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Can't see USB flash drive I just booted from

Created: 18 Feb 2013 • Updated: 21 Feb 2013 | 19 comments
This issue has been solved. See solution.

I'm using Symantec GSS2.5 GBW to create a bootable USB flash drive. It boots just fine. But I appear to have no access to the physical USB drives data which I intend to my .GHO files on.  It just boots to the X: memory ram drive. I've looked through devices a: ... z: .   Any ideas?

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Nitin's picture

How did you created the boot package, is it DOS or Winpe. If  tt is DOS bootable and your image is on NTFS created USB drive then definetly you will not be able to access it. You need to create the Winpe bootable package to access the image. Please let us know your finding.

Regards,
Nitin

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PatPatriot55's picture

Thanks for the reply. It is WinPE. I've made many custom bootable CD/DVD adding different network and storage device drivers in the past without this type of issue. I've tried the drive on several different  workstations (Dell and HP). Neither see the USB drive after it boots from it. Something is wrong as I typically copy a few files via the "start file" and I put on the media into the x:\ghost directory and those files are not getting copied either.

Nitin's picture

Please also confirm whether it is USB 3.0 drive?

Regards,
Nitin

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PatPatriot55's picture

I'm not using a USB 3 port. I've tried on several workstations (Dell and HP) and I'm always using a USB 2 port.  On the HP there are USB 3 ports I will try booting using that but don't expect it to work as why wouldn't the Dell with only USB 2.0 ports not work either. I've made many custom bootable CD/DVD adding different network and storage device drivers in the past without this type of issue, Also I typically copy a few files via the "start file"  I put on the media into the x:\ghost directory and those files are NOT getting copied either.

EdT's picture

@Nitin - it is likely to be WinPE as the O/P states that the system booted to the X: drive - which is the default for WinPE.

@raisenkane - Nitin is correct in asking whether the drive is USB 3.0. but more importantly, is the port on the machine a USB-3 port?  Most USB-3 devices will work happily on a USB-2 port, but it is possible that if you have a USB-3 port on your machine, the bios is able to handle a boot device running on this port, but once booted into WinPE, the WinPE operating system will be trying to mount all plug and play devices based on their device ID's, and consequently, a USB port with a device ID that is not linked to USB or   USB-2 hardware is not going to get mounted.

 

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PatPatriot55's picture

I'm not using a USB 3 port. I've tried on several workstations (Dell and HP) and I'm always using a USB 2 port.  On the HP there are USB 3 ports I will try booting using that but don't expect it to work as why wouldn't the Dell with only USB 2.0 ports not work either. I've made many custom bootable CD/DVD adding different network and storage device drivers in the past without this type of issue, Also I typically copy a few files via the "start file"  I put on the media into the x:\ghost directory and those files are NOT getting copied either.

EdT's picture

Are you getting any error messages?  

If you go to the WinPE command prompt, can you see the source files in the X:\Ghost directory?

Can you see the target directory, presumably on the local hard disk?

Assuming you are using the version of WinPE that comes with GSS 2.5.1.2266, the drivers you need to add are the Vista 32 bit drivers as WinPE V2 uses the Vista kernel.  If you are unsure of the drivers you have available, check out this article: https://www-secure.symantec.com/connect/articles/do-i-have-correct-driver-winpe

In addition, can I verify exactly what drivers you are adding to WinPE?  Typically you would need to install the appropriate NIC driver to provide network connectivity, and the appropriate SATA driver to provide hard disk connectivity.  Although the system bios may provide basic boot support, you cannot assume that you can get away without adding these drivers.

Finally, again from the command prompt, are your drive letter assignments as you are expecting in your scripts?

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PatPatriot55's picture

EdT, No error messages.GSS 2.5, version 11.5.1.2266.

I have multiple command prompt windows that all come up to the x:\ghost directory.

Everyting is there except for the files I am trying to copy there.

I can see the C: and D: partitions of the internal hard drive, I have network connectivity. Typically Broadcom NetXtreme, also have Intel 8259LM and other depending on the workstation type.

Thinking outloud now, it boots from the USB drive so the BIOs sees it, is it possible I have to add USB

drive to the WinPE OS?

Zac H's picture

You can't copy anything into X: because its a RAM drive.  It should be read-only.

 

What were the results from DISKPART > LIST DISK?  Do you see the USB drive there?  As suggested, you may just need to mount it from DISKPART.

 

edit: Assuming its a WIM, can you just mount the WIM in Windows with ImageX and add the files?

http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc749312(v=ws.10).aspx

PatPatriot55's picture

I've always copied files I added to the media during the "additional files" step of GBW then copy them into x: as part of the Configuration Files "START.BAT" (last step) of GBW.

No USB devices using diskpart listing disks or volumes.

EdT's picture

There should be no reason to add USB drivers to WinPE O/S unless there is something non-standard about your machine's USB ports. If you needed drivers for the base O/S install on the target machine then you would need them for WinPE as well, but that is rare unless you have USB-3 ports which do need drivers, hence our earlier questions.

What I am now puzzling over, and it may just be a matter of symantics, is the mention of trying to copy files to the X: drive. The X: drive is a virtual volume created by WinPE when it boots, and from which WinPE runs. It is certainly possible to write files to the X: drive once WinPE is booted, but they will have no permanence as the virtual drive is gone when winpe is terminated.

Re-reading the thread, I note that you are trying to read the USB device where you plan to store your source images, if I understand correctly. I assume you are planning to use 2Gb images if your USB key is formatted as FAT32, although you may have decided to format the key as NTFS and have single large images.

If you cannot find the USB key on any drive letter, then maybe no drive letter has been assigned to the USB device.

From the WinPE command prompt, type diskpart. At the diskpart command prompt, type lis dis

This will return the disk volumes that diskpart can see.

If the USB device is there you can assign a drive letter to it. Assuming it comes up as disk 3, type

sel dis 3  

assign

This will assign a drive letter, at which point you can type Exit to return to the WinPE command prompt.

My article: https://www-secure.symantec.com/connect/articles/readyadventures-winpe   will give you a more detailed description of working with WinPE.

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PatPatriot55's picture

EdT, Thanks for all the suggestions.I'll just have to keep investigating. I've tried 6 dofferent types of workstations and servers, I stuck other flashdrives in just to see if I can see the with no luck. I don't see the USB devices using diskpart listing disks or volumes.

FYI, my copying of the files are just bat files for network mounts/umounts etc and ghost installation for diffferent station types where my ghost images are on multiple DVDs. Thanks for the help, I'll post something if I even find it.

EdT's picture

Can I suggest you try a USB hard drive rather than a USB key - if that does not work either then there is something really strange going on.  You may wish to review your bios settings for USB support just in case there is something odd in there.

I find it hard to believe that the X: drive is read only as if this were the case you could not put the WinPE files in there in the first place....

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Zac H's picture

Being read-only (or at least trasient) is the expected result for the X: drive in WinPE.  It's simply the contents of the WIM loaded into a RAM drive.  Nothing is copied back into the WIM at shutdown, it's simply erased.

The more I think about this, the more it seems likely that this is a limitation of WinPE.  If the physical USB drive were mounted as well as the contents of the WIM (on X:), it's almost as if the same drive would be mounted twice.

Any reason you can't inject the files "offline" into the WIM using ImageX?

Zac H's picture

http://social.technet.microsoft.com/Forums/en-US/c...

So from this thread, there are a couple things that you could try:

1. Unplug and replug the USB drive

2. Disable USB 3.0 in BIOS, if available

3. Add USB 3.0 drivers for chipset

4. Make sure file system is NTFS

5. Mounting the WIM and dumping your needed files in there

XB's picture

In WinPE I use the following script to find my USBstick. Hope you can use parts of it.
I put this script as a-mountUSB.cmd in the winpe startup folder.

set EXITLEVEL=0
set TARGETDISK=
set /A CountUSB=0

call :FindUSBStick
if not "%CountUSB%"=="1" goto :End

rem Map usbstick as drive U:
if /i "%TARGETDISK%"=="U:" goto End
echo SELECT VOLUME %TARGETDISK% >%temp%\Diskpart.txt
echo REMOVE >>%temp%\Diskpart.txt
echo ASSIGN LETTER=U: >>%temp%\Diskpart.txt
echo LIST VOLUME >>%temp%\Diskpart.txt
echo EXIT >>%temp%\Diskpart.txt
diskpart.exe /s %temp%\Diskpart.txt
if not "%errorlevel%"=="0" set EXITLEVEL=%errorlevel% & goto ErrorExit

goto End

:: ----------------------------------------------------------------------------
:: Error handling, logging and other functions
:: ----------------------------------------------------------------------------
:FindUSBStick
rem If WMIC is not installed, this will install it
WMIC /? >nul
for /f "usebackq skip=1" %%i IN (`wmic logicaldisk where ^(drivetype^=2^) get deviceID`) Do call :SetUSBDrive %%i
if "%CountUSB%"=="1" goto :EOF
set EXITLEVEL=8
call :Log ERROR: Found %CountUSB% USB-stick(s).
goto ErrorExit

:SetUSBDrive
if "%1"=="" goto :EOF
set TARGETDISK=%1
set /A CountUSB+=1
goto :EOF

:ErrorExit
call :Log ERROR: %~nx0 returned: %EXITLEVEL%
%SystemDrive%\wndctl.exe -lock
sleep 30
shutdown /s /t 0
goto End

:Log
@for /f "delims=, tokens=1" %%i in ("%TIME%") do @set DT=%DATE% %%i:
@set M=%*
@echo %DT% %M%
@goto :EOF

:: ----------------------------------------------------------------------------
:: Exit
:: ----------------------------------------------------------------------------
:End
if "%EXITLEVEL%"=="0" call :Log %~nx0 finished successfully

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PatPatriot55's picture

Thanks for the suggestions, but Zac H is correct. I have logic in my START.BAT that determine the boot device and it always works fine. In this case, since the USB drive is not seen, hence not determined.  DISPART only lists the internal drive(s) and CD/DVD as volumes.

Zac H's picture

I don't think that will work if the drive doesn't show up in diskpart...

PatPatriot55's picture

Thanks to all for the suggestions and helping me out, I learned some things. I finally figured it out (sort of).    I have many versions of WinPE images I've crafted with various NIC and storage device drivers for machines I deployed over the years. I went back to the "Default" WinPE image and built the bootable flashdrive from that and it works fine. Maybe a driver conflict along the way. I usually just add the latest and greatest NIC or storage driver so I can have a single bootable for all the machines I typically support for network backup or deployment. Once again, Thanks to all!

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