Monday, August 06, 2007

Boot from USB Key Drive and U3 info



I finally got this all working.
- make sure you enable it in the bios (and the boot order is correct - as in usb device before hard drive)
- not all usb key drives work. I found this out first hand
- http://www.bootdisk.com/pendrive.htm
I tried almost every method and finally got one to work. In my case it was method 2 first utility. The link is dead but I found a mirror:
http://www.docjelly.com/Blog/SearchView.aspx?q=SP27213.exe
- format a floppy, check create ms-dos startup disk
- I used a 1gb sd card in a reader as my "boot device"
- Run the hp utility and pick the drive letter where your usb key drive is (or in my case a reader with a SD card in it). Choose create a dos startup disk, using dos system files at location and choose your A: drive.
- This also worked with a win98se boot cd I had created (hmm except mt170 crashes under win98se vs winMe which is what xp format creates). Just make sure to copy all files from your boot disk to your usb device (do NOT overwrite existing files on the usb device). The only part that fails is the extraction of extra dos commands to the ramdrive since it is looking for drive a:. What you can do is just extract EBD.sys right on your usb device that way the commands are always available. Another alternative is to edit the SETRAMD.BAT. Remove a:\ from a:\findramd. You might also want to edit the autoexec.bat and change the path command so it reads like this:
path=%RAMD%:\;c:\;%CDROM%:\. remove system,hidden,read only attributes from command.com
- To boot I used a tiny iomega usb sd card reader device (warning: it seems to only support max 1gb sd cards for some reason well at least with the one SD brand I tested it with. I probably need to do some more testing). So basically I can create different bootable images just by swapping out SD cards. Way Cool!
- Next I D/L
Download - Pre-Compiled EXE file for USB Key (Pure DOS)
http://www.memtest.org/
Drop the exe on the sd card and now I can run memtest from my bootable sd card!

All this because I was too lazy to swap out my extra battery on my laptop with the optical drive to run the bootable iso of memtest.

I recently picked up one of these:
http://tinyurl.com/yobs8u

- usually onsale for $40 no rebate (picked it up at Circuit City but seen it at Best Buy too)
- very good performance read and write
- readyboost
- tiny. I love the retractable usb connector.
- U3 support:
http://www.u3.com/
http://www.everythingusb.com/u3.html
- Installation of u3 apps is a snap using the built in tiny tray app/launcher. Many are free.
The firefox for u3 works really well. Great performance. Part of the reason is it creates some temporary files when u3 starts and then cleans itself up after you eject.
You can examine this behavior if you look at this directory:
C:\Documents and Settings\youruserid\Application Data\U3
So I can confirm it really does do a good job of cleaning itself up completely upon a proper eject of the media.
- For no u3 apps (say maybe you found something at http://portableapps.com/ that isn't u3 supported yet) you can still create your own shortcut in the u3 launcher using this:
http://usb.smithtech.us/projects/shortcut_creator.php
To extract icons use this:
www.nirsoft.net/utils/iconsext.html
- I've tried several other u3 apps like filezilla, irfanview, and even open office. They all work great. I tried gwfreaks and vlc which are not u3 apps but the shortcut creator worked just fine.
- Some other sites:
http://www.u3community.com/
http://www.eure.ca/ (never tried this)

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