How to run Vista in RAM only, possibly started from USB



Question is in the title. I want to do that because I need to scan and test my only physical hard drive. Unfortunately, the diagnostic program requires to be installed in Windows (Data Lifeguard Diagnostic for Windows, by Western Digital).

So what I would like to do is install it in a virtual Vista, in RAM only (or on a bootable DVD or USB key, anything but my hard drive). That means getting a working Vista on one of these devices and then being able to install a program on this Vista.

How would I do that?

Thank you for any help!
Last edited:
Thank you Terry, alas I know about this page. I should have been more precise. v1.17 of the program does not work for many people (refer to this thread, where I'm SectorFoe) , so I used v1.13 which works.
I did try the ISO file that was in your link and it appeared to have the same error as the "for Windows" version 1.17. And I can't find the previous version of that ISO.
Basically only the "for Windows" works for me, hence my thread :smile:

Computer Guru, thanks. I'm not sure how I could even start doing that bootable PE version though (I don't even have my own version of Vista, it is deeply bundled with manufacturer stuff in a hidden partition: Hate that by the way :tongueout:)

So... After several days of research and countless attempts at fixing my hard drive (who after a forced manual shutdown, woke up with 3 bad sectors but is otherwise awesomely healthy), I guess I'm going to change it with the warranty (which itself is bringing several time consuming consequences, that's why I wanted to fix my HDD so much)

Thank you both :smile:
Last edited:
For anyone who has similar problem with Data Lifeguard Diagnostic in the future:

Nowhere on the internet does it seem to be a solution. This issue (CauseWay error 11: Dos reported an error or corrupt file found.) has been running around for at least 3-4 years (that does say things about Western Digital doesn't it :tongueout:).

No matter how many times you redownload and burn the iso, you get this error. Solution: The ISO version of that program will only work in IDE mode, not ACPI. Had to change the setting in bios before booting off the CD. Now if that's not enough and you run, after a successful boot, into a "Unable to locate the License Agreement file, DLGLICE.TXT!!!", I suggest you try to boot the CD from an USB CD/DVD reader instead. If you don't have one, use the ISO from Ultimate Boot CD. It contains the Data Lifeguard Diagnostic program, and it does work (at least in IDE).

Unfortunately, it was unable to relocate my bad sectors during the repair (error 0226), and tells me to change the drive. Gotta do it now I guess!
Last edited:
Solution: The ISO version of that program will only work in IDE mode, not ACPI
Thanks for this info, SectorMan. I could not get dlgdiag to run until I found your post and tried IDE mode. Additionally, my Asus motherboard has two IDE modes: "Enhanced" and "Compatible". When I tried "Enhanced", dlgdiag ran but it gave me the error "ERROR 0120: An unknown error has occurred during testing. This may be an anomaly. Check connections and retest. If the error repeats, replace the drive." So I tried "Compatible" mode and was able to run the full test. The test took about 2 hours on my 500GB drive and resulted in Error 0226 at the end.
Unfortunately, it was unable to relocate my bad sectors during the repair (error 0226), and tells me to change the drive. Gotta do it now I guess!
I don't know if this next part will be helpful to you at this point, but it might be helpful to another person who finds this thread:

My drive was not accessible in Windows, it was giving me the 0226 error, it was out of warranty, it contained important files, I didn't want to pay a data recovery service to retrieve those files, so I used TestDisk to recover them. What I did was create a bootable USB drive version of the Ultimate Boot Disk (I had to use the latest beta version because the USB creator on version 4.11 does not work with 64-bit Windows) which I used to start Parted Magic. In Parted Magic I used the Analyse function of TestDisk according to these instructions, then I hit "P" to list the files on the bad drive and "C" to copy them over to a good drive. IMPORTANT: Your BIOS must be in IDE Compatible mode or TestDisk will not be able to see your destination drive! (The copying process will run but will not actually do anything.) You will know TestDisk can see the drive if after hitting "C" and being prompted to pick a destination you can go to media/sdb1 (or sdc1 or whatever your good drive happens to be called) and you can freely navigate within its folders. I had about 250GB of data to copy, and it took 36 hours to successfully recover it all.