The importance of the ERD for your Windows NT operating system isn't taken seriously enough. I have seen too many times how people lose important files or folders located on their desktops because their system blue screened. A system will blue screen if a driver file changes or a piece of hardware has changed (such as an NIC card at work or a modem at home).
There are many other reasons why an NT system can blue screen, and most of the time when I ask a person about an ERD that person has no idea what I am talking about.
This should never happen in today's IT community. Sure, most corporate users have their files backed up on their intranets and for the most part they are secure. But how many users do you know who take their computers home to do work or have files on their desktops that do not get backed up?
An ERD can save IT administrators a lot of time when it comes to recovering system files and getting systems up and running fast. Normally a system failure such as a blue screen will take two to three hours to get a computer back up and running. That is if the help desk provides a good response time. Not many companies I know of today can respond that fast. With an ERD it shouldn't take more than half an hour, and employees can do it themselves.
An ERD disk will take only minutes to create and should be updated whenever a system changes -- if a new software program is loaded or if new hardware is added.
Maintaining the ERD is as important as making regular backups and should be added to your maintenance procedures. The ERD can repair and restore Partition Boot Sectors, system and environment files, and registry information.
You can follow this link to learn more about ERDs.
About the author: Mark Stabnow is an IT Administrator II who has worked for more than 15 years in the IT industry. He is a Certified A+/Network + Administrator.
This was first published in March 2001