.INI file to a temp location.
- Open a text file and copy the following text into the file.
@ECHO OFF ::KD-SN.CMD FOR %%i IN (c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z)
DO IF EXIST %%i:\User_Files\KILLDISK.INI ( SET DrvLtr=%%i GOTO END ) :END COPY %DrvLtr%:\User_Files\KILLDISK.INI X:\KILLDISK.INI For /f "skip=2 tokens=2 delims=," %%i in ('wmic bios get serialnumber /FORMAT:csv')
do (set "servicetag=%%i") ECHO logComments="Computer Serial Number: %servicetag%">>X:\killdisk.ini KILLDISK -ip="X:\" :EOF
- Save this file to temp location and name it with a .CMD extension.
- Launch the "Active@ Boot Disk Creator" program.
- In the User's Files section, add the KILLDISK.INI file.
- In the Startup Scripts section, add your startup script (.cmd) file.
The script will search for the KILLDISK.INI file and copy it to a temporary location. Then a WMI command queries the system to acquire the systems serial number. This value is then stored directly into the KILLDISK.INI settings file. Once erasure is complete, the PDF certificate will contain all pertinent information of the erase session.
To append the ServiceTag number into the KILLDISK.LOG file (including date/time stamp), you may use the following example:
echo %date:~6,4%-%date:~0,2%-%date:~3,2% %time:~0,8% ServiceTag#: %servicetag% >>
You may add the following lines to your script after the KillDisk command.
For /f "skip=2 tokens=2 delims=," %%i in ('wmic bios get serialnumber /FORMAT:csv')
do (set "servicetag=%%i") ren *.pdf *.ServiceTag-%servicetag%.pdf
These commands will use a WMI call to query for the computer system serial number. The next line renames the KillDisk pdf certificate file name to include this number.
To append the ServiceTag number to the KILLDISK.LOG file (including date/time stamp), you may use the following example:
echo %date:~6,4%-%date:~0,2%-%date:~3,2% %time:~0,8% ServiceTag#: %servicetag% >> KILLDISK.LOG
When using scripting and the KillDisk settings file, 'killdisk.exe -ip="D:\user_files" ' becomes invalid if there are more than one drive\volume attached to the system. The reference to D: is now assigned to another drive\volume. How can this be resolved?
Edit your script file to include the following lines...
@ECHO OFF FOR %%i IN (c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z)
DO IF EXIST %%i:\user_files\KILLDISK.INI ( SET CDROM=%%i: GOTO END ) :END killdisk -ip="%CDROM%\user_files"
With that in place, no matter what drive letter the CD gets assigned, this script will seek for the drive letter that contains "\user_files\KILLDISK.INI".
Can I automatically map a network drive when booting up into Active@ Boot Disk for Windows?
To map a drive, you would need to create a CMD script file and use the Windows "Net Use" command to map a drive, then add it into the scripts section of the Boot Disk Creator.
Usage and Sample of the NET USE command.
net use [devicename | *] [\\computername\sharename[\volume]] [password | *]] [/user:[domainname\] net use o: \\LA\Storage password /USER:myAccount
I get an error message that "The disk is in use or locked" when I try to WIPE a volume with KillDisk.
If this error occurs, you should boot from the bootable media and try again. If the error still occurs, there may be a problem with the integrity of the file system. You should run a Check Disk first to correct any errors. Run CHKDSK /F. Check Disk can be run from within the Utilities group in the boot environment.
The Boot Disk Creator will not recognize the USB memory stick plugged into the system.
You can try plugging in the memory/flash stick into another port and try again. However some brands (such as new MicroCenter) may not be recognized. Please try a different brand of USB stick. A generic or no-name brand works best.
I would like to create a custom bootable image that automatically includes settings such as sending a certificate by email, including our logo in the certificate and other options. It seems I can do this in the installed version using the KillDisk.ini file. How can I do something similar for a CD created using Boot Disk Creator?
Here are steps to complete this:
- Create INI file having all required settings (certificate, email, paths, etc…). Use Active@ KillDisk to insert your settings and use the killdisk.ini file found in the program folder.
- Add the INI file to User’s Files folder in Boot Disk Creator.
- Create a script to be launched on Boot Disk startup. This script runs KillDisk with the required command line parameters. Example: killd.cmd (assumes that D: drive is CD-ROM or USB flash) killdisk.exe -ip="D:\user_files"
- Add the script file to Startup Scripts in the Boot Disk Creator.
- Turn OFF auto-start for Default Application in the Boot Settings section of the Boot Disk Creator.
- Turn ON Network (to be initialized on startup) in the Network tab of the Boot Settings section.
- Finalize the process by creating the bootable CD/DVD or USB and boot from it.
Example of killdisk.ini
[General] logging=0 showCert=true saveCert=false initDevice=true clearLog=false ignoreErrors=false skipConfirmation=false retryAtt=2 certPath= logPath= logName=killdisk.log wipeMethod=0 wipeVerification=false wipeVerificationPercent=10 wipeUserPattern=Erased by Active@ KillDisk wipeUserPasses=3 wipeUnusedCluster=true wipeUnusedBlocks=false wipeFileSlackSpace=false killMethod=0 killVerification=false killVerificationPercent=10 killUserPattern=Erased by Active@ KillDisk killUserPasses=3 showLogo=true logoFile= shutDown=false sendSMTP=true toSMTPemail@example.com useDefaultAccount=true authorizeSMTP=false fromSMTP= nameSMTP= usernameSMTP= passwordSMTP= portSMTP=25 clientName=Some client technicianName=Alexander companyName=My company companyAddress="2550 Argentia rd, Mississauga" companyPhone= logComments=
The Active@ Boot Disk bootable media is not booting up my system after I've selected the correct Boot Priority. It either sits at a blank screen or just tries to boot up from my hard drive. What can I do?
This issue may be related to the BIOS mode that is set on your computer. You will need to check your system BIOS settings to ensure your system is set to Legacy mode or that UEFI is disabled. Here is how you can check your BIOS settings.
At the moment of turning on your computer, you will see an option to enter SETUP. Depending on the manufacturer of your system, you can press the DEL key, the F2 key or another key that is listed on screen to access the system BIOS. If you are not sure, consult the User Guide that came with your computer or call the manufacturer's technical support for assistance.
Once in your system BIOS, look under the Boot menu to find an option that reads "UEFI/BIOS Boot Mode" or "UEFI Boot". In the case of "UEFI/BIOS Boot Mode" switch the mode from "UEFI" to "Legacy" mode.
If you see "UEFI Boot", switch the option from "Enabled" to "Disabled". Be sure to save your BIOS changes and exit to reboot your computer. You should now be able to boot up from Active@ Boot Disk.
IMPORTANT: Once you have completed your operation with the boot environment and reboot your system, remember to go back into the BIOS and switch the boot mode back to UEFI.
For information about which device your system should boot from, please see:
How can I set my computer to boot from a floppy, CD-ROM or USB flash stick?
The system BIOS (system configuration) provides the option for setting the BOOT PRIORITY (start-up sequence). You may need to change the BOOT PRIORITY to specify the device you would like to start from first. Depending on the manufacturer of your system, you can press the DEL key, the F2 key or the F12 key the moment after turning on the computer's power. Some systems allow you to change the BOOT PRIORITY on power-up simply by holding down the F key for floppy or the C key for the CD-ROM device. If you are not sure, consult the User Guide that came with your computer or call the manufacturer's technical support for assistance.
ADDENDUM: If you are not able to switch from UEFI mode or noticed that you cannot boot into the boot environment, there you will need to also look for an additional option in the BIOS called Secure Boot. Check your BIOS for a SECURITY section and disable the SECURE BOOT option.
I think I have a virus on my computer and I want to completely erase the disk to make sure it is gone before I re-install my operating system. What is the best product for doing this?
For completely erasing an entire drive you can use Killdisk. It can destroy all data on either a logical drive or a physical drive.
My company has requested that I prepare several machines to be de-commissioned and I need to make sure all data is off these machines. What is the best software for ensuring no data can be recovered from these machines?
The best I have seen for this is Killdisk. Some software that erases all data on a machine is licensed by how many times it is run. The more you run it, the more it costs. Killdisk can be used as many times as you want (and it is reasonably priced).
We need to completely erase all data from a raid set including the raid striping information.. What is the best way to do this?
You should use a software like killdisk. The striping information is stored on sectors on the disk, and since Killdisk erases all sectors, it will erase those sectors as well.
I think I have a virus on my computer. Is formatting enough to get rid of all traces of it or is there some way to make sure all data is completely erased from the drive?
Formatting alone is not enough. You should back up all data you need saved then use a data destruction program (killdisk is one) to overwrite all sectors on the disk. Then re-install the OS and copy your data back to the drive.
I am donating my computer to a charity. They will re-install the operating system on it but I need to make sure all my personal data is deleted before I ship it out. Is it enough to format the drive or is there something else I should do?
Any data recovery can retrieve your data after formatting. Although the charity probably won't go looking for old data, you have no idea what other uses will do. The charity might just turn around and sell it and there are people who buy computers just to see if they can get old data from them. You should definitely wipe the drive. Use a program designed to make data unrecoverable. Killdisk in one of them.
My company has requested that I prepare several machines to be de-commissioned and I need to make sure all data is off these machines. My boss asked me to wipe the drives but when I asked him how he could not give me a clear answer. Does anyone know of a simple way to 'wipe a drive'?
If the machines are being de-commissioned it is imperative that the data be securely wiped form the drive. There are software tools designed to do exactly that. Killdisk is a tool that will overwrite every sector on the drive several times to ensure even the best data recovery labs could not restore a single file from the computer.
I think I have a virus on my USB stick. Is formatting enough to get rid of all traces of it or is there some way to make sure all data is completely erased from the drive?
You may as well totally wipe the drive clean with a programed to obliterate all data on the drive. A program like killdisk can make sure any virus or malware in neutralized on the disk, then you can partition (if needed) and re-format it.
I am donating some old USB sticks to a charity. I need to make sure all my personal data is deleted before I ship it out. Is it enough to format the USB stick or is there something else I should do?
It is not enough to format the disks. Many data recovery softwares can recover data / pictures from those drives after repeated formatting. You need to wipe the drive (overwrite each sector with garbage data) to ensure the data can never be recovered. Killdisk (by LSoft technologies) can do this. After running a multiple pass wipe no software will be able to recover data from it.
I have previously purchased an earlier version of the software. Can I download the latest version?
Yes, you may. Please use the download access link that was emailed to you when you purchased the product. Accessing this link to provide you options to get the latest edition. You may also visit our Customer Communications Center https://secure.lsoft.net/clients/ to login in with your email address.
I recently purchased the support renewal and immediately checked for an update to my product. It indicated there were no new updates in the UPDATES section of the Customer Support Centre.
Simply go back to the Orders/Downloads section within your profile and click to RE-DOWNLOAD your actual software product. You will automatically be given the latest edition of the software. An email will be sent to you with new registration keys and a download access link.
I just placed an order for your software via PayPal and I have not received my registration keys or access links to the software.
If you have used an e-Check payment method, it can take several days for this transaction to clear through PayPal You may wait for the transaction to clear or you may place a non e-check order through PayPal and contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org for assistance to cancel the first transaction.
How can I change the email address for my order/profile because I am changing the provider?
When accessing your order from a download link, you may click on the "Change E-mail" link. A charge may apply. Should you have any questions, you may contact email@example.com
I am not able to download the software after purchasing the annual support. I click on the link "Re-Download", and it keeps returning me to order information page for my order.
The order information page contains a button which reads "Click to E-mail Me Registration Info". Please click this button and an email will be sent to you with your registration keys and download access link.
How does the licensing work?
The software is licensed on a per USB / floppy or CD basis. Each license allows you to use the program from a USB / floppy or CD. If you want to use the program to wipe 5 computers concurrently, you would need 5 USB / floppy or CDs, and therefore need a 5 user license.
How to update my current KillDisk software online?
To update or re-download your KillDisk software go to the link below and follow the instructions: https://secure.lsoft.net/clients/
How can I set bootable CD/USB in BIOS?
To boot from a CD, DVD or USB device, make sure that the device has the boot sequence priority over the hard drive.
BIOS (Basic Input Output Subsystem) is a programmable chip that controls how information is passed to various devices in the computer system. A typical method to access the BIOS settings screen is to press ESC, F1, F2, F8 or F10 during the boot sequence.
BIOS settings allow you to run a boot sequence from a floppy drive, a hard drive, a CD-ROM drive or an external device. You may configure the order that your computer searches these physical devices for the boot sequence. The first device in the order list has the first boot priority. For example, to boot from a CD-ROM drive instead of a hard drive, place the CD-ROM drive ahead of the hard drive in priority.
While you are in the BIOS Setup Utility, you will not be able to use your mouse. Use the keyboard arrow keys to move around the screen.
Before you set boot priority for a USB device, plug the device into a USB port.
To specify the boot sequence:
- Start the computer and press ESC, F1, F2, F8 or F10 during the initial startup screen. Depending on the BIOS manufacturer, a menu may appear.
- Choose to enter BIOS setup. The BIOS setup utility page appears.
- Use the arrow keys to select the BOOT tab. System devices appear in order of priority.
- To give a CD or DVD drive boot sequence priority over the hard drive, move it to the first position in the list.
- To give a USB device boot sequence priority over the hard drive, do the following:
- Move the hard drive device to the top of the boot sequence list.
- Expand the hard drive device to display all hard drives.
- Move the USB device to the top of the list of hard drives.
- Save and exit the BIOS setup utility.
- The computer will restart with the changed settings.
Picture. Boot Priority Options.
Some computer manufacturers allow you to select the device that contains the boot sequence from a special device selection menu. The example below uses a Dell system board.
To set boot priority using a device selection menu:
- When the computer starts to boot up, after the manufacturer's ID screen, press F12 several times. The device selection menu appears.
- Use the up and down arrows to select CD-ROM.
- To boot from the selected device, press ENTER.
Using an incorrect BIOS setting can cause a system malfunction. Please follow the BIOS guide provided with your computer motherboard. If you read these instructions and you are not sure how to change a setting, it is better to leave it as the default setting.
How is the data erased?
Active@ KillDisk communicates with the system board Basic Input-Output Subsystem (BIOS) functions to access hardware directly.
It uses Logical Block Addressing (LBA) access if necessary to clean FAT32 drives more than 8 Gb in size. To erase data it overwrites all addressable locations on the drive with zeros (FREE version). Active@ KillDisk Professional version suggests several methods for data destruction.
For example, in US DoD 5220.22-M method it overwrites all addressable storage and indexing locations on the drive three times: with zeros (0x00), complement (0xFF) and random characters; and then verifies all writing procedures. This complies with the US DoD 5220.22-M security standard.
What is the difference between the Site and Enterprise license?
A Site License allows for unlimited usage of the program at one physical location, whereas an Enterprise License allows using the software without of any limitations at all company's offices and branches (worldwide).
What is the difference between FREE and Professional versions?
Professional version in addition to all features of FREE version supports more than one hard drive and user can specify number of passes for data overwriting. Professional version of KillDisk is DoD 5220.22-M compliant.
Which method is used for data access in DOS?
KillDisk uses BIOS functions to access hardware directly. It uses LBA access if necessary to clean drives more than 8GB in size.
Does KillDisk support command line arguments?
Yes, it does. You can place line into for example autoexec.bat to destroy all HDD (Hard Disk Drive) found. See help for the details.
What types of HDD it understands?
All types of HDD are supported. KillDisk will clean it up properly if hard disk drive or USB disk is visible in BIOS, or accessible under Windows environment (device drivers properly installed).
Will I be able to use my HDD after Active@ KillDisk erase operation?
To be able to use HDD again you need to:
- repartition HDD using a standard utility like FDISK
- reformat hard drive using a standard utility like FORMAT
- reinstall an Operating System using bootable CD-ROM or USB / floppy if you wish to boot from the hard drive
Why does the computer reboot after 72 hours after running anything from within Boot Disk?
Windows PE reboots after 72 hours of continuous running. This is by design and can not be changed.
For more information, please refer to the Microsoft's MSDN article: Benefits and Limitations of Windows PE
Why can killdisk (or hard drive monitor) not return serial numbers from drives hooked up to RAID controllers?
The software uses standard SCSI/ATI function calls (through Windows or DOS) to get serial numbers from hard drives.
Most, if not all, RAID controllers do not properly process these requests.
Typically, a RAID controller is used to hook up 2 or more hard drives in such a way that the operating system thinks it is one drive. Therefore, the operating system can not access the drives individually. When queried for a hard drive's serial number, the RAID controller does not know which serial number to return, so it does not return a serial number at all. All RAID controllers tested will do this even if there is only one drive in the RAID set.
How many operating systems supported by KillDisk?
KillDisk is a DOS program and it does not matter which operating system is installed on the machine. If you can boot in DOS mode (from boot diskette for example), you can erase any drives independently of Operating System installed. The only requirement is that machine be a standard PC (Intel-architecture, not PPC, not ARM, not MIPS).
Does KillDisk run on any computer?
KillDisk runs on any PC-compatible machine, which is based on Intel architecture. It does not run on MIPS, ARM, PPC processors, for example it won't run on Sun SPARC systems or iPad & Android tablets.