Bootable media

  Bootable media  

Bootable media is physical media (CD, DVD, USB drive or other media supported by a machine BIOS as a boot device) that boots on any PC-compatible machine and enables you to run Acronis Backup & Recovery 10 Agent either in a Linux-based environment or Windows Preinstallation Environment (WinPE), without the help of an operating system. Bootable media is most often used to:

  • recover an operating system that cannot start
  • access and back up the data that has survived in a corrupted system
  • deploy an operating system on bare metal
  • create basic or dynamic volumes on bare metal
  • back up sector-by-sector a disk with an unsupported file system
  • back up offline any data that cannot be backed up online because of restricted access, being permanently locked by the running applications or for any other reason.

A machine can be booted into the above environments either with physical media, or using the network boot from Acronis PXE Server, Windows Deployment Services (WDS) or Remote Installation Services (RIS). These servers with uploaded bootable components can be thought of as a kind of bootable media too. You can create bootable media or configure the PXE server or WDS/RIS using the same wizard.

  Linux-based bootable media  

Linux-based media contains Acronis Backup & Recovery 10 Bootable Agent based on Linux kernel. The agent can boot and perform operations on any PC-compatible hardware, including bare metal and machines with corrupted or non-supported file systems. The operations can be configured and controlled either locally or remotely using the management console.

  PE-based bootable media  

PE-based bootable media contains a minimal Windows system called Windows Preinstallation Environment (WinPE) and Acronis Plug-in for WinPE, that is, a modification of Acronis Backup & Recovery 10 Agent that can run in the preinstallation environment.

WinPE proved to be the most convenient bootable solution in large environments with heterogeneous hardware.


  • Using Acronis Backup & Recovery 10 in Windows Preinstallation Environment provides more functionality than using Linux-based bootable media. Having booted PC-compatible hardware into WinPE, you can use not only Acronis Backup & Recovery 10 Agent, but also PE commands and scripts and other plug-ins you’ve added to the PE.
  • PE-based bootable media helps overcome some Linux-related bootable media issues such as support for certain RAID controllers or certain levels of RAID arrays only. Media based on PE 2.x, that is, Windows Vista or Windows Server 2008 kernel, allows for dynamic loading of the necessary device drivers.

Where to go from here

How to create bootable media

Connecting to a machine booted from media

Working under bootable media

List of commands and utilities available in Linux-based bootable media

Recovering MD devices and logical volumes

Acronis PXE Server

Bootable media