Build the ultimate bootable Windows repair drive

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I’ve learned to keep a collection of useful Windows tools and repair environments around. They help me restart, troubleshoot, and — if necessary — repair Windows installations that are having difficulties. These could be related to hardware problems, Windows updates gone bad, device or driver issues, and a whole lot more.

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I keep all these tools on a single USB drive that I like to call the ultimate bootable Windows repair drive. Interested in building your own? You just need a modestly sized (around 256GB) USB drive and the right software, and it works with Windows 7, 8, 8.1, 10, and even 11 installations.

My technique relies on a special foundational tool called Ventoy, along with a collection of ISO files from which Ventoy will boot a Windows PC. The first part of this story introduces and explains Ventoy. The second introduces a carefully curated collection of ISO files, with brief explanations of what they can do, what they contain, and where to download them.

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Ventoy provides the foundation

Ventoy is an open-source project found on GitHub. It describes itself as a means to create a bootable USB drive that can boot to any of a number of file types, including:

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