ATi Catalyst 8.5 Drivers Out

ATi has just released the Catalyst 8.5 drivers for Windows XP and Vista, you can download a copy here (hotlinking to the actual driver page is disabled).

The entire 8.x line has been of sub-par quality to date (8.3 and 8.4 in particular, which seem to crash randomly on a large percentage of Vista machines), hopefully the 8.5 release can provide a much-needed boost in terms of quality and stability.

It’s obviously too early to tell if the 8.5 releases addresses these issues, which are not listed in the release notes, but it’s possible that some of the causes of the problem have been resolved as a result of one or more of the bugfixes in this version.

Want UAC-Free iReboot? You got it: iReboot 1.1 released!

Back in August of 2007, NeoSmart Technologies released iReboot 1.0 – a tiny application that sits quietly and unobtrusively in the taskbar and is used to select which OS you’d like to reboot into.

iReboot isn’t by any means a major application, but it’s gathered a pretty strong following over the months, mostly by people interested in boosting productivity (or increasing laziness) to the max. But there was one flaw in iReboot that made all the hard work we put into making it as unobtrusive and minimalistic as possible almost meaningless: if you had UAC enabled, iReboot will not run automatically at startup, no matter what you do.

This behavior comes as a result of the architecture that Microsoft used to secure Windows Vista, which doesn’t allow for applications requiring admin approval to run at startup. It doesn’t matter what your application does or if you absolutely trust it beyond the shadow of the doubt, Windows Vista simply won’t let an application that runs in elevated privileges mode to launch at startup – end of story.

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Windows Vista SP1, Adobe Audition, and DEP

For anyone attempting to install or use Adobe Audition on Windows Vista SP1, you can forget about it. Something about Adobe Audition or one of its dependencies causes it to crash immediately on startup, with Vista informing you that it has "rescued" your system from an attempted DEP violation.

The "good news" is, if you’re on Windows Vista SP1 x86, DEP doesn’t get in the way as often. And for when it does, Windows Vista x86 lets you disable DEP and continue along on your merry way. But Windows Vista x64 isn’t as forgiving – even after you use a program like EasyBCD to disable DEP entirely, you can’t stop hardware-based DEP or exempt software from the protection list on 64-bit operating systems.

Adobe has yet to provide an official (or even an unofficial) response on the matter; but seeing as Adobe hasn’t properly touched the Audition code-base since buying out Cool Edit Pro, it’s probably safe to assume we won’t be seeing an update anytime too soon. (for instance, Adobe Audition 3.0, released in Sep. of 2007, still doesn’t have that omnipresent 3.0.1 patch out yet).

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Download: Windows Vista x64 Recovery Disc

This disk can be used to access system recovery tools, giving you options of using an antivirus, System Restore, document and picture backup and recovery, automated system repair, and a command-line prompt for manual advanced recovery.

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Recovery Disk for Windows Vista x64

Windows Vista Logo Ever since we first made available the Windows Vista Recovery Disc for download back in January, we’ve been inundated with requests for an x64-compatible version. Flash-forward to three months later, and it’s finally here!

If you don’t already know what the Windows Vista Recovery Disc is and what’s used for, take a quick look at the original article – good luck catching up on the half-a-thousand comments there!

Note that this download is no longer free, due to licensing restrictions imposed upon us.

What it does: The Windows Vista Recovery Disc can be used to access a system recovery menu, giving you options of using an antivirus program, System Restore, Complete PC Backup, automated system repair, and a command-line prompt for manual advanced recovery.

What it doesn’t do: You cannot use the Windows Vista Recovery Disc to re-install Windows – it only fixes (not replaces!) Windows.

Why you need it: If you bought your PC from a major retailer, you didn’t get this CD with your hefty purchase.

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Vista SP1 Doesn’t Kill Software, Bad Coders Do

You can always trust The Register to do what it can to twist the facts into a nice, juicy headline. This time, it’s about Windows Vista SP1, and the very short list of software that’s adversely affected by its installation.

Don’t get this wrong: we’ve got our own reservations about SP1 (between performance and usability – or, more accurately, the lack thereof). But Microsoft is not to blame because certain system tools and utilities won’t run on Windows Vista SP1 when it’s released in March.

According to The Register, "Vista SP1 kills and maims security apps, utilities" and that it’s somehow Microsoft’s fault that antivirus/firewall software by BitDefender, Jiangmin, Trend Micro, and Zone Alarm no longer works on SP1 – but it seems they forgot to mention two facts:

  1. It’s bad coding habits that breaks these utilities.
  2. Thanks to pre-release builds of Vista SP1, all 5 malware-protection programs have updated versions available that are Vista SP1 compatible and shouldn’t give their users any problems come mid-March and SP1.

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Windows Vista SP1 Pre-Slipstreamed DVD Images Available

Following the recent RTM of Microsoft’s long-awaited Service Pack 1 for Windows Vista, Microsoft has created (for limited release) pre-slipstreamed installation media intended for the distribution of PCs with newly-installed copies of Windows Vista.

With Windows Vista, the process of slipstreaming a service pack is no longer as simple as it once was as a result of the new WinPE/WIM based installation procedure. Since the installation media is packaged as a filesystem image, it’s no longer as trivial of a matter to unpack, update, and repack the setup files and ensure they’d still work. With Windows Vista, the only way to create a slipstreamed installation DVD is to install Vista RTM, apply the service pack, then create an image from the newly-installed OS.

This new procedure has multiple drawbacks, including the fact that it can lead to huge installation media sizes, unnecessary bloat, and has been known to create compatibility issues – unless, of course, it’s Microsoft that’s making the image in the first place.

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How to Repair the Windows Vista Bootloader

There’s a section of the EasyBCD documentation/user manual/wiki that contains more than just information on how to use the program. If you’ve corrupted your bootloader, run into one or more bootmgr-related errors, installed Windows XP or Linux after installing Vista, or otherwise managed to fry, crack, melt, or break the Vista bootloader, then here’s how you fix it.

We’ve compiled information from over twos-years’ worth of experience with fixing broken bootloaders into a single guide, broken up into subsections for varying levels of damage to the bootloader. If you can get into Windows, we advise that you download & install EasyBCD, then follow the instructions in this section of the guide to repair the Vista bootloader from within Windows.

If your bootloader is so damaged that you cannot get into a Windows operating system, then get your Windows Vista DVD out and boot from it. If you don’t have a Windows Vista DVD, grab a copy of our Windows Vista Recovery DVD instead, stick it in your CD-ROM drive, and prepare to boot from it.

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Hotlinking of Vista Recovery Disc Disabled

The Windows Vista Recovery Disc ISO image that we published a couple of days ago has been a hugely-popular success – thank you all for your interest and your links. Unfortunately, we’ve had a lot of people (*cough* Chinese download sites *cough*) hotlinking the image directly, and as a result we’ve been forced to take certain measures.

The Windows Vista Recovery Disc is a 120 MiB download, and our bandwidth has jumped quite drastically since making it publicly available. Effective immediately, all hotlinked requests to the ISO image are being redirected to the download page, we ask you (quite humbly) to refrain from linking directly to the image file.

We haven’t done anything evil like disabling the usage of download managers or any other such nefarious actions that would bring the wrath of our beloved readers upon us though; so no worries :)

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Windows Vista Recovery Disk and Repair Disc Download

Download our recovery and repair disk for Microsoft Windows Vista (also available for Windows 7, 8, XP, 10, 11 or Windows Server editions) that can be used to access system recovery tools, giving you options of using an antivirus, System Restore, document and picture backup and recovery, automated system repair, and a command-line prompt for manual advanced recovery.

Download recovery disk for Windows Vista

Looking for recovery disks for other Windows versions?

Easy Recovery Essentials for Windows Vista

Easy Recovery Essentials (or EasyRE) is a 55 to 135 MiB download image ready to be burned directly to a CD, DVD or a USB stick.

Features of Easy Recovery Essentials include:

  • Automatically find and fix errors
  • Works even when you can’t get into Windows
  • Recover from virus infections
  • Restore your PC to a working state
  • Access and back up your important data
  • Use your PC even when it doesn’t work
  • Advanced tools for IT experts

Disk for recovery & repair

If you’re like most PC users, you probably got Windows Vista with a new PC or laptop. And if you’re like 99% of the population, you get your new machines from one of the major manufacturers.

Dell, Acer, HP, Toshiba, Lenovo, they all have one thing in common: they don’t give you a real Windows Vista installation disk with your purchase.

Instead, they bundle what they call a “recovery disk” (that’s if you’re lucky – otherwise you’ll have a recovery partition instead) with your machine and leave it at that.

It doesn’t matter that you just paid a thousand dollars for a machine that comes with a valid Windows Vista license – your computer manufacturer just don’t want to spend the money (or perhaps take on the responsibility) of giving you a Windows Vista installation DVD to accompany your expensive purchase.

The problem is, with Windows Vista, the installation media serves more than one purpose. It’s not just a way to get Windows installed, it’s also the only way of recovering a borked installation.

The DVD has a “recovery center” that provides you with the option of recovering your system via automated recovery (searches for problems and attempts to fix them automatically), rolling-back to a system restore point, recovering a full PC backup, or accessing a command-line recovery console for advanced recovery purposes.

Download recovery disk for Windows Vista

Windows Vista Logo Easy Recovery Essentials repair process is non-destructive, recovering PCs without formatting or reinstalling Windows.

The powerful repair process can fix many issues that Microsoft’s own Startup Repair cannot. In addition to the industry-leading automated repair features, this disk will give you access to the following:

  • System Restore
  • Web Browser
  • Partition Editor
  • Antivirus Scanner
  • Data/File Backup and Recovery
  • Commandline/Terminal Access

Later update: Please note that this download is no longer free, due to licensing restrictions imposed upon us.

Download Easy Recovery Essentials for Windows Vista

Our recovery disk supports x86 and x64 platforms and all Windows Vista versions, including 32-bit and 64-bit editions:

  • Windows Vista Ultimate (32-bit and 64-bit editions)
  • Windows Vista Enterprise (32-bit and 64-bit editions)
  • Windows Vista Business (32-bit and 64-bit editions)
  • Windows Vista Home Premium (32-bit and 64-bit editions)
  • Windows Vista Home Basic (32-bit and 64-bit editions)
  • Windows Vista Starter (32-bit edition)

And all Service Packs:

  • Windows Vista Service Pack 1 (SP1)
  • Windows Vista Service Pack 2 (SP2)

This disk is a 120 MiB download in standard ISO format that you’ll need to burn to a CD or DVD before you can use it as a bootable recovery medium. You can also burn it on a USB stick.

You cannot use a recovery or repair disk to install or reinstall Windows Vista.

Burn to CDs, DVDs or USB sticks

NeoSmart Technologies has published a guide on how to burn an ISO image to CD or DVD with your favorite burning program, which you can read if you need more information or help on this topic. You can burnt it with ImgBurn, Alcohol 120% or ActiveISO:

You can also burn it on a USB stick if you don’t want to use CDs or DVDs. We published a guide on making a EasyRE recovery USB.

Compatible with PC manufacturers

This recovery and repair disk is compatible with desktops, workstations, laptops, notebooks, netbooks, ultrabooks and servers from major PC manufacturers, like Dell, HP, Asus, Acer or Lenovo plus more.

Dell, HP, Asus, Acer


The disk is compatible with all Dell laptops and desktop computers, including all its manufactured series like Adamo, Inspiron, Studio, Vostro, XPS, Latitude.

Do you have a Dell computer running Windows Vista? Read our Dell recovery and restore guide.


The disk is compatible with HP computers: ENVY, EliteBook, Essential Home, Pavilion and x2 for laptops and ENVY, Essential Home and Pavilion for desktops and All-in-One Desktop PCs.

Do you have a HP computer running Windows Vista? Read our HP recovery and restore guide.


It’s compatible with notebooks, ultrabooks, laptops and desktops from ASUS.

It works for any computer that was manufactured by ASUS, if it runs Windows XP, Vista, 7, 8 or any of the following Windows Server editions: 2003, 2008, 2012.

Do you have an Asus computer running Windows Vista? Read our Asus recovery and restore guide.


It’s compatible with any Acer computer that has Windows installed, including these manufactured series:

  • Aspire R, Aspire V3 and Aspire E for notebooks
  • Aspire S7, Aspire S5, Aspire S3, Aspire P, Aspire M, Aspire V7, Aspire V5 for ultra-thin computers
  • Aspire One for netbooks
  • Aspire M and T, Aspire X and Predator G for desktops

Do you have an Acer computer running Windows Vista? Read our Acer recovery and restore guide.

Lenovo, Toshiba, Samsung


You can download the repair disk for any Lenovo computers, such as:

  • ThinkPad, IdeaPad, Essential series for laptops
  • Thinkcentre, Ideacentre and Essentials series for desktop PCs

Do you have a Lenovo computer running Windows Vista? Read our Lenovo recovery and restore guide.


It’s compatible with any Toshiba computers running Windows:

  • Satellite, Qosmio, Portege, Tecra, Kira family series
  • All-in-One desktop series

Do you have a Toshiba computer running Windows Vista? Read our Toshiba recovery and restore guide.


The disk is compatible with Samsung line of laptops and desktops, including:

  • ATIV Book, Gaming and Business PC series for laptops
  • ATIV One for All-in-One desktops

IBM, Compaq, Gateway, eMachines


IBM personal computer business division was acquired by Lenovo in 2005.

This disk supports IBM desktop and laptop models, most notably the ThinkPad line.


Compaq was acquired by HP in 2002, but some of its famous PC line series are still used by our customers.

Our disk works with Compaq notebooks and desktops PCs, including Compaq Presario series.


Gateway Computer was acquired by Acer in 2007.

Our disk is compatible with Gateway Computers netbooks, notebooks and desktops PCs, such as:

  • Series SX, DX and One ZX for desktop systems
  • NE and NV series for notebooks
  • LT series for netbooks

Do you have a Gateway computer running Windows Vista? Read our Gateway recovery and restore guide.


eMachines PCs were manufactured up until 2004 when Gateway Computers brought the company. Gateway Computers was later acquired by Acer in 2007, but the eMachines PC brand was used until 2012.

If you own a computer from this computer brand, our disk is compatible with eMachines PCs.

Disk for Windows 7, 8, XP or Server editions

Windows 7

You can get our recovery disk for Windows 7. It supports all versions: Ultimate, Enterprise, Professional, Home Premium, Home Basic and Starter.

Download for Windows 7.

Windows 8

You can also get the recovery disk for Windows 8.

Download for Windows 8.

Windows XP

Easy Recovery Essentials is available for Windows XP users and it supports all Service Packs: Service Pack 1 (SP1), Service Pack 2 (SP2) and Service Pack 3 (SP3).

Windows Server 2003, 2008, 2012

Easy Recovery Essentials supports Microsoft Windows Server editions: 2003, 2008 and 2012.


Our disk supports all Windows service packs (Windows XP SP1, Windows XP SP2, Windows XP SP3, Windows Vista SP1, Windows Vista SP2, Windows 7 SP1, Windows 7 SP2, Windows 8.1, Windows Server 2003 R2, Windows Server 2008 R2, and Windows Server 2012 R2.

Please don’t ask for help below, it’ll get real cluttered real soon! Open a support thread at and we’ll help you resolve your problem ASAP.

Vista’s Purple Screen of Death

We’ve all heard of (and, quite unfortunately, experienced) the infamous Blue Screen of Death. Some of us who tested the earlier Windows Vista beta builds had the unique experience of trying out the Red of Screen Death, which occurred when the bootloader experienced an un-handled exception (we experienced more than our fair share of these during the early days of EasyBCD development!). And then there’s Vista’s Purple Screen of Death, which few have seen.

Vista Purple Screen of Death 

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