Idea, not tested:
copy %SYSTEMDRIVE%\boot.ini %SYSTEMDRIVE%\boot.%date%.ini /y xcopy %USBDRIVE%\bootfiles\*.* %SYSTEMDRIVE%\ /y /h /r /k
Should work just fine.
Not a fixed \WINDOWS, extract foldername from %SystemRoot% ?
If you can get the windows directory and apply it to the generic boot.ini it would make the guide more universal. Actually ATM only boot.ini creation differs the last guide from normal setup.
Your ideas about mapping setup floppies via GRUB is nice, hopefully this can be done.
Stick was formated by PEtoUSB - MBR_USB_Before.dat
Later rewritten by TEXT mode setup- MBR_USB_After.dat, leaving some files unreadable and stick no longer bootable. If I format the same stick from XP with FAT16 or 32 I cannot boot from it.
and make an image of the stick, you will most probably find that the image has a size of 2,046,788,096 bytes, i.e. 3997633+63=3997696 sectors x 512 bytes/sector.
If you find another size, I would like to know it.
BTW Roadkil's Disk Image v1.1 always gives me "image creation failed" with all USB sticks I have, formated by various tools, most of the time I can see progress going beyond 100%, i.e. 102, 105 and I completely stopped using it as a backup solution.
I don't think patching MBR will be of any use at this stage, it should be setupldr.bin or ntdetect.com which cause that reboot. I will redo the tests and will report what may be causing reboots later.
I am sure we can find a way to generate on-the-spot a correct BOOT.INI.
For the record, BOOT.INI has no need to be marked as System, Hidden, Read Only.
The files are meant to be hidden and system exactly as a normal install will make them. There is no need to make them such, but it's good idea to have them, if installing it for non- technical users, which like to delete anything what they don't like or find strange, lets stay on the safe side
BTW on Dell Dimension E520 with Intel P965/G965 MB I had BSOD 7B when starting XP SP2 Setup from the same stick, right after loading drivers and showing "windows is starting". Plugging stick in diff. front/rear ports made no difference.
The fix was to use Dietmar's modified NTDETECT.COM, no more BSODs. Bart PE, based again on XP SP2 was giving the same 7B, and a full XP on another stick was freezing before loading shell. Modified file fixed them all.