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Formating a USB stick to UDF or CDFS


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8 replies to this topic

#1
tjcinnamon

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I am trying to get a USB drive to be able to boot all bootable images (in the BIOS).

With a ton of work I have been able to get my USB drive to work as an XP install disk.I want to do the same for other OS install disks as well as other bootable applications.

The only way I can think to do this is to format a USB drive as UDF or CDFS. There is a program out there that does UDF but it is $90 and there is no demo. http://www.softarch....ducts/ddtu.html

The sanDisk U3 cruzer comes with a 6mb CDFS partition for there annoying software so CDFS can be done as well.

Does anyone know of a way to format a USB drive to UDF or CDFS?

Thanks, JOe K.


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#2
cdob

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I am trying to get a USB drive to be able to boot all bootable images (in the BIOS).

Hence the BIOS has to handle this USB drive.

There is a program out there that does UDF but it is $90 and there is no demo.

Site mentiones a SmartDriver device driver.
Most likely this driver is required for writing and reading. BIOS won't read this device.

The sanDisk U3 cruzer comes with a 6mb CDFS partition for there annoying software so CDFS can be done as well.

CDFS partition is an emulated CD-ROM drive. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/U3
U3 firmware emulates the CD-ROM drive. Should be a USB Hub, one USB CD-ROM drive and one USB massstorage device.
A average USB stick dosn't support this, a special firmware is required.
And BIOS has to support this emulated device.

Does anyone know of a way to format a USB drive to UDF or CDFS?

Well, create a image file and copy file sector per sector. Use e.g. dd.
However most likely BIOS won't boot from this device. BIOS may fail at UDF or CDFS at USB massstorage device.

A idea:
prepare a multi-boot ISO image. Write this Image to U3 fake CD-ROM.
http://www.911cd.net...showtopic=19066
http://www.911cd.net...showtopic=20565

#3
tjcinnamon

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Thanks for your detailed response!

Site mentiones a SmartDriver device driver.
Most likely this driver is required for writing and reading. BIOS won't read this device.


So when a DVD or CD is read in the BIOS is the driver for reading UDF and CDFS contained in the CD drive?

However most likely BIOS won't boot from this device. BIOS may fail at UDF or CDFS at USB massstorage device.


If this is true then is, of which it most likely is (below):

Write this Image to U3 fake CD-ROM.


Is creating the UDF or CDFS partition even necessary for creating bootable install disks that can be seen from the BIOS? I'm trying to find a unified method to boot the install disks of OSX, XP, Vista, and other OS's from a USB drive.

JOe K.

Edited by tjcinnamon, 28 July 2008 - 11:07 AM.


#4
cdob

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So when a DVD or CD is read in the BIOS is the driver for reading UDF and CDFS contained in the CD drive?

No, the BIOS contain a basic CD driver. A CD drive dosn't know a file system.

There is a Bootable CD Specification
http://en.wikipedia....D-ROM_standard)
http://www.phoenix.c.../specscdrom.pdf
Different hardware and software manufacturer follow this specification. A CD boot is reliable nowadays.
BIOS and boot CD follow this specification.

A current BIOS should boot a USB CD-ROM too.
However that's not part of Bootable CD Specification, hence it's not supported officially.

The BIOS may boot a fake CD-ROM (U3 CD part). Or the BIOS may fail.

Remember, there is no USB boot specification.
Different manufacturer created different solutions.
One USB stick may boot at one machine, but fail at another machine.

Some BIOS may even boot a UDF or CDFS file system from USB massstorage.
However that's most unlikely. Often a floppy or hard disk is expected at USB massstorage.

I'm trying to find a unified method to boot the install disks of OSX, XP, Vista, and other OS's from a USB drive.

Remember again, there is no USB boot specification.
It is not possible to create a always working USB boot solution.

I doubt, formating UDF or CDFS at USB massstorage gives reliable results.
I suggest: use a hard disk approach at USB massstorage
Or try: UDF or CDFS at fake USB CD-ROM (U3 part)

#5
tjcinnamon

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I suggest: use a hard disk approach at USB massstorage


When you say use the USB mass storage what do you mean by that?

#6
cdob

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When you say use the USB mass storage what do you mean by that?

http://en.wikipedia....ge_device_class
http://www.usb.org/d...msc_cbi_1.1.pdf

USB drive firmware set device class.
A BIOS asssumes partition system and file system according to this device class.
E.g. CDFS at USB CD-ROM. And a MBR at a USB hard disk.

Actually a USB flash drive or a USB hard disk sould work in most cases.
This maybe a U3 data partition, that's not the U3 CDFS partititon.


I've to corrent myself, there is a 'Universal Serial Bus Mass Storage Specification For Bootability' released in 2004.
http://www.usb.org/d...sc_boot_1.0.pdf
Older hardware dosn't support this specification, newer may support this specification.

A hint:

For optical devices, such as CD, DVD, and MO, when the sector size is 2k the El Torito CD-ROM boot specification is used for booting.

Or the other way arround: El Torito CD-ROM boot specification is not used for non optical devices (a average USB flash disk).

Almost no sense to format a average USB stick to UDF or CDFS. Approach is out of scope, booting may work or fail.
Anyway it's nice to test at different hardware.

Try other approaches first.

#7
tjcinnamon

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what do you mean by other approaches?

Are you referring to a multiboot USB?

If so, (you don't have to tell me how to do it, I can research that), is it possible to install OS's (beyond XP, which I have done with mutliboot.cmd) with a Multiboot USB. I'm particularily interested in OSX, XP and Vista.

Thanks,
JOe K.

#8
jaclaz

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tjcinnamon

I will try to explain the matter.

Any USB stick has two main components, controller chip and actual memory chips.

The controller chip has some internal firmware that basically controls:
1) Serial number of the device
2) Vid (Vendor Identification number)
3) Pid (Product Identification number)
4) Vendor Description
5) Product Description
6) Number of LUN's (only on some chips, there can be a stick seen as two devices)
7) Type of device (floppy, zip drive, HD, CD)
8) Fixed or Removable
9) Write protection of one of the two LUN's if multiLUN
10) Type and amount of memory chips connected
11) Class and Subclass

The BIOS (to a limited extent, and as explained by cdob often in a non-documented non-standard way) and the OS driver (as well not in a fully documented way) or the plug'n play read these info when detecting/accessing the device connected.

You cannot expect to have CDFS working on a device that is seen as HD-like.

Using a Manufacturer Tool, it is possible to change the firmware data and in some cases to have a CD-like device.

U3 appears to be nothing more than a "name" given to a multi LUN device with a device emulating a CD like device and one emulating a HD like device.

Read these:
http://www.boot-land...?showtopic=4577
http://www.boot-land...?showtopic=4977
http://www.boot-land...?showtopic=4661
http://www.911cd.net...o...c=21850&hl=

Unless you get the "right" stick and the "right" tool, you'd better use the "normal" way of USB Multibooting with a "standard" HD filesystem, FAT16, FAT32 or NTFS.

There is LIMITED support for chainloading ISO images in newish releases of grub4dos, read these:
http://www.boot-land...?showtopic=5187
http://www.boot-land...?showtopic=5041
http://www.boot-land...?showtopic=5078

jaclaz

#9
expert_vision

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YES it is possible to create a CDFS partition on a USB mass storage device as long as it's firmware supports that (multi LUN). The only way to do that is with with the controller chip software. So:

1) Look here for your flash drive and see what controller it has. Be aware that this database is not so precisely, so look for multiple results and if they are the same you found your controller.
2) Now that you found your controller download the application necessary to modify the firmware here
3) Use it with caution

For example, my stick was Kingmax SuperStick KM-SS8G with the controller USBest UT165. I downloaded UT165 1.65.xx.0 and i was able to write and boot any bootable ISO image of any size including XP, Vista, Win 7 ...




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