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Create a multi boot rescue USB flash drive

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Si    11

UPDATED 2009-8-20: Windows PE 3.0

******************************************************************

This is a neat little project for those of you that could be asked to help fix a PC at any moment in your life - the end result is a flash drive which when booted lets you pick from:

SystemRescueCD - http://www.sysresccd.org/Main_Page

An amazing Linux live environment which has a large array of rescue tools. Note this guide is specific to version 1.1.2. Later versions may remove compatibility.

Windows PE 2.1 - http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details...;DisplayLang=en

This link is for info only - the 2.1 download is below. PE is a live Windows environment (I have this so I have a portable CHKDSK).

Windows PE 3.0 also works, but you have to grab this WAIK instead: http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details...11-39c26d3b3b34

Darik's Boot and Nuke - http://dban.sf.net

For wiping disks.

ntpasswd - http://home.eunet.no/pnordahl/ntpasswd/

Recover Windows systems from forgotten passwords.

Memtest86+ - http://www.memtest.org/

Check for broken RAM.

Step 1: Collect together everything you are going to need

You'll need to download a bunch of tools to do this, I'll list everything here so you have it all before we start:

PeToUSB - http://gocoding.com/page.php?al=petousb

GRUB4DOS - http://sourceforge.net/project/showfiles.php?group_id=104188

SystemRescueCD - http://www.sysresccd.org/Main_Page

Windows AIK - http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details...;displaylang=en

Step 2: Prepare the USB drive

The first thing to do is plug your USB drive into your machine, and start PeToUSB.exe (Run as Administrator under Vista). Tick the boxes:

Enable Disk Format

Quick Format (OK this is optional)

Force Volume Dismount

Now hit Start and wait for the process to finish.

If your drive is larger than 2GB you will encounter an error here. This is because PeToUSB tries to format the drive to FAT, which has a maximum of 2GB. The error is not a problem because the drive has been made bootable regardless. Simply head over to Windows Explorer and format it to FAT32 as normal.

Next, we're on to grubinst_gui.exe. Again, run this as Administrator if you're using Vista. Select the Disk option, then pick your flash drive from the list. You will have to make an educated guess as to which one it is as all your disks will be listed. If you've only got one flash drive connected it will normally be the bottom one. Leave everything else untouched and hit the install button.

Now, copy the grldr file from your GRUB4DOS 0.4.4 (it is newer than the one included in 1.0.1, though you still need grubinst_gui from there - complicated!) folder onto the root of the flash drive. That's the disk ready to go.

Step 3: Installing SystemRescueCD and the floppy images

DBAN, ntpasswd and Memtest86+ are all included with the SystemRescueCD package. Extract the contents of your SystemRescueCD ISO to a folder on your PC, then copy the following files to the root of your flash drive:

dban.img

initram.igz

memdisk

memtestp.img

rescuecd

sysrcd.dat

ntpasswd (the folder and files)

That's as hard as it gets to install those.

Step 4: Create a Windows PE 2.1 installation and copy it to the flash drive

Follow this guide (yes it is for 2.0 but works for 2.1 and 3.0), using the WAIK you already downloaded, up to the point where you have your ISO file ready to burn to CD: http://apcmag.com/3894/windows_pe_2_0_a_ti...tem_maintenance

Now you have your ISO, simply extract the following from it onto the root of your flash drive (including subfolders):

boot

EFI

sources

bootmgr

Step 5: Configure GRUB and we're done

You now need to create a menu.lst file in the root of your flash drive with a text editor (like notepad), and paste in the following text:

color black/cyan yellow/cyan
timeout 60

title SystemRescueCD
kernel /rescuecd initrd=initram.igz video=ofonly vga=0 scandelay=5
initrd /initram.igz

title Windows PE
chainloader /bootmgr

title DBAN
kernel /memdisk
initrd /dban.img

title ntpasswd
kernel /ntpasswd/vmlinuz rw vga=1 initrd=/ntpasswd/initrd.cgz /ntpasswd/scsi.cgz
initrd /ntpasswd/initrd.cgz

title Memtest86
kernel /memdisk
initrd /memtestp.img

You should now be able to reboot, select the flash drive as your boot device in your BIOS, and be ready to go!

Please report back if there are any problems with this, I've written it from memory after an evening of figuring it out. I have this setup running on an Integral 16GB drive with FAT32 so it does at least work for me! :)

post-25729-1203709610.jpg

Edited by Si

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imis    0

i had used window PE but through CD but this time i am going to try on flash drive.

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imis    0

I DOWNLOADED NTPASSWD AND USED FOR FIRST TIME IT RUN FINE.

THANKX A LOT FOR SUCH A NICE HELP.

PLEASE HELP IN MAKING PE ON CD.

PLEASE TEACH ME STEP BY STEP.

THANKX A LOT

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Colin-uk    133

nice guide, i'll give it a try sometime :)

isnt usb booting dependant on the motherboard though?

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Si    11

It is, but any mb from the last 3 years should be able to do it (at least in my experience)

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imis    0

thankx a lot today i made my pe cd.

thankx for guideline and help.

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SDPCM    0

Thanks so much for this handy guide! I have been looking all over the net to find a guide suitable for an 8 gb memory stick. I had gotten the petousb error in my previous attempts but never realized i could finish the job using fat 32 and the built in vista format tool! In addition to expressing my gratitude, I also wanted to ask a question if I might.

Do you know if there's a way to add Bart PE to the list of software? I am trying to find a means of adding it with grub4dos but not having much luck. Hopefully one day it will be possible to use .iso files directly off the USB flash, maybe in the not too distant future?

Thanks again!

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funkymunky    3

wow cheers mate :)

Great guide :)

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CitizenSmif    0

With a 32GB USB key, would this possible to be able to boot into XP, and various Linux distros by using the last step?

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Si    11
Thanks so much for this handy guide! I have been looking all over the net to find a guide suitable for an 8 gb memory stick. I had gotten the petousb error in my previous attempts but never realized i could finish the job using fat 32 and the built in vista format tool! In addition to expressing my gratitude, I also wanted to ask a question if I might.

Do you know if there's a way to add Bart PE to the list of software? I am trying to find a means of adding it with grub4dos but not having much luck. Hopefully one day it will be possible to use .iso files directly off the USB flash, maybe in the not too distant future?

Thanks again!

Glad you found it useful. (Y)

I don't see why you couldn't use bartpe in the same way as stock Windows PE, just by pointing GRUB at the correct boot file (/ntldr?).

With a 32GB USB key, would this possible to be able to boot into XP, and various Linux distros by using the last step?

Sure you just have to give GRUB the correct filenames and boot parameters. With Linux distros you can usually find out the correct ones by looking at the syslinux.cfg files on their livecds.

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CitizenSmif    0
Sure you just have to give GRUB the correct filenames and boot parameters. With Linux distros you can usually find out the correct ones by looking at the syslinux.cfg files on their livecds.

Thanks man, nice guide.

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NJL    7,425

Bookmarked. This is a great guide!

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SDPCM    0
Glad you found it useful. (Y)

I don't see why you couldn't use bartpe in the same way as stock Windows PE, just by pointing GRUB at the correct boot file (/ntldr?).

Yes...I've tried that and for some reason, I get an image loading error on BartPE. Once it's booted, I can't access all the volumes (hard drives) on the computer, only the USB, the X: drive, etc. There's no listing for the main hard drive. I must be missing something...I'll poke around some more.

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Zlain    90

Random question, but firstly, can we still use the USB stick to save normal files onto etc.

What does a bootable flash drive enable one to do?

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Si    11
Random question, but firstly, can we still use the USB stick to save normal files onto etc.

Yes, but it would be a good idea to create a 'data' folder or similar on it for your files, as there will be a lot of system files for all the operating systems loaded onto it.

What does a bootable flash drive enable one to do?

It's kind of like having multiple livecds in one place, allowing you to rescue broken systems etc. Check out Knoppix and Bart's PE for more info on the kinds of things you can do with them. (Y)

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Zlain    90
Yes, but it would be a good idea to create a 'data' folder or similar on it for your files, as there will be a lot of system files for all the operating systems loaded onto it.

It's kind of like having multiple livecds in one place, allowing you to rescue broken systems etc. Check out Knoppix and Bart's PE for more info on the kinds of things you can do with them. (Y)

Oo I have used knoppix. Thanks for posting this. So to create a data folder, just create two main folders such as data, and system files, and then everything should be fine?

Thanks for the help.

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Angel Blue01    8

How about Ultimate Boot Disc for Windows which includes lots of tools?

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Obi Wong    10

i can't seem to get it to book

i'm getting Missing MBR-Helper message

i'm using a 4gig usb key

when i used the utility to format the key, it didn't give an error when trying to format it as FAT...

i then tried everything again but this time i formatted it with the utility and then again with windows explorer as FAT32 but i still can't get it to boot

any ideas?

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Obi Wong    10

update

it seemed to be the computer i was using. the USB key booted up fine on my laptop and another desktop in the office

not sure what's so special about the first computer i used....

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greenlight    0

good idea.

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Panacik    27

Both my manager and I have been trying to get this to work for ages! I couldnt believe it when this actually worked!

Thank you so much! Bookmarked!

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Panacik    27

If anyone is interested, since using this thread to create a bootable USB drive, i have played around with grub4dos and syslinux and developped a way to boot a version of knoppix using the grub4dos boot loader. This means i can still use the same menu, but hook to the syslinux bootloader to start linux.

I dont know about anyone else, but getting linux to boot from grub4dos is not as easy as it seems, as it comes up with random errors etc.

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x57    0

This is just great. Thank you.

Perfect to play with on these long hours after everybody have left and i sit her alone waiting to go home.

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Ritalin    1

Is there any way for me to make this work with XP?

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