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Bootable USB Flash Drive

Created: 12 Jan 2007 • Updated: 21 May 2010 | 22 comments

Has anyone successfully created a USB Key\Flash Drive\Thumb Drive so that it's bootable and has all the nessessary information that the floppy boot disks would?

I know there is mention of it, and I'm looking to attempt this myself, but to create a full ghost boot disk (with all DOS tools) but have it used on a USB drive instead.

We're looking at moving to many laptops this summer and with floppy drives becoming a thing of the past this would be more helpful (plus store a lot more on it)

Or is a bootable CD\DVD pretty much still my only bet?

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Michael Franklin's picture

The Ghost Boot Wizard has the option of 'Formatting a Drive' which includes a USB drive. It's on the 'Destination Drive' page of the Wizard.

Ray McKnight's picture

Using the boot wizard, in several attempts, with different manufactors flash drives, I have not had any luck creating a bootable flash drive.

All of the flash drives that I have attempted are bootable using other methods.

When attempting to create the boot disk via selecting at the destination screen with (Format disk, Show only removable devices, Support creating bootable CD/DVD etc.) selected, then clicking Next, the boot wizard immediately closes with nothing having happened to the usb drive.

Joshua Lindemann 2's picture

Ray, you said the boot disks you made were done using other methods. Could you elaborate on that?

The other night I found this little program that was supposed to make my flash drive bootable, but it turned a 64MB flash drive into a 1.44MB device. (not overly impressed or useful to me)

What did you use?
I don't mind if I have to do a little cut/paste and rewriting to copy over the Ghost Boot Disk information off the floppies if I have to. I just would like to see the ability to make a fully useful Boot Flash Drive.

Thanks!

Morgan Mackeson-Ellis's picture

Hi Joshua,

You wrote:
> Has anyone successfully created a USB Key\Flash
> Drive\Thumb Drive so that it's bootable and has all
> the necessary information that the floppy boot disks
> would?

Yes, this is a feature of Ghost Boot Wizard (GBW) and should work with most USB flash devices. Use GBW to format the drive then simply copy the dos tools you need to the formatted drive.

There are a couple of things to remember here:
- If the default PCDOS formatted USB drive fails to boot try providing MSDOS files to GBW and choose to create an MSDOS USB boot disk instead.
- The computer you will use this on must have support for booting form removable devices, sometimes you will need to change a setting in the BIOS to enable this, or may have to change the boot order i.e. boot from USB (or removable devices) first.

Hope this helps.

Hi Ray,

You wrote:
>Using the boot wizard, in several attempts, with different manufacturers flash
>drives, I have not had any luck creating a bootable flash drive.

I am curious as to why this procedure failed for you, could you please provide some extra information (as below) so that I can try to reproduce this in the lab.

-OS you are using
-Models of the failing USB devices
-GSS version
-Details of the options used in GBW to create the bootable USB drive.

Thanks in advance.

Regards,
Morgan

Imran Siddiqui's picture

Joshua,

It worked for me. I chose Universal Packet Driver option and created USB flash boot disk.

I chose:

Network Boot Package
Universal Packet Driver
At that point a pop up will remind you to enable

-OptionRom
-PXE
-UNDI

Do not forget to enable PXE on the client computer before you reboot with the USB boot disk. I forgot to pay heed to this message and spend a whole week figuring out how to boot clinet computer to GhostCast server.

Chose your DOS version. PC-DOS will be automatically selected.
Please, Do not check boxes which says, Override fireirw/USB control.
Select DHCP will assign IP settings
On the select target for the boot package, select Format Boot Disk
Click on down arrow and select your USB flash disk, I used a SnaDisk Cruzer Mini 0.2.
Click Next, review settings and create your Boot USB flash Disk.

The keys are:

Chose UPD and enable PXE on the client computer which you want to ghost.

I used this procedure successfully for creating images on GhostCast server.

Ray McKnight's picture

Thanks for all of the responses. First an answer to some questions:

Joshua.

I create a USB bootable from bootable floppys with any of the following programs

1) This app creates a 1.44 disk from a bootable floppy with the same results.
http://www.boodaa.de/index.php?option=com_content&...

2) This utility from hp will format the full USB key and make it bootable. The following site has information on this and a link to the program.

http://www.bay-wolf.com/usbmemstick.htm

3) "cp006049.exe" Google the filename. This is a HP utility to create a bootable USB that will allow you to boot from several boot images. There are some that it will not work with i.e. http://www.netbootdisk.com/

I hope this helps.

Morgan.

-OS you are using: W2K

-Models USB devices attempted with:
Sony (128 & 512 meg),
Sandisk (256),
LG (1gig).
I have created bootables with all using the three above methods, yet otherwise unsuccessful with GBW.

-GSS version: Version 2

-Details of the options used in GBW to create the bootable USB drive: I use the "Ghost Boot Wizard" "Standard Ghost Boot Package" then all defaults through to the Destination Drive, then as previously stated.

We want to create bootable DVD of each system. Some of these are in remote locations with poor or no connectivity. We leave the bootable image on site to restore, if required. If the system crashes, we talk the local operator or technician through the restore process.

At issue with this version of GSS/GBK is that it builds a two floppy set. I have created USB key via #2 above then copy the 1.8Meg ghost.exe but it will not create a bootable DVD, although it images the hard drive. Also I have not found a method to image the 25mb .ISO to the USB Key.

Morgan Mackeson-Ellis's picture

Hi Ray,

Thanks for your prompt reply. I will investigate your issue by trying to reproduce it here, unfortunately the developer responsible for this feature is on leave at present but should be back early next week. I will update this thread with our findings, which is not likely to be till next week.

There is a workaround for your issue of creating bootable CD/DVD which you can try. You can use the ?-bootcd=floppy.img? switch with ghost.exe to specify the boot image to copy to the CD/DVD, by default it looks for the boot floppy in the floppy drive but by specifying the image path you can have ghost.exe use an image you have created and stored on you USB drive. The command may look something like this:
Ghost /bootcd=c:\floppy.img /ghostoncd
The above command will use the image file to make the CD/DVD bootable and store a copy of ghost.exe on the created CD/DVD.
-> How to create the floppy image file:
Use GBW to create a ?CD/DVD startup boot package whit Ghost? and choose to write it to a floppy disk set. You will need only the first in the set so after at the prompt for the second disk you can cancel out of GBW.
Now you have a boot disk you can make an image of that disk using VF Editor which is a part of Symantec Deploy Center also on your GSS 2.0 Installation disk. You could also take an image of a win98 boot diskette instead.
You will need to edit the image autoexec.bat removing the lines which contain Ghost, as these will try to reconstruct the Ghost.exe and ask you for the other floppies. The other line to remove is mouse.com which would try to write to the floppy when it loads, you do not need mouse support as the keyboard will work just fine.

Hope this helps

Thanks again,
Morgan

Ryan Banse's picture

"When attempting to create the boot disk via selecting at the destination screen with (Format disk, Show only removable devices, Support creating bootable CD/DVD etc.) selected, then clicking Next, the boot wizard immediately closes with nothing having happened to the usb drive. "

I am having the exact same issue Ray is. The wizard just suddenly disappears after click on Next. I tried a HP digital drive and a generica USB drive, with the results being the same for both.

Ryan Banse's picture

Just tried a LEXAR jumpdrive and that worked great. It didn't automatically show up on the list of available drives within the Boot Wizard but I still chose it as a drive manually on the list and it worked. Still having issues though with other USB drives when clicking on Next within the Wizard. It shuts the program down and doesn't work.Message was edited by:
Ryan Banse

Morgan Mackeson-Ellis's picture

Hi Ryan,

Are you also running GBW on a 2k machine? The issue we are investigating appears to be related to 2k OS only.

Regards,
Morgan

Ryan Banse's picture

After upgrading my Ghost server (workstation) to WinXP, the problem went away. Guess that is why requirements say WinXP or higher, woops.

Song's picture

For the past 3 days I have been working with getting an 8 gig USB flash drive to be bootable and put two images on the drive for imaging.  When I use GBW it formats the 8gb USB Flash drive to 1.90gb and no larger.  This isn't cutting it for me.

 

I then tried the steps located at this page

http://ucsu.colorado.edu/~shaher/Bootable_USB.html

 

Those instructions made it possible to get the 8gb USB Flash drive to boot and be the full 8gb.  I loaded my imaged and the ghost.exe file on the drive.  Everything booted, ghost loaded and when I started the image I was told the files was not a ghost image.  I know the image is good, I booted off a ghost floppy set and used the image located on the 8gb USB Flash drive to load the system.  The file is good and has been tested but it will not work booting straight from the 8gb USB Flash drive.  I gave up on this method.

 

My next adventure was to get FlashBoot and try it.  The largest the 8gb USB Flash drive would format is 3.65gb and it will boot.  I copied the ghost.exe and image to that and attempted the boot and clone.  Everything seemed to work and it started the ghost clone and then the following errors showed up.  10008 & 10022.  I am at a total loss now and have no more options to try.

 

Anyone have any ideas?

 

Thanks in advance.....

 

 

NKitchen's picture
I understand your frustration with this because I've been trying to do the same thing.  The one thing that comes to my mind at least is with the image file you are using.  If it's larger than 4gb then FAT won't recognize it.  You would need to be using NTFS.  I hadn't seen that article you were talking about before.  I'm going to try that but use the Ghost Boot Wizard to create the files also and then copy the whole thing with the CDROM drivers and autoexec and all and then it shouldn't be able to complain about the files.  If you are able to get it to work your way, please post how because it would save me a lot of time being able to do this.
 
Thank you
Morgan Mackeson-Ellis's picture
Hi All,
 
Have a look at the below post I wrote a while back it offers a way to achieve the large usb boot disk using only GSS tools.
 
 
You will need the lastest version of GSS to do this however as there was a fix that went into build 1533 (live update) which fixed a usb formatting bug we had, described in the linked thread above.
 
Basically you can create a MS-DOS GBW bootable UFD then take an image with ghost then restore the image back with the -f32 swtich which will convert the fs from F16 to F32 on restore enabling the full UFD capacity to be used. Explained in the linked thread above.
 
Regards,
Morgan
systemfire's picture
I have created a usb boot key and it works fine..
 
 
 
Eugene Manko's picture

I think we may have found the cause of this problem by accident looking at quite a different problem. Apparently some manufactures format flash drives as "superdisks" meaning they this drive is not your normal hard disk drive, it has no mbr, no partition table etc. just one volume spanning entire usb disk. While this is rear this will cause GBW to exit. Unfortunately there is no way to reformat usb correctly so that it can be used by GBW. Good news is that we have fixed this problem and fix will be available in the next LU.

Cheers.

jagomez's picture

Before, I used PCDOS files in Ghost Boot Wizard and it didn't work. Now I use Msdos and USB Flash Drive boots well.

igrant's picture

I am still experiencing this issue with some USB flash drives.  I have GSS 2.5, running on Windows Vista Ultimate.  I have just installed all the available updates, but it has not resolved the issue.  Is anyone else continuing ho have the problem?  Are there any other solutions?

Thanks.

EdT's picture

There is a utility produced by HP that will format USB drives so that they are bootable. You need access to DOS files if you want to make it DOS bootable, which is the simplest solution.

Alternatively, it is easy peasy to make your USB key bootable using Windows PE. I have an older instance of Ghost32.exe which runs perfectly under WinPE - don't know if GSS 2.5 offers a suitable command line version of the ghost utility, but you also have ImageX in the WinPE toolset which will create single images of hard disks just as well as Ghost IME.

If your issue has been solved, please use the "Mark as Solution" link on the most relevant thread.