Halfwalker

How to boot/install from USB key ?

486 posts in this topic

hi,

i am thinking of doing a boot from HDD, but yes i think some may think its a bit impossible that since i do not have much experience doing such things... but hope some1 can give me a guide here?

jaclaz, nice to see u helping me so much, but maybe its better to have "guides" instead of reading hundreds of posts... but still it helps, or try to tell me which post ;)

Edited by iceangel89
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thx been looking for this

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can some1 tell me how to do this? or which post/page has the answer?

reading through so many posts and cant seem to get anything done

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can some1 tell me how to do this? or which post/page has the answer?

reading through so many posts and cant seem to get anything done

Links to the most relevant posts (link already given, here):

http://www.boot-land.net/forums/index.php?...ic=2807&hl=

are in this post :

http://www.msfn.org/board/index.php?showtopic=99453&st=3

Last one is here:

http://www.msfn.org/board/index.php?showto...1384&st=293

Eventually, and that means WHEN everything will be found to be working and it will be tested, ilko_t will publish a complete guide, but there is NO "road-map" established, it may happen in the next 15 days as well as in the next 15 months, this procedure is something experimental and everyone contributing to it do so in their spare time, so please, do not ask for a release date, just wait and check back once in a while or experiment with info already provided.

Check this:

http://www.msfn.org/board/index.php?showto...1384&st=273

By the way, it is rather amazing how at this moment the thread had 51,818 views and the number of people that have actually contributed or gave a useful feedback can be counted on fingers without taking one's shoes off.... :whistle:

To provide a solution that works on the most hardware we need some people that test the procedure on their hardware and report problems or success.

jaclaz

Edited by jaclaz
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The automatic making of a bootable USB-stick for Install of Windows XP using prepare2.zip was tested.

Collecting files in a Virtual Disk and file editing with Fedit.exe are very handy in this approach :)

Fresh and Repair Install of Windows XP from the bootable USB-stick was realised successfully,

after some modifications in the _prepare.cmd file as described below:

For my version of XP it was necessary to remove the :all option in the winnt32.exe command.

Otherwise in making the LocalSource I get Error messages for missing files: tabletpc.cab and mediactr.cab

The /h /k option is not valid in the copy command, but gives no problem.

MakeBS3.cmd .... was replaced by CALL MakeBS3.cmd ....

in order to see the messages and to return to the following statements in the _prepare.cmd ;)

It is interesting to integrate also CALL MkMigrateInf of cdob for giving the USB-stick drive letter U:

because without it the USB-stick gets the unwanted drive letter D:

and consequently the drive letters of other partitions on the harddisk are changing.

Fedit.exe was used in _prepare.cmd to make

the for the Repair option necessary change in the presetup.cmd of BTS DriverPacks.

The btinifix4.cmd was made ready for unattended install by removing the pause and the YES confirmation.

I think the automatic approach is very worthwhile and removes the previous risc of someone forgetting

to reset boot.ini after the winnt32.exe command, resulting after reboot in an unexpected install of Windows XP.

Edited by wimb
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Hi wimb :)

Here are some results in my tests:

For my version of XP it was necessary to remove the :all option in the winnt32.exe command.

Otherwise in making the LocalSource I get Error messages for missing files: tabletpc.cab and mediactr.cab

It's tricky, if :all is not used some folders are not copied, e.g. when preparing MCE and GUI setup will complain about missing files/folders. If it is used some files cannot be found by WINNT32 as it is looking at the wrong place for them, for example test with DELL XP Home SP2:

Here is part of TXTSETUP.SIF:

[sourceDisksFiles]

.......

startoc.dll = 100,,,,,,,32,0,0

startoc.inf = 100,,,,,,,20,0,0

startoc.cat = 100,,,,,,,,3,3

startoc.cab = 2,,,,,,_x,,3,3

Part of LAYOUT.INF:

[sourceDisksFiles]

.............

startoc.dll = 100,,22016,,,,,32,0,0

startoc.inf = 100,,109098,,,,,20,0,0

startoc.cat = 100,,167601,,,,,,3,3

startoc.cab = 2,,8672998,,,,_x,,3,3

And part of DOSNET.INF

[Files]

...........

d1,startoc.dll

d1,startoc.inf

d1,startoc.cat

d2,startoc.cab

startoc.cab is the only file, not found by WINNT32, and it's the only 1, which differs from others in it's source description. Why they did it like that I have no idea, however I'd rather make a note of the files not found and manually copy them after _prepare.cmd, than not copying whole folders (:all switch).

On generic XP SP2 situation is fine, no funny files or folders, but with different sources we can expect all kind of errors, because of the many ways OEMs integrate their stuff and WINNT32 fails to replicate the exact CD structure.

The /h /k option is not valid in the copy command, but gives no problem.
That was xcopy before, forgot to remove redundant switches :blushing:
MakeBS3.cmd .... was replaced by CALL MakeBS3.cmd ....

in order to see the messages and to return to the following statements in the _prepare.cmd ;)

Told you I am newb with scripts, didn't know how to avoid that :rolleyes: Thanks.
It is interesting to integrate also CALL MkMigrateInf of cdob for giving the USB-stick drive letter U:

because without it the USB-stick gets the unwanted drive letter D:

and consequently the drive letters of other partitions on the harddisk are changing.

Here is tricky too, please read the results with USB hard disk bellow. USB stick getting C: is a good indication that something is wrong and stick will be rendered non bootable during TXT Setup because is seen as first disk- abort setup. If it's preset to U: you will not get that. Better fix drive letters later.
Fedit.exe was used in _prepare.cmd to make

the for the Repair option necessary change in the presetup.cmd of BTS DriverPacks.

The btinifix4.cmd was made ready for unattended install by removing the pause and the YES confirmation.

Would you attach the edited files please.

I also added simple check if winnt.sif don't exist on source not to use /unattend switch:

IF EXIST %instpath%\i386\winnt.sif (
%instpath%\i386\winnt32.exe /noreboot /makelocalsource:all /syspart:%tempdrive% /tempdrive:%tempdrive% /unattend:%instpath%\i386\winnt.sif
) ELSE (
%instpath%\i386\winnt32.exe /noreboot /makelocalsource:all /syspart:%tempdrive% /tempdrive:%tempdrive%
)

If you can make it better please add it as well in the files to be attached.

-------------------------------

Some results with USB hard disk- unfortunately I couldn't make it work without deleting source files. USB hard disk is seen as first disk and gets letter C:, dispite the fact it's listed as second in list and TXT Setup attempts to place boot files on it. If it's write- protected by migrate.inf SETUP complains about damaged hard drive D:

Setup has determined that Drive D: is corrupted and cannot be repaired
Same behavior was desribed in post #130 , when in mixed SATA/IDE environment USB stick is seen as first bootable device, this was fixed by disabling IDE controllers or removing attached devices from them, but here I had only 1 IDE hard disk and the USB one.

Remove the write- protection form migrate.inf- no more complains, but all boot files go on USB disk and the files being copied to destination are deleted from source.

Make USB disk U:- same story.

Tests made with 2 different USB-IDE adapters and IDE disk as destination- same results.

Because the files deleted during TXT Setup are from ~LS folder I tried to keep ~BS for the TXT part and force Setup to look for source files in other folder- I386 copied on USB disk. This articles give some clues:

http://support.microsoft.com/kb/150497

http://technet2.microsoft.com/windowsserve...3.mspx?mfr=true

I have tried to change TXTSETUP.SIF to

[SetupData]
SetupSourcePath = "\"
SetupSourceDevice = \device\harddisk0\partition1
MajorVersion = 5
MinorVersion = 1

Also \ to \i386, with and without quotes and spaces to no avail- "Setup cannot format the hard drive- CD is damaged" meaning cannot find files on source destination. TXTSETUP.SIF is in root and in I386.

WINNT.SIF:

[Data]
Autopartition=0
UnattendedInstall="Yes"
floppyless = "1"
msdosinitiated = "0"
OriSrc = "\device\harddisk0\partition1\i386"
EulaComplete="1"
winntupgrade="no"
win9xupgrade="no"
Win32Ver="a280105"
uniqueid="C:\WINDOWS\JAL"
OriSrc="\device\harddisk0\partition1"
OriTyp="3"
unattendswitch=yes
sourcepath = \device\harddisk0\partition1\i386
floppylessbootpath=\Device\HardDisk0\partition1
[SetupData]
OSLoadOptionsVar="/noexecute=alwaysoff"
SetupSourceDevice = "\device\harddisk0\partition1"

floppyless = "1" and msdosinitiated = "0" were tried in all combinations, some funny lines were added to experiment, actually in over 20-30 attempts to change/remove lines I had no luck. No idea if it's by design like that or am missing something. May be Setup detects that has not been started from RIS ignoring paths and keeps searching for files in ~LS folder.

Another dumb idea- copied the contents of CD on USB disk, leave boot files to invoke SETUPLDR.BIN and amend WINNT.SIF and TXTSETUP.SIF(copied on root and I386) for other source paths- no luck again- BIOSINFO.INF cannot be found in ~BT folder, so it's either hard coded when booted from hard disk to search there, or I am missing something.

I am taking a break from USB hard disks for now, at least until someone gives better ideas.

May be a way to make USB hard disk seen as removable? AFAIK this could be done by using driver patching on the fly the removable bit which seems too hard for the purpose, or I am wrong?

Regards,

ilko

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Hi ilko :)

From your experiments with Install of windows XP from bootable USB-harddisk,

I understand that in this case the problems are rather complex and perhaps difficult to overcome.

For the moment it is indeed better to focus on using the bootable USB-stick for this purpose,

and we are lucky that everything is working so well for the USB-stick :thumbup

When the :all option is used in the winnt32.exe command,

I can simply manually overrule the missing of tabletpc.cab and mediactr.cab for my case of XP Professional.

We might also introduce the :all option as a user selectable option for use with different XP sources.

When the LocalSource was made with option :all, I had no problems during the install of Windows XP.

The use of MkMigrateInf.cmd might also be a user selectable option,

so that for simple cases the advantage of drive letter U: for the USB-stick is available.

But I agree with you that this must not be the default choice,

because you explained quite well the disadvantage of using always U: for the USB-stick.

As attachment you will find prepare3.zip with the slightly modified _prepare3.cmd and binifix4.cmd

The EXIST winnt.sif Check that you made, is also included in the _prepare3.cmd :)

Regards,

wimb

prepare3.zip

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Hi ilko :)

The batch program for making a bootable USB-stick for Install of Windows XP,

was further improved and renamed to usb_prep.cmd ( see attachment ).

Now User options with choice of Source and Target Drive are selectable at the beginning in a Start Menu.

MkMigrateInf2.cmd of cdob was slightly edited so that it is available as a Selectable option

using a CALL from the batch program.

Some more security checks on drives and files were also included.

The type of XP Source being either Home / Professional OR Media Center/Tablet PC Edition

is selectable and determines the :all option in the winnt32.exe command for making the LocalSource.

I found some handy sites with a lot of information for making batch programs:

http://www.ss64.com/index.html

http://www.robvanderwoude.com/index.html

http://www.microsoft.com/resources/documen...h.mspx?mfr=true

http://www.allenware.com/

http://www.computerhope.com/batch.htm

Regards,

wimb

usb_prep.zip

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@ilko_t and wimb

to prepare3, haven't tried usb_prep.cmd yet.

Congratulations, does work as builded.

Windows installation files are perpared in vitual disk and copied to USB drive.

Installation does work. Windows does boot. No files are delete at USB drive.

But allow me to play the bad guy (a sophisticated end user, the worst customer):

Next I installed windows at folder c:\windows51. First reboot failed.

Obviously boot.ini at USB stick dosn't match:

multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(1)partition(1)\WINDOWS="GUI Mode Setup" /FASTDETECT

This failed:

\$WIN_NT$.~LS\$OEM$\CMDLINES.TXT

[COMMANDS]
"binifix4.cmd C:"

Do I use false files? How to run binifix?.cmd at end of textmode setup?

First reboot should work at c:\windows51 too.

Another example:

c:\boot.ini

d:\windows

How to support this? Do we restrict to c:\windows only?

Three suggestions to _prepare.cmd:

Ask temporary image size in megabytes

I prefer OS internal solutions. Third party tools if internals fail. Use fsutil instead of fsz. Fsutil.exe is a default XP application.

format /Q: Quickformat

ECHO Please enter temporary image size in MB, according to your source size:

ECHO e.g.: 600

SET /P imgsize=

ECHO.

ECHO closing existing virtual drives if any...

vdk.exe remove

REM to be improved...

IF EXIST tempimage.img (del tempimage.img) ELSE echo tempimage.img was not found, creating a new one...

set /a imgsize*=1024*1024

fsutil.exe file createnew tempimage.img %imgsize%

...

ECHO temprary drive created, lets format it

ECHO.

format %tempdrive%: /FS:fat32 /v:TempDrive /Q

In addition there is a undocumented 'format /Y' as YES. A end user dosn't have to confirm format.

Contrary a end user might select a false drive by accident.

Don't use 'format /Y'. A end user has to confirm format always.

USB stick get C: too, if you use a brand new hard disk (no partitions).

If need be you don't have to use U:, another letters are possible too.

A third parameter goes to migrateinf.cmd

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Hi cdob,

Next I installed windows at folder c:\windows51. First reboot failed.

Obviously boot.ini at USB stick dosn't match:

multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(1)partition(1)\WINDOWS="GUI Mode Setup" /FASTDETECT

Can you think of simple way to adjust boot.ini on stick to match everyone's needs? May be if we include in usb_prep.cmd questions like "do you plan to install XP in folder other than default \WINDOWS?", "do you plan to install it on partition/disk other than first hard disk, first partition" and amend BOOT.INI on stick accordingly?

My opinion is this way of installing Xp from USB requires some user intervention, adjusting to one's specific needs. May be some info could be displayed about this issue in usb_prep.cmd. Another way is to revert back to Grub4Dos and invoke NTLDR on hard disk, in this case mapping should be used, which restricts us in the same way, because of the different drive/partition numeration. So we'd need to amend menu.lst, instead of BOOT.INI on stick. Can't think of any other way to avoid that.

This failed:

\$WIN_NT$.~LS\$OEM$\CMDLINES.TXT

[COMMANDS]
"binifix4.cmd C:"

Do I use false files? How to run binifix?.cmd at end of textmode setup?

Is binifix4.cmd in the same folder as cmdlines.txt? Did it start at all? Any backup files in C: of boot.ini?
First reboot should work at c:\windows51 too.
As long as BOOT.INI on USB stick points to that path.
Another example:

c:\boot.ini

d:\windows

How to support this? Do we restrict to c:\windows only?

I don't foresee issues with that, other than adjusting BOOT.INI on stick to partition(2) and changing WINDOWS to whatever it would be. BOOT.INI on hard disk is created by TXT Setup and only rdisk value adjusted by binifix.cmd to -1.
Three suggestions to _prepare.cmd:

Ask temporary image size in megabytes

I prefer OS internal solutions. Third party tools if internals fail. Use fsutil instead of fsz. Fsutil.exe is a default XP application.

format /Q: Quickformat

ECHO Please enter temporary image size in MB, according to your source size:

ECHO e.g.: 600

SET /P imgsize=

ECHO.

ECHO closing existing virtual drives if any...

vdk.exe remove

REM to be improved...

IF EXIST tempimage.img (del tempimage.img) ELSE echo tempimage.img was not found, creating a new one...

set /a imgsize*=1024*1024

fsutil.exe file createnew tempimage.img %imgsize%

...

ECHO temprary drive created, lets format it

ECHO.

format %tempdrive%: /FS:fat32 /v:TempDrive /Q

In addition there is a undocumented 'format /Y' as YES. A end user dosn't have to confirm format.

Contrary a end user might select a false drive by accident.

Don't use 'format /Y'. A end user has to confirm format always.

Nice to see that option in fsutil.exe :) Thanks :thumbup
USB stick get C: too, if you use a brand new hard disk (no partitions).

If need be you don't have to use U:, another letters are possible too.

My point was that seeing that stick gets C is clear indication to abort SETUP, if it's preset you won't see that, it's not about available drive letters. Your point about non partitioned hard disk is valid, on first though what about if we delete MountedDevices key during GUI SETUP, thus forcing XP to re-enumerate the letters at first logon? Need to study this option further, or just use migrate.inf as you say, and find another indication that something is wrong- abort setup.
A third parameter goes to migrateinf.cmd
Sorry, I didn't get that. You changed mkmigrate.inf to include an option what letter to be given? Would you attach it please if it is so.

@wimb- good job :thumbup

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@cdob

Install of XP Windows from the bootable USB-stick

next to WINDOWS on the same or on a different partition of the harddisk,

was realised successfully by proper manually adjustment in advance of the BOOT.INI file of the USB-stick.

Ilko_t already indicated that for Install on the second partition,

adjusting BOOT.INI on stick to partition(2) is sufficient, and I can confirm that.

So these non-standard installs are still possible,

but require only small changes in the BOOT.INI on the stick in advance.

For a brand new harddisk it is always advisable to reboot the computer after creating partitions with TXT mode Setup.

So in this case one boots twice in the TXT-mode Setup, so that after the reboot drive letters get their correct value.

It is a very good idea to use fsutil.exe instead of fsz.exe and to use QuickFormat of the TempDrive.

When making the TempImage, the binifix4.cmd is written in winnt.sif as [GUIRunOnce] command,

and so it should be removed from your CMDLINES.TXT

@ilko_t

MigrateDrive is set in MkMigrateInf2.cmd fixed at U:

but can also be set to a different value by giving in the CALL a third parameter e.g. R:

But in the Setup procedure a fixed value of U: in MkMigrateInf2.cmd seems OK to me.

Edited by wimb
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I created a bootable WinXp sp2 USB pendrive using the 'usb_prep.zip' posted 3 posts above. The usb drive was created perfectly without any errors. Some of my parameters i selected are:

i started the usb_prep.cmd and did this:

1: type as [home/prof]

2:copied all folders/files from winxp cd to a forlder 'd:\winxp' and selected it as source

3:virtual temp drive as v:

4:target usbdrive as k:(as shown in my computer )

My pendrive is Transcend Jetflash JF V30 / 2GB (and formatted before this procedure)

all steps went properly, all files copied to usb without error , at the end i selected for SATA Hdd

Then after making this usb drive i restarted my PC and selected USB as first boot device. The usb drive is detected by BIOS. After the POST, the PC attempts to boot from USB but nothing happens, it waits there for 2-3mins with all the previous POST messages on display and then proceeds to boot from the HDD.

Why doesnt it boot from USB when everything i did is correct???

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My pendrive is Transcend Jetflash JF V30 / 2GB (and formatted before this procedure...
That's the important part, how did you format it, from within XP using XP format? What file system?

Try formatting it using PEtoUSB or HP Format tool, links are in this thread or use GOOGLE. In the archive attached in post #294 PEtoUSB is included.

When you format it copy on USB stick ONLY ntdetect.com, NTLDR from your XP source, and create BOOT.INI in USB stick root:

BOOT.INI

[Boot Loader]
Timeout=10
Default=multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(1)partition(1)\WINDOWS
[Operating Systems]
multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(1)partition(1)\WINDOWS="TEST" /FASTDETECT
multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(1)partition(2)\WINDOWS="TEST 1" /FASTDETECT

Start the PC and if you see the menu, your stick is ready- format it again and use usb_prep.cmd

PEtoUSB has an option for LBA, use it first, if doesn't boot use without that option.

HP format too can format in FAT16 and FAT32- find which one works for you.

Edited by ilko_t
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Why doesnt it boot from USB when everything i did is correct???

Everything seems correct, except maybe for the way of formating the USB-stick.

Did your computer boot already from this stick e.g. in MS-DOS ?

Or is there a general problem that your computer cannot boot from the stick ?

Try the HP USB Disk Storage Format Tool Version 2.0.6 and use FAT filesystem, without DOS startup.

Then you get a stick with MBR and Partition with NTLDR Bootsector, which refers to NTLDR that uses BOOT.INI

Info: http://www.911cd.net/forums//index.php?showtopic=20089

Create MBR, Partition and Format USB_stick using HP USB Disk Storage Format Tool Version 2.0.6

http://download.chip.eu/en/USB-Disk-Storag...0.6_176935.html

Edited by wimb
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Thanks for your super quick help :rolleyes:

I previously formatted using XP's format tool.

Now i formatted using PEtoUSB tool and voila!!!! it booted from USB :) though after that 2-3 mins wait time

Thanks again for ur support

I have some questions:

Q1. As there is an option for SATA HDD in usb_prep.cmd, i wonder, whether this USB XP installation will work on computers with both IDE and SATA hdds??? Because some of my PCs have IDE(PATA) Hdd while some have SATA Hdd?

Q2. I had read somewhere before that 'Repair' Installation of WinXP is troublesome using this method??. As many times I have to just make 'Repair' rather that full reinstall when my systems go corrupt.

Q3. Can i use an external USB HDD(with two partitions on it) instead of USB Stick???. Like using first partition for these installation files and second partition for carrying normal data??

Edited by Hitman47
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