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Boot Disks: UBCD4Win and SARDU

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Thomas Zucker-Scharff
Veteran in computer systems, malware removal and ransomware topics.  I have been working in the field since 1985.
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 on this 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.

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WARNING: I wrote this article by reviewing a previos version of SARDU, the version available as of this edit is 2.0.6.5 and the download has become more difficult and perilous to find.  Once downloaded, the installer has had Adware added to it.  You should DECLINE all EULAs (there are 3) as they are unwanted programs which will install with SARDU.  the download is just a ZIP, with no need to agree to any EULAs.

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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).

SARDU 2.x runningThe 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->Extra), many things which you put in that folder will be included as well.  

To use the Extra section of SARDU (for instance, if you wish to include a bootable ISO you have but which is not included in one of the tabs, you first enable the extras by clicking File -> Enable extra, then you can use the Extra menu to add ISOs.  Only some ISOs are suppported, so beware.  There is a very good forum page that is maintained regularly and gives information on using the Extra menu  and which ISOs are supported in what ways (sometimes it is easiest to rename an ISO to something that already exists in SARDU - this page tells you which ISOs will work with which renamings).   In the images below I first enabled he Extras as above, then used the Extras menu and chose the "Add Extra ISO/IMG in RAM (memdisk)" option then followed the prompts and it worked like a breeze!

Below is a screencapture of the main menu of the boot image I created (4.4gb) running in VMWare Player (Note that this is a SARDU 1.x image):

My SARDU build running in a Virtual Machine
Here is an screenshot of SARDU 2.05 with Extras enabled running in VMWare Player:

SARDU with Extras enabled running in VMWare playerThe Extras menu works almost seamlessly with only one exception, by default it is labeled as "Antivirus" when you click into it (see screenshot)

extras menuTo change this edit the .cfg file located in the sardu -> ISO -> ISO_Extra directory called ISO_Extra.cfg.  You need to change the Menu label to "Extras" instead of "Antivirus".  The text below shows you where I changed it.

The file starts at the pound sign below.  Only change the one word at the end so it looks as this one does (this is only part of the file starting from the top).

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

#File creato da Shardana Antivirus Rescue Disk Utility 'SARDU'
#
default vesamenu.c32
prompt 0
menu title     SARDU 2.0.5  
MENU SEPARATOR
menu background /SARDU/SARDU
MENU TABMSG  http://www.sarducd.it
menu color hotsel 30;47      #40000000 #20ffffff
menu color sel 30;47      #40000000 #20ffffff
menu color scrollbar 30;47      #40000000 #20ffffff
menu color help            37;40      #c0ffffff #00000000 std
MENU WIDTH 76
MENU MARGIN 10
#
MENU ROWS 15
MENU TABMSGROW -10
MENU CMDLINEROW 23
MENU ENDROW -1
MENU TIMEOUTROW -8
MENU HSHIFT 4
MENU VSHIFT 4
LABEL -
MENU LABEL Extras:  (where it now says "Extras" it used to say "Antivirus")
...
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

The other menus look like the following screenshots:

AV menulinux menutools menuwindows menuutilities menuBy the way this build ended up being about 25 gb.  I can put the whole thing on my 32gb stick with no problem or a 250/320/500gb passport drive, which then has enough room for backups of the computers I'm fixing.

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 (depending on the size of the ISO).

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

If it's a torrent folllow instructions on page for downloading torrent files

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 - be careful the program does prompt you for where you want to put the completed ISO, but it will overwrite anything called sardu.iso.
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)
sardu-ss.JPG
sardu-running-in-vmplayer-with-e.JPG

UPDATE: SARDU 3 is now in beta.  The developer asked me to be one of the testers.  Here are some initial changes that are at least in the beta, I don't know how the final product will look.  After a brief exchange with the developer, I need to amend some statements I madein the above article.  First, the warez in the item that rhymes with sirens.  There is only one piece of software left that could be potentially illegal and that is the Windows XP PE environment.  Microsoft has discontinued XP and has not attempted to prosecute the distributor.  Also, according to SARDU's developer, that particular ISO is legal in some countries, although still not in the USA.

Currently, the beta has none of the adware that I warned about when you install, but it is still just a beta.  The download link is a little easier to find than it used to be, but you still have to avoid some ads on the developer's website and scroll to the bottom of the download page in order to find the link.

Several people are now working to identify bugs in the beta, for instance currently the beta has some broken download links and some functions are not yet working.  The interface is different and, IMHO, much cleaner.  The beta can be downloaded from this page near the bottom (don't click on any of the buttons - the download is just a link to the beta).
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25 Comments
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Expert Comment

by:b0lsc0tt
Very interesting article!  Thanks for pointing out the great utility.

bol
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Author Comment

by:Thomas Zucker-Scharff
Glad you found it useful.  Once you try it you will never go back to any other boot media (unless you need a CD instead of a DVD or USB).  And it makes it so easy!
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by:b0lsc0tt
Can this work if I have a custom image for an OS (XP 3)?  No DVD drives in the computers and I am hoping to save time by just using a bootable USB thumb drive.  I have looked and, at least at first glance, can't figure out how to do this with SARDU.

bol
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by:Thomas Zucker-Scharff
I believe the answer is yes.  Just run SARDU. Download the ISOs/IMGs/Torrents that you want and click "Make Bootable USB" (make sure you have a USB with sufficient space attached first).
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by:b0lsc0tt
Thanks for the response and details.  The problem it seems is the ISO isn't something I need to download.  It really isn't even in the list the program has.  I discovered SARDU can download and will name the ISO specifically so it knows they are there.  However in this case the ISO is a custom one from a DVD.  I used "burning" software to create the ISO of the DVD but now I don't see how to get SARDU to use it.  If I rename the program to think it is another image (i.e. XP recovery or some similar option) then I am not sure it will run smooth.  In other words would it have a problem when the files or image isn't really what the name makes it seem?

If you don't know then I can try to open a question here.  I am also looking at other options but getting a little frustrated.  I had thought the issue would be getting the machines to boot from a USB drive (i.e. BIOS supporting this).  However that seems to be the easy part.
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by:younghv
b0lsc0tt:
Interesting question.
If you're still thinking of posting a question, do it over in the (generic) Hardware Zones. I'm sure some of those guys have done what you're looking for.

Also - I'd like to see the answer my own self.
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by:b0lsc0tt
Since others would be interested and I wouldn't mind the different audience I opened a question.

http://www.experts-exchange.com/Q_26483255.html

I am still interested in a response to my last comment if appropriate here. :)
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by:Thomas Zucker-Scharff
Unfortunately, I have not done exactly what you are asking.  I'm also interested in finding out what everyone else thinks.  My experience with SARDU is that given certain constraints it will boot to and execute whatever the image is.  So if it is booting to a CD disk recovery image (like f-secure, kapersky, avira, etc)it will act like you are using that disk - i.e. you burned a bootable cd/dvd/usb and booted to it.  To extrapolate, what you're intending should work.
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by:Thomas Zucker-Scharff
Also note that if you use the extra  (ISO/extra directory) and configure the menu accordingly you can put any of your own ISO images on the disk you want.  Another item will appear in the SARDU boot menu called Extra and in that will be the items you put in.

Configuring this is not a minor task.  You must enable Extra in SARDU (file -> Enable Extra).  Then you can add ISOs to the extra menu by using the EXTRA menu in SARDU (Extra -> Add Extra ISO (grub)).  Test this out as you may also need to use the add menu item in the Extra menu (depending on how you are doing this and what you are adding).
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by:nobus
hello, i'm making  the Sardu cd; and wonder how i can know the default names sardu will recognise?

anyway, tx for this post - very useful

also, i found a txt file saying " put in here your iso's"  what is this supposed to contain, and in what folder will these show?
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by:Thomas Zucker-Scharff
The easiest way to find default names is o download he ISOs.  If you already have them and just want to rename them, there is a list of the names on the SARDU forum (see the website and the forum link in he article).  For hose hat SARDU doesn't automatically download, a mouseover or click shows you he name it is looking for in order for the box o be checked.

The text file is a blank.  It just means put your ISOs in that directory.
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by:nobus
about the txt file - you mean i can put iso's in a txt file??
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by:Thomas Zucker-Scharff
No the text file is located in the sardu->ISO directory which is the same directory were all your ISOs should live (if hey are not there they will not be recognized by the SARDU program).

Did you find the list okay?  If not I can send you one.
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by:nobus
that is correct where it is.  but what is it's use then? probably i misunderstand what it's use is
i did not find the list, but when hovering , it showed 1 or more *signs for each iso
tx for the help
and if you send the list, it will be a help too
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by:Thomas Zucker-Scharff
It is just a text file to tell people by it's name that the ISOs for files they may already have need to be put in that directory.  It really doesn't say this anywhere else.  I will post the list as soon as I get back from my 1:00 meeting  which starts in 7 minutes.
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by:Thomas Zucker-Scharff
Hi again.  Here is what I have in my ISO directory:

02/07/2013  02:45 PM    <DIR>          .
09/22/2012  12:34 PM    <DIR>          ..
08/22/2012  03:32 PM       349,847,552 AcronisAntimalwareScanCD.iso
08/22/2012  03:45 PM       186,646,528 android-x86-4.0-RC2-s103t.iso
08/22/2012  03:54 PM       221,675,520 AOSS.iso
08/22/2012  01:54 PM        87,146,496 avg_arl_cdi_all_120_120525a5064.iso
08/22/2012  01:56 PM       398,151,680 bitdefender-rescue-cd.iso
05/11/2011  01:16 PM         4,700,160 cd110511.iso
08/22/2012  03:32 PM       117,440,512 clonezilla-live-1.2.12-67-i686-pae.iso
08/23/2012  08:17 AM       199,104,512 drweb-livecd-600.iso
08/23/2012  08:15 AM       331,190,272 escanrd.iso
08/23/2012  08:16 AM       240,793,600 GBR_R_FUL_2012_BootCD.iso
08/22/2012  03:42 PM       133,627,904 gparted-live-0.13.1-2.iso
08/08/2012  09:39 AM     3,586,887,680 InstallVista-32bit.iso
01/13/2010  02:31 PM       666,763,264 Install_XP_pro.iso.iso
02/13/2012  04:08 PM       700,519,680 Install_xp_x64_vl.iso
08/22/2012  03:32 PM       274,393,088 kav_rescue_10.iso
08/23/2012  08:15 AM       599,947,264 MRT_Ubuntu-MRT-v1-2.iso
05/21/2011  09:29 PM       417,214,464 OpenDiagnostics_stable.iso
08/22/2012  04:13 PM       530,579,456 ophcrack-vista-livecd-3.4.0.iso
08/22/2012  04:18 PM       445,644,800 ophcrack-xp-livecd-3.4.0.iso
09/12/2012  02:54 PM        63,594,496 paragon_boot_disk.iso
08/23/2012  08:36 AM        35,463,168 PING-3.02.iso
08/23/2012  08:31 AM       247,463,936 pmagic_2012_07_28_x86_64.iso
09/14/2012  11:25 AM                 0 PUT YOUR ISOs IN THIS FOLDER.TXT
08/23/2012  08:30 AM        44,744,704 pwhe7.iso
08/23/2012  08:36 AM       224,409,600 redobackup-livecd-1.0.3.iso
08/22/2012  01:54 PM       147,156,992 rescue-cd-3.16-52606.iso
08/22/2012  02:01 PM       263,444,480 rescue_system-common-en.iso
08/22/2012  03:31 PM       225,832,960 SafeCD.iso
08/22/2012  03:46 PM       399,702,016 systemrescuecd-x86-2.8.1.iso
08/23/2012  08:34 AM       158,404,608 trinity-rescue-kit.3.4-build-372.iso
08/23/2012  08:54 AM       377,266,176 UBCD511.iso
08/22/2012  01:46 PM       735,358,976 ubuntu-12.04-desktop-i386.iso
01/12/2012  05:45 PM     1,077,608,448 U_B_C_D_4_Win.iso
08/23/2012  08:18 AM       116,881,408 vbarescue.iso
01/06/2011  12:52 PM     2,400,550,912 win7pro.iso
09/14/2012  08:49 AM       328,343,552 Win7Rescue_spotmau2012.iso
03/12/2007  03:58 PM       656,203,776 windows98.iso
09/14/2012  01:07 PM    <DIR>          ISO_Extra
09/22/2012  12:35 PM    <DIR>          isolinux
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by:nobus
ok , tx for the list
i have another question now - lol
i saw , after downloading UBUNTU, and seeing it marked with the radio button, and checkmark, that in the ISO folder there is no trace of the MRT_UBUNTU.ISO file
the ubuntu file is only an example, there are many more; this makes it difficult to know what i have downloaded, or not yet
also, in the Windows Tab; when i click the Windows XP (first button) it links to an adf.ly site, that cannot be opened, and so do several others, but others do open correct

any info on this??
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by:Thomas Zucker-Scharff
Note, that at least when I made my last disk, it was looking for ubuntu-12.04-desktop-i386.iso as the ubuntu distro.  Same thing with other files, the UBCD4win file needs to be named U_B_C_D_4_Win.iso (I downloaded it separetly updated it and renamed it then put it in the ISO directory).  For WinXP I would suggest geting he ISO from your own disk and renaming to the one it needs. For insance it registers I have WinXP Pro if the file is named Install_XP_pro.iso.iso (I believe the exact syntax is Install_XP_*.iso).  See also the file name I have for the x64 version.  In terms of the XP recovery disk I just downloaded it (rc.iso) with no problem.

the adf.ly (lyberian) site opens fine for me in chrome, but I would not download their ilivid downloader.  Look for the file elsewhere - I did a quick look and it seems win7 downloads are available here:

http://www.mydigitallife.info/download-windows-7-iso-official-32-bit-and-64-bit-direct-download-links/

You can get virtually any microsoft download from microsoft itself - you just need a license to install. (not sure about recovery disks)
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by:Thomas Zucker-Scharff
I just found this site for  win7 downloads which I think is better.

http://techfleece.com/2012/10/18/download-windows-7-install-disks-legally-for-free/
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by:Thomas Zucker-Scharff
Forgot to say to download and rename to the name given when you mouse over the item in SARDU.
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by:nobus
ok  tx for the info - have a nice weekend
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by:Thomas Zucker-Scharff
You too.
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Expert Comment

by:cfourkays
Hi Thomas,
I use UBCD4WIN and Spotmau Golden and am interested in trying SARDU.
Problem is I haven't found which is their download link on the site. So far I've managed to catch a number of third party ads, no SARDU.
Pete
BTW, found you on the "NEW" Experts-Exchange website.
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by:Thomas Zucker-Scharff
http://www.sarducd.it/downloads takes you to the download page. If I recall you need to rename the Your spotmau disk image to the win 7 Name on order for it to properly launch
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by:cfourkays
Thanks, didn't realize you had to go through Facebook and Softpedia to get there.
Also a fan of d7II.  You're right about Spotmau.
Pete
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