Solutions Through IT

January 25, 2012

Bootable USB Drives? Too Easy!

Filed under: Uncategorized — solutionsthroughit @ 00:02

I had a nice tool – the Windows 7 DVD/USB Download Tool.  The problem was that it wasn’t reliable at creating USB bootable drives, and would only work for a while, and became increasingly harder to successfully create a bootable USB stick.

I’ve found some methods for getting this going, or just doing it by hand!

WARNING – THESE STEPS CAN CAUSE YOU TO WIPE / LOSE DATA IF YOU DO NOT FOLLOW THESE CORRECTLY.  I TAKE ABSOLUTELY NO RESPONSIBILITY FOR YOUR COMPUTER SYSTEMS, DATA OR ANY CONSEQUENCE OF YOU (ATTEMPTING TO) FOLLOW THESE INSTRUCTIONS.

Windows 7 / Server 2008 R2

Windows 7 USB Boot Disk

Insert your USB disk, ensure it is visible in device manager.

Open an ELEVATED command prompt

load DISKPART

LIST DISK and then SELECT DISK <x>, where <x> is your USB Drive

CLEAN (this will wipe ALL partitions from the selected disk.  If you just did this to your C: drive, or didn’t backup the data on the drive you just wiped, don’t call me).

CREATE PARTITION PRIMARY (will create a primary partition occupying the whole free space of your drive)

ACTIVE (Marks the disk active)

FORMAT FS=NTFS QUICK (Optional quick for new USB drives – use at your digression)

ASSIGN LETTER=<DRIVELETTER> (Where <DRIVELETTER> is obviously the drive letter you’d like to assign it)

EXIT

At this point you can now re-run the W7DUDT tool again, and will likely have success at creating a drive, or you can follow the few remaining steps to build a working boot Disk

Assuming you’ve assigned your USB disk “U:” drive and your DVD drive is D: drive, you can now do the following, once you have inserted your Windows 7 DVDROM into your DVDROM drive.

D:\boot\bootsect.exe /NT60 U: (This will make your USB drive bootable)

xcopy D:\*.* U:\ /devichy (will copy all files on the Windows 7 DVD to your USB disk.  Go get a coffee at this point).

Voila, you’ve now made your own Windows 7 USB boot device.

 

Windows XP USB Boot Disk

Surprisingly enough, the Windows XP steps are remarkably similar.  The changes:

Instead of FORMAT FS=NTFS QUICK, use FORMAT FS=FAT QUICK (NOTE – you cannot have a partition greater than 4GB for this – add SIZE=4000 to the CREATE PARTITION PRIMARY command issued earlier)

and instead of D:\boot\bootsect.exe /NT60 U: use D:\boot\bootsect.exe /NT52 U: (NOTE: You WILL need the Windows 7 DVD in D: drive for this step)

Finally, swap your Windows 7 DVD with your Windows XP CD before you do xcopy D:\*.* U:\ /devichy

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