OK, here's the results of my tests...
create a bootable DVD which boots normally and can be RAM loaded (optional BootSDI) which contains any type of files, including large backup images on the same disk easily accessed from PE for restoring HD backups, driver archives etc. It's very easy but there are a few limitations; the DVD, though RW capable, will not be writable (through normal means) from PE, only readable. If you want to add or change files on the 'backup' portion of the disk, this must be done with an ISO editor (PowerISO works great, don't know about others or freeware alternatives). I'm personally very
happy with this setup. I've successfully restored hard disk images saved to the DVD using Ghost, PowerQuest and Acronis without issue...
Also, opened, copied and restored driver backups saved on the same disk (many possibilities here)
Here's how easy it is (using PowerISO, in my case):
Open your favorite LiveXP/nativeEx boot disk (CD) or ISO (the bootable part won't be changed) in PowerISO
Add a folder to save all your files to (I named mine 'Backup')
drag (copy) any files, backup images etc. you want into this folder (up to the 4.7/8.5GB disk capacity) and save your new bootable DVD or ISO (for burning later); either way, your new disk contents will look like this
Note: The bootable part of this disk is the same as it was before; if the bootable disk was 140MB on the original CD/ISO, then it's still 140MB! The additional 2, 3, 4GB (or more) is just 'along for the ride' - This may be 'technically' incorrect (I know it's part of the new bootable ISO
) but for example, if you are utilizing bootsdi RAM loading (highly
recommended!), only the 140MB is loaded into RAM!, the rest just stays on the DVD for easy access from inside PE. This is important to note because, as we were attempting to do it before, the whole ISO image, backup and all was being loaded as part of the boot image (unless you have 8-10GB of RAM, this is a problem!). So this is an easy, flexible solution for what I believe
flyfishin4trout was trying to accomplish.