On my previous article I had a comment about someone trying to access a dying computer where because of wrong drivers, tons of software and other reasons the system couldn’t boot anymore; this article explains my preferred methods of booting a dead/dying computer with an extenal media such as USB or a livecd and perform data recovery, password changes and so on.
:: Booting from USB Drive ::..
This is the slower method but is the more usable seen that not all the times you have your CD case with you so having the USB stick that is bootable and loaded with basic tools is always a good thing; I personally have my USB drive with the car keyholder
My choice goes to PEBuilder that is the most used and reliable technology to build bootable CD/DVDs; this article explains the entire process that enables you to create a WindowsXP bootable USB drive that can be used to access a dying/dead computer and many other useful things (E.g. change the lost local Administrator password!)
:: Booting from CD Drive ::..
Here my choice goes directly to the great UBCD4WIN (Ultimate Boot CD For Windows) that, with its list of preinstaleld tools, enables you to do many useful things directly from a WindowsXP livecd. This saved me a lot of times!!