Build the ultimate bootable Windows repair drive

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.

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 (256GB or 512GB) USB drive and the right software. This kind of setup works splendidly with Windows 7, 8, 8.1, 10, and 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 part explains that improved performance may justify the cost of an NVMe SSD and a compatible USB drive enclosure. The third introduces a carefully curated collection of ISO files, with brief explanations of what they can do, what they contain, and where to find and download them.

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