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To test a Windows PE rescue CD without actually doing a restore, you can use other features on the rescue media to check it is working, (a) is a must but the other steps below help to test it is working without actually doing a restore. After doing (a) just select some or all from (b), (c) or (d) to build confidence in the rescue media:
(a) Boot your computer with the rescue media and make sure it boots, you may have to change the BIOS boot order so it boots from CD before your hard drive.
(b) Once the CD is booted Browse an Image backup in Windows Explorer, by selecting 'Explore Image' from the 'Restore' menu....
(c) Create an Image backup
(d) Create a File and folder backup
The benefit of doing (b), (c) or (d) using the Destination hard drive (such as a USB external hard drive) is that it checks you have the correct PE version in the rescue media. For instance if you have created Windows PE 3.1 but have a USB3 external hard drive then the rescue media will need additional drivers to see USB3. In this case you would need Windows PE 5 or 10 and not 3.1 to see the USB3 drive.
Hope this helps