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Boot Windows PE from NTFS formatted external hard drive...

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5 replies to this topic

#1
zeusabj

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Hey guys,

I'm trying to get Windows PE to boot from a 300 GB 2.5" Western Digital Passport external USB drive. To get around the FAT32 partition limitation of 32GB in DISKPART I've opted to format to NTFS. I've found several guides for making an NTFS formatted drive bootable, but none of them seem to be working for me. I just get an error every time I specify the external drive in the boot menu of my target machine. I was just wondering if anyone here has tried and succeeded in making a high capacity 2.5 external USB drive boot into Windows PE? If so could you please describe the process or link to the guide you used. Getting this figured out would be a tremendous help to me.

Thanks in advance!


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#2
Lasray

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I have known situations where various NTFS formatted 8Mb thumb drive would not be 'seen' by a full Vista OS, unless you extracted and reinerted the thumb drive. Is this situation related to yours, I do not know?

But since this quirk I have always formatted the thumb drives as FAT32.

Why such a large drive for WinPE? If its for deployment/data could you not use a WDS server?

#3
jaclaz

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I just get an error every time I specify the external drive in the boot menu of my target machine.

Which error? :unsure:

A BIOS may have several limitations when it comes to booting from USB, typically the first CHS HD barrier (÷ 528 Mb) or the "normal" CHS one (÷8 Gb).

Read FAQ's:
http://home.graffiti...SB/USBfaqs.html

FAQ #10.

If you use Diskpart, check that cylinder/head boundaries are set correctly:
http://www.911cd.net...showtopic=21186

With an actual description of the exact steps you followed for partitioning/formatting the drive AND a detailed description of the "error", I may be able to help you.

jaclaz

#4
bilemke

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It can be done. There is a guide in the WAIK..

I have a 80 gb notebook drive in a USB2 ext enclosure.. I use it for storage and emergencies.. Boots right up to PE if I tell the bios to do so. Othewise, PE sits along side (single NTFS partition BTW) my other files (backups mostly) just waiting for the day I need to boot to it.

#5
zeusabj

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To answer the "why" questions, I have several technicians that work at my company that were issued these USB Western Digital passports to use on the job. Several of them prefer these devices to USB flash drives due to their high storage capacity. I recently created a Windows PE-based custom technician recovery install that I have been setting for the technicians that have Flash drives. Because of the Econo-apocalypse our company has put a freeze on purchases and the guys with the USB drives are asking me to come up with a solution for them. Due to the 32GB limitation of FAT32 in DISKPART I need to come up with some sport of NTFS-based bootable solution to allow them to use the entire capacity of their drives without having to make two partitions. I've stepped through several guides but so far I get an error every time I boot from the drive. Although the errors have varied some my current error is as follows:

"A disk read error occurred Press CTRL-ALT-DEL to restart"

I hope that explains things better.

It can be done. There is a guide in the WAIK..

I have a 80 gb notebook drive in a USB2 ext enclosure.. I use it for storage and emergencies.. Boots right up to PE if I tell the bios to do so. Othewise, PE sits along side (single NTFS partition BTW) my other files (backups mostly) just waiting for the day I need to boot to it.


Bilemke, so the AIK guide worked for you. I call myself stepping through this guide, but maybe I made a mistake. I'll try it again...

Also thanks so much for the responses guys, I appreciate the help!

Edited by zeusabj, 11 February 2009 - 10:56 AM.


#6
jaclaz

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Why you cannot have a partitioned drive? :unsure:

This:

"A disk read error occurred Press CTRL-ALT-DEL to restart"


should come from "somewhere", probably the bootsector or MBR.

I am not familiar with Vista's ones, but these may put you on the "right path":
http://www.msfn.org/...o...121391&st=0
http://www.boot-land...?...=5736&st=24

Otherwise it comes from the BIOS.

Right now, it seems to me like you have a "badly" partitioned/formatted HD.

If I were you, I would clear first, say 100 or 200 sectors and re-partition/re-format the drive:
http://www.boot-land...?...=4015&st=21


jaclaz




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