Volatus

"j". Just "j", when attempting to boot from USB

20 posts in this topic

I must say, what an exciting project! I just wish it would work.

The tools that are provided to prepare a USB drive for booting are shady at best. The HP format tool is known to create an MS-DOS startup drive on USB, not boot to NTLDR or setupldr.bin. That other USB-booter seems to be designed to do something else and it doesn't write anything on the drive. It just seems to be another format tool.

As a result, I think my USB drive was left with the old bootsector or boot data, and as a result, it doesn't boot for crap. All it does it just print the single letter "j" on my screen and freeze, when it goes to boot from the USB drive. And yes, my boot order is correct (the HDD would say "NTDLR is missing" because it's a blank NTFS partition, and there's no CD in the drive). It's happened twice on the computer I'm working with now.

While I stare in awe at the awesome work done by the USB-WinXP-install crew (or guy?), I can't help but say "It doesn't work for me".

Anything I should try? Meanwhile, I'm back at using a DVD+RW to burn my boot :(

edit: It need be mentioned. I'm using USB_MultiBoot7, not 8. Maybe there's a change but if I must say, the distribution system is very tacky and hard to understand. You should take a page from Nuhi's book on nLite distributions and make a new topic (with new version attached) each time there's an update, and rattle off relevant changes. I wanted to see if my bug/issue was fixed or addressed... but I can't be asked to make another self-extracting archive! ;)

edit edit: I did anyway. Behold, a single executable USB_MultiBoot_8.exe, packaged using WinRAR. USB_MultiBoot_8.exe

Edited by Volatus
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Hi,

I think you have issues with your USB stick, your problem has nothing to do with any of the batch files. Stuck at letter J as far as I remember indicates exactly problem with MBR and/or bootsector. It happened to me a few days ago while experimenting with different bootsectors and MBR, but can't recall what exactly I did.

None of the USB format ways helped me, neither writing zeros to whole stick. I had a backup image of the whole stick and just restored it. After that format worked fine. I don't have an explanation why this happens, may be jaclaz when gets back or somebody else can comment on this. Not saying that your case is this, just a possibility.

You may also try to find a low level format utility from the manufacturer of your stick.

About HP format utility- it can format BOTH with DOS and NT bootsector, you simply do NOT have to choose "create a DOS startup disk" option. This gives you NT bootsector, calling NTLDR.

The other tool which you didn't name, I guess it's PEtoUSB, works just fine too.

In short what you may try:

- write here what is your USB media, with details and how you formated it last few times

- try to find format utility from the manufacturer then format with PEtoUSB or HP USB format utility

- attach here a copy of your bootsector and MBR, easy to use is HDHacker for the purpose and be careful which HD you select.

Thanks for the suggestion on the updates and for the warm words :)

ilko

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Thanks for the help!

It's a Memorex TravelDrive (TD) Classic, 1gb. It is EXTREMELY fast (about as fast at random R/W and write as a hard drive) and I've totally f*cked it up over the years. Unfortunately there isn't a tool available such as Victoria, for USB Flash drives, so I can't do a low level format on it.

I'd assume, given that problem, that makers of so-called "USB boot" software would keep this (and the fact that _nobody_ in their right mind partitions a flash drive like they do a hard drive) in mind, and have their way with the MBR and boot sector instead of leaving it to chance like this.

Attached are what seem to be my flash drive's boot sector and MBR. What's strange is that all of my drives show a similar MBR... including the Flash drive.

BootSector_DriveF.rar

MBR_HardDisk2.rar

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Okay. I zeroed the drive at the physical level using WinHex (at least it's not a **** DOS tool and I could verify it was being done). It was then completely blank, all zeroes from sector 0 on.

Then I formatted it with PEtoUSB on the default options (Enable LBA checked).

Now I'm running USB_MultiBoot_8.cmd again on it. ;)

edit:

j

Just "j". I'm starting to hate that letter.

Edited by Volatus
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Have you been able to perform USB boot on the same motherboard, using the same USB stick?

To save you time- since only USB boot is your issue, do not use USB_multiboot until you ensure you can do USB boot.

How to test- after formatting just copy ntdetect.com, NTLDR from your XP source and create boot.ini on the USB stick:

boot.ini

[Boot Loader]
timeout=30
Default=multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(1)\WINDOWS
[Operating Systems]
multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(1)\WINDOWS="Test 1"
multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(2)partition(1)\WINDOWS="Test 2"

If you reach the menu TEST 1 and TEST 2, then you are good to go.

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Most likely your BIOS / motherboard does NOT Support Booting From USB.

See Help_Info\Help_USB_MultiBoot.txt Section A. 3

In the case of problems with booting from USB-Drive, it is advisable to do a BOOTTEST (see post of ilko_t)

to determine if your computer is able to boot from your USB-Drive.

If not successful, you have to use a different Computer / USB-Drive combination.

Edited by wimb
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You're right. It was the computer's BIOS. I booted the same key, with the same "j" problem, in another computer (finally given the opportunity), and it started up to the boot menu.

Yay!

Now I'm going to go install Windows on this new computer (as seen in my sig, Vista->XP computer #3), from USB for the first time :D

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Yep, I just checked the two files uploaded, and definitely there are (were ;)) some problems in the data in partition table.

The old partition was 06 (i.e. CHS) and however data was incorrect, it is strange that once the stick was blanked and reformatted as 0E (i.e. LBA) the error remained.

Most probably there is a kind of erroneus detection of the device that causes the problem.

If you really need to boot that stick on that motherboard that is giving you the "j" problem, there might be some workarounds, but it can be tricky, just post if you want/need to take that route, since you seem not to like "DOS" (read command line) apps and bunches of scattered files ;) I have to warn you that if the problem can be solved it will need a lot of testing with my two batch files, MBRBATCH.CMD and MKIMG.CMD:

http://www.boot-land.net/forums/index.php?showtopic=3191

jaclaz

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Nah. It was really just a convenience thing. Turns out that USB is no faster than DVD+/CD-RW anyway (actually quite a bit slower and less functional).

I have to admit I'm rather, eh, unimpressed by it. It stripped out a few options like entering my name and organization, time zone(!), and login details! Kinda important things. I was confused as heck as to why the clock got reset to totally the wrong time, 'til I saw it changed the timezone from the default (GMT -8), which happens to be where I live (so I never touch it). *shrug* At least, in this particular case, it saves me the trouble of coming up with reasonable values for this person's computer when I don't even remember their name... =P

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Nah. It was really just a convenience thing. Turns out that USB is no faster than DVD+/CD-RW anyway (actually quite a bit slower and less functional).

I have to admit I'm rather, eh, unimpressed by it. It stripped out a few options like entering my name and organization, time zone(!), and login details! Kinda important things. I was confused as heck as to why the clock got reset to totally the wrong time, 'til I saw it changed the timezone from the default (GMT -8), which happens to be where I live (so I never touch it). *shrug* At least, in this particular case, it saves me the trouble of coming up with reasonable values for this person's computer when I don't even remember their name... =P

You can change [userData] Section in winnt.sif file in w_sif folder to your personal needs

and use in [Data] section ; unattendswitch=yes

The ; in front of this line will take care that you get the Windows Welcome screens

where you can fill in User Accounts.

The [GuiUnattended] Section in winnt.sif file is important for TimeZone

You can change for unattended install the UserXP name in useraccounts.cmd in $OEM$_UserXP Folder.

Unattended Install is convenient but requires that you edit winnt.sif and $OEM$_UserXP to your personal needs.

See Section Reference in http://unattended.msfn.org/unattended.xp/

What Format did you use for your USB-drive ? What was the time needed for Install of XP from USB ?

USB-stick with NTFS Format enables XP Install in 16 minutes.

Edited by wimb
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I already did that with nLite prior to uploading to the USB stick, and chose not to do unattended for a reason. Shouldn't the software ask if you want to have unattended settings hijacked or not? I mean, if it's at all possible to do the USB install without preselected settings? I sure didn't enter "UserXP" and "Prive" for the user details... ;)

As for the format... I just let PE2USB do its own thing with defaults. Maybe next time I'll try it with NTFS. One thing's for sure though, XP setup started really quick :P

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hello, I have been trying to install a very lite version of xp on a slow computer, and I to have the J problem,

in the boot options it does have an option for USB FDD, and USB ZIP...? well I guess I have been wasting my time,

to many Js make me crazy.

Edited by whizzle
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You are getting "j" when you boot from USB on that computer, or when you boot from its hard disk?

If it's from the USB- how large is the USB stick? What tool did you use to format it with? In what file system?

The windows version has nothing to do with the problem.

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You are getting "j" when you boot from USB on that computer, or when you boot from its hard disk?

If it's from the USB- how large is the USB stick? What tool did you use to format it with? In what file system?

The windows version has nothing to do with the problem.

i have tried many dif ways.

pe2usb, and the hp usb storage tool formater

i have tried diff ways with, i allways get "j" when i try to load my usb.

not with my HD.

i have a scan disk cruzer 512

i am trying to install XP 75MB Edition_v2

and i have also tried others.

thay all come back "j"

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and i have also tried others.

thay all come back "j"

Try these:

http://www.msfn.org/board/index.php?showto...87993&st=17

The "j" is a known problem with some incorrect geometry values, expecially when using FAT32 as filesystem.

A good idea is to start from a "clean" status, by wiping the first, say 100 sectors of the stick:

http://www.boot-land.net/forums/index.php?...=4015&st=21

If none of the above method works, attach to your next post a .zip file containing a copy of your MBR (first sector of PhysicalDrive) and bootsector/PBR (first sector of Logicaldrive), which you can extract with HDHacker:

http://dimio.altervista.org/eng/

And I'll have a look at them.

It is also possible that the problem relies on your motherboard BIOS (and the way it "detects" the USB stick).

In such cases, it may be useful/necessary a PLoP "kicker" disk:

http://www.plop.at/

http://www.plop.at/en/bootmanager.html

http://www.plop.at/en/bootmngrusblog.html

jaclaz

Edited by jaclaz
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I also get a "J" when i try to boot on my usb stick, who have a DOS soft. My motherboard is an Asus P4GD1. The only way for me to success the boot is to change my USB stick. The first who doesn't boot appears on the bios like this: USB Flash memory 1.00. And the working USB appears: USB Flash Memory 2.00.

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I also get a "J" when i try to boot on my usb stick, who have a DOS soft. My motherboard is an Asus P4GD1. The only way for me to success the boot is to change my USB stick. The first who doesn't boot appears on the bios like this: USB Flash memory 1.00. And the working USB appears: USB Flash Memory 2.00.

The difference that you mention is COMPLETELY unrelated to the problem.

You have stick "A" WRONGLY partitioned/formatted (which may also mean that it works on other 99 PC's but not on that one)

and stick "B" PROPERLY partitioned/formatted (which may also mean that it works on that particular motherboard and not on another one).

It is also possible that the BIOS of that motherboard behaves differently because of the size of the sticks, and/or because of they way they are set in factory (fixed/removable) and for a number of other reasons.

A number of possible solutions have been already given in the present thread, and there are other ones.

If you wish some help on the issue post the MBR and PBR of bothe the non-working and of th eworking stick, and I'll have a look at them.

jaclaz

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I'm getting the "j" problem too.

I created the bootable usb drive with WinUSB Maker 1.8 on my Win7 laptop. When I restart and boot on it, I don't get any problems. But when I boot my desktop on this bootable usb drive I get the "j". Therefore, it's not my bootable usb drive that has a problem. It's the computer bios of my desktop.

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Follow the advice on jaclaz's post #16 (and #18).

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