Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Know To Boot From A USB Flash Drive

I found below story in http://www.bootdisk.com/  

For starters this is still a new science and many people have had good luck with at least one of these methods and others have not. Note that flash drives are often also called thumb drives, keychain drives, pendrives, etc. The NEWEST methods are listed last on this page, starting with Method 6 for Vista/Win7
1. The PC has to support booting from a USB flash/pen/key drive. There may be anywhere from 1-3 items to change in the BIOS to make this possible assuming your BIOS supports it. Some bios's may refer to your flash drive as a USB floppy or USB zip. Of course there are exceptions, perhaps some are covered here.
2. The USB flash drive must support booting from it in general.
3. The flash drive must contain the boot/system files.
4. The flash drive must have bootsector area. This is done with special utilities.
5. References to "A:" drive lines in the autoexec.bat and/or config.sys files you copy to the drive after you make it bootable may result in errors.
6. You "may" have to format your floppy disk first in WinXP before you create a bootdisk as XP may "not" like working later on with a disk formatted otherwise.
7. Included below is a bootable ISO of DOS 7.1 which may be used with some of these methods if you do not have a 1.44 drive.

Method 1 - Make your flash drive bootable using Bart's mkbt util:
http://www.nu2.nu/mkbt/ | Alt: mkbt20.zip

Put a bootable floppy disk in your A: drive or create one using Windows.
Download mkbt20.zip and unpack to to new temp folder you create.
Go to the temp folder.
Extract the bootsector from the bootable floppy disk. eg Open a DOS Window and go to the directory where you extracted MKBT. Type:

mkbt -c a: bootsect.bin
The boot sectors from the bootable floppy disk have just been saved to a file in the temp folder you created.
Format the flash drive in FAT or FAT16.
Copy the bootsector to the flash drive. Open a DOS Window and go to the folder where you extracted MKBT. Type:
mkbt -x bootsect.bin Z:
"Z" represents the flash drive drive Letter. So if your flash drive has another drive letter, then change the "Z" accordingly.
Now you can [grin] "should" be able to copy the utils you need to the pen drive.

Method 2 - Try these 2 HP/Compaq USB Flash Drive Utilities. They work with many other brands of flash drives as well.
hpflash2.zip HP USB Disk Storage Format Tool

HP Drive Key Boot Utility Version 7.41

"I would put a little extra in there." Says a fan who emailed me with no name:)
For the downloads section I use nLite to make and create the image file as you can import the service packs and do some tweaking to the install files.
1. Install the HP USB Disk Storage Format Tool and run the program.
2. Select the Device and the File system from the drop down menus and click start.
3. Close the above program and install and run the HP Drive Key Boot Utility. Selecting the appropriate drive letter. Click Next.
4.Select the circle on the top that says create New or Replace Existing Configuration. Click Next.
5. Select the circle labeled Hard Drive. Click Next.
6. Select Create New Filesystem. Click Next.
7. Select the circle labeled HP Firmware Flash Package. Click Next.
Click Finish

Method 3 - Third Party Links
Boot off USB by floppy, CD, or NT boot menu when your computer doesn't support it
"I use it to boot off of USB by floppy when the computer doesn't support it - although in this mode it cannot save changes made to the setup." said Josh.

Method 4 - A Bootdisk.Com Visitor Suggested
Here is my another method for creating dos bootable USB sticks using windows format.
1. From Win98 DOS-Prompt type "SYS {USBDriveLetter}:" or "FORMAT {USBDriveLetter} /U /S". If from WinXp then from start->run command.com execute format.exe copied from win95 or win98.
2. Simply by enabling copy system files in windows explorer format window. By default it is disabled for non-floppy drives. To enable it use windows enabler program from http://www.angelfire.com/falcon/speedload/Enabler.htm an whoila it works.

Method 5 - Another Bootdisk.Com Fan Suggested - Thanks Keith
First if you don't have a physical floppy drive (and don't want one) you can use the [free] "virtual floppy driver" from here:
With that you get an A: drive and can manipulate a floppy image as if you were using real floppy. You can then use that image to make a bootable CD. It's not that user friendly but once you get how it works it does work perfectly.
Even cooler you can use a "raw write" utility like dd for windows to write the floppy image directly to your USB thumb drive. Even without that famous HP utility to do the magic this will make your USB thumb drive bootable. The 'dd' ported to Windows is located here:
Another trick you can use with that dd utility involves MS VritualPC (which is free). You can create a virtual machine/virtual hard drive, set it up the way you want then use dd to "raw write" the virtual hard drive image to the thumb drive; this will make the thumb drive identical to the image, including bootable (again, no HP utilities required).
Of course, your thumb drive will effectively have the capacity the size if the image in question (your 1GB flash drive will effectively be 1.44 Megs).

Method 6 - Don Wrote
bootable USB guide, here we assume that you are using either Vista or Windows 7 to create a bootable USB.
1. Insert your USB (4GB+ preferable) stick to the system and backup all the data from the USB as we are going to format the USB to make it as bootable.
2. Open elevated Command Prompt. To do this, type in CMD in Start menu search field and hit Ctrl + Shift + Enter. Alternatively, navigate to Start > All programs >Accessories > right click on Command Prompt and select run as administrator.
3. When the Command Prompt opens, enter the following command:
DISKPART and hit enter.
LIST DISK and hit enter.
Once you enter the LIST DISK command, it will show the disk number of your USB drive. In the below image my USB drive disk no is Disk 1.
4. In this step you need to enter all the below commands one by one and hit enter. As these commands are self explanatory, you can easily guess what these commands do.
SELECT DISK 1 (Replace DISK 1 with your disk number)
(Format process may take few seconds)

Don’t close the command prompt as we need to execute one more command at the next step. Just minimize it.
5. Insert your Windows DVD in the optical drive and note down the drive letter of the optical drive and USB media. Here I use “D” as my optical (DVD) drive letter and “H” as my USB drive letter.
6. Go back to command prompt and execute the following commands:
D:CD BOOT and hit enter. Where “D” is your DVD drive letter.
CD BOOT and hit enter to see the below message.

(Where “H” is your USB drive letter)
7. Copy Windows DVD contents to USB.
You are done with your bootable USB. You can now use this bootable USB as bootable DVD on any computer that comes with USB boot feature (most of the current motherboards support this feature).
Note that this bootable USB guide will not work if you are trying to make a bootable USB on XP computer.

BareBones Boot Floppy And ISO
DOS 7.10 | Readme

1 Responses to “Know To Boot From A USB Flash Drive”

rax said...
November 12, 2010 at 2:37 PM

hi,it is very informative. thanx.usb boot drive