Tip: Boot from USB Key

(See addendum, updated 3/1/04)

USB memory keys are becoming more and more commonplace, and have finally begun to replace the ancient floppy drive for temporary file storage. I just purchased a Lexar 128MB JumpDrive from Dell for $21.70 after rebate, which isn’t a bad deal at all considering the storage offered.

The primary reason for this purchase stems from the new Dell Inspiron 600m laptop I recently purchased. The laptop didn’t come with a floppy drive, and I didn’t feel like spending the $50 to add the floppy as an option. Lucky for me, the new BIOSes in the Inspiron series laptops have the ability to boot from a USB key drive. After a bit of searching on the Dell Community Forum, I came across this informative site that has a free utility available to create bootable USB key drives.

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36 thoughts on “Tip: Boot from USB Key

  1. When I do this i get an error

    “Drive Geometry is not known (cylinders 31, Tracks 255, Sectors 63)

  2. What kind of drive are you using? I get a similar error with my Lexar JumpDrive Pro (256MB, USB 2.0). Turns out it isn’t bootable due to it’s strange partitioning.

  3. Just go tthe hp site, hp.com, search for drivers for the hp d530. They have the HP USB Disk Storage Format Tool, which allows you to create a bootable usb key, pending the fact that you have and windoes based bootable floppy like 98, 95 me etc.

  4. Thanks I used the download to fix my lexar 256 jumpdrive pro 2.0.

    Brilliant

    Regards,

    Mutec

  5. Hello All,

    Has anyone successfully installed Windows platform on a USB key and made it bootable?

    I am trying to get this working but have so far been unsuccessful.

    Help would be appreciated

    Daniel

  6. Thank you so much for this utility. I have been searching and searching, and was finally convinced to just go buy a few of the brands that come with utilites to make them bootable. This will save us alot of time ghosting our new dells at work that come without floppies.

  7. Can someone tell me if the HP key software will allow me to boot to a pen drive so I can run Damned Small Linux?

    Much appreciated!

    Tracy

  8. HP USB Disk Storage Format Tool utility works perfectly fine with the USB pen drive (Make: Cruzer mini 256 MB)….
    Thank you for your support…..Sajit

  9. You guys are great! Somehow I left my Dell Key in while installing Xp again and it split a 64meg key into 42meg and 8meg. I couldn’t get the drive back to 64meg arfet I realized what happened. The HP utility worked great!

  10. I’ve tried the HP utility and it doesn’t seem to work, I am using a Kingmax 128Mb drive. I just displayed a blank screen with “j” on the top left hand corner. Anybody knows why?

  11. Have used the HP utility with great success to get to ghost, etc. What I would like is to be able to boot to the USB pen drive and see a maxtor USB external hard drive for bigger images.

    Thoughts?

    Thank you..

    Jack McNeil

  12. I suggest you install both SecureImage (CAPTCHA) and SpamKarma2 to elimate most of the spam you’re suffering
    ;)

  13. HP USB Disk Storage Format Tool utility works perfectly fine with the USB pen drive (Make: Cruzer mini 256 MB)….
    Value Addition:
    You can even use this USB pendrive to boot different make desktops for GHOSTING.
    Just replace your required contents in CONFIG.SYS & AUTOEXEC.BAT file (mentioned in below

    Example:
    —————————————————————————————————————-
    CONFIG.SYS contents:
    @echo off

    [MENU]
    menuitem=WIPEDISK
    menuitem=Nx5000
    menuitem=Dell240
    menuitem=Dell260
    menuitem=Dell270
    menuitem=Dell280
    menuitem=m2000
    menuitem=Compaq
    menuitem=C640
    menuitem=D600
    menuitem=D400
    menuitem=IBMR32
    menuitem=IBMR40
    menuitem=Nx9000
    menuitem=Nx9010
    menuitem=Zenith
    menuitem=R40e

    [WIPEDISK]
    dos=umb

    [Nx5000]
    DEVICE=\net\nx5000\protman.dos /I:\net\nx5000
    DEVICE=\net\nx5000\dis_pkt.dos
    DEVICE=\net\nx5000\b44.dos

    [Dell240]
    DEVICE=\net\Dell240\protman.dos /I:\net\Dell240
    DEVICE=\net\Dell240\dis_pkt.dos
    DEVICE=\net\Dell240\EL90X.dos

    [Dell260]
    DEVICE=\net\Dell260\protman.dos /I:\net\Dell260
    DEVICE=\net\Dell260\dis_pkt.dos
    DEVICE=\net\Dell260\e100.dos

    [Dell270]
    DEVICE=\net\Dell270\protman.dos /I:\net\Dell270
    DEVICE=\net\Dell270\dis_pkt.dos
    DEVICE=\net\Dell270\e1000.dos

    [Dell280]
    DEVICE=\net\Dell280\protman.dos /I:\net\Dell280
    DEVICE=\net\Dell280\dis_pkt.dos
    DEVICE=\net\Dell280\b57.dos

    [m2000]
    DEVICE=\net\m2000\protman.dos /I:\net\m2000
    DEVICE=\net\m2000\dis_pkt.dos
    DEVICE=\net\m2000\rtsnd.dos

    [Compaq]
    DEVICE=\net\Compaq\protman.dos /I:\net\Compaq
    DEVICE=\net\Compaq\dis_pkt.dos
    DEVICE=\net\Compaq\E100B.dos

    [C640]
    DEVICE=\net\C640\protman.dos /I:\net\C640
    DEVICE=\net\C640\dis_pkt.dos
    DEVICE=\net\C640\EL90X.dos

    [D600]
    DEVICE=\net\D600\protman.dos /I:\net\D600
    DEVICE=\net\D600\dis_pkt.dos
    DEVICE=\net\D600\B57.dos

    [D400]
    DEVICE=\net\D400\protman.dos /I:\net\D400
    DEVICE=\net\D400\dis_pkt.dos
    DEVICE=\net\D400\B57.dos

    [IBMR32]
    DEVICE=\net\IBMR32\protman.dos /I:\net\IBMR32
    DEVICE=\net\IBMR32\dis_pkt.dos
    DEVICE=\net\IBMR32\E100B.dos

    [IBMR40]
    DEVICE=\net\IBMR40\protman.dos /I:\net\IBMR40
    DEVICE=\net\IBMR40\dis_pkt.dos
    DEVICE=\net\IBMR40\E100B.dos

    [Nx9000]
    DEVICE=\net\Nx9000\protman.dos /I:\net\Nx9000
    DEVICE=\net\Nx9000\dis_pkt.dos
    DEVICE=\net\Nx9000\Fa311.dos

    [Nx9010]
    DEVICE=\net\Nx9010\protman.dos /I:\net\Nx9010
    DEVICE=\net\Nx9010\dis_pkt.dos
    DEVICE=\net\Nx9010\dp83815.dos

    [Zenith]
    DEVICE=\net\Zenith\protman.dos /I:\net\Zenith
    DEVICE=\net\Zenith\dis_pkt.dos
    DEVICE=\net\Zenith\SIS900.DOS

    [R40e]
    DEVICE=\net\R40e\protman.dos /I:\net\R40e
    DEVICE=\net\R40e\dis_pkt.dos
    DEVICE=\net\R40e\B57.dos
    —————————————————————————————————————-

    AUTOEXEC.BAT contents:

    @echo off
    prompt $p$g
    goto %CONFIG%

    :WIPEDISK
    @ \wipedisk\wipedrv
    goto end

    :DELL240
    \net\netbind.com
    \MOUSE.COM
    cd \ghost
    echo Loading…
    GHOST.EXE -JS=4
    goto end

    :DELL260
    \net\netbind.com
    \MOUSE.COM
    cd \ghost
    echo Loading…
    GHOST.EXE -JS=4
    goto end

    :DELL270
    \net\netbind.com
    \MOUSE.COM
    cd \ghost
    echo Loading…
    GHOST.EXE -JS=4
    goto end

    :DELL280
    \net\netbind.com
    \MOUSE.COM
    cd \ghost
    echo Loading…
    GHOST.EXE -JS=4
    goto end

    :m2000
    \net\netbind.com
    \MOUSE.COM
    cd \ghost
    echo Loading…
    GHOST.EXE -JS=4
    goto end

    :DELLd400
    \net\netbind.com
    \MOUSE.COM
    cd \ghost
    echo Loading…
    GHOST.EXE -JS=4
    goto end

    :Compaq
    \net\netbind.com
    \MOUSE.COM
    cd \ghost
    echo Loading…
    GHOST.EXE -JS=4
    goto end

    :C640
    \net\netbind.com
    \MOUSE.COM
    cd \ghost
    echo Loading…
    GHOST.EXE -JS=4
    goto end

    :D600
    \net\netbind.com
    \MOUSE.COM
    cd \ghost
    echo Loading…
    GHOST.EXE -JS=4
    goto end

    :IBMR32
    \net\netbind.com
    \MOUSE.COM
    cd \ghost
    echo Loading…
    GHOST.EXE -JS=4
    goto end

    :IBMR40
    \net\netbind.com
    \MOUSE.COM
    cd \ghost
    echo Loading…
    GHOST.EXE -JS=4
    goto end

    :NX9000
    \net\netbind.com
    \MOUSE.COM
    cd \ghost
    echo Loading…
    GHOST.EXE -JS=4
    goto end

    :NX9010
    \net\netbind.com
    \MOUSE.COM
    cd \ghost
    echo Loading…
    GHOST.EXE -JS=4
    goto end

    :nx5000
    \net\netbind.com
    \MOUSE.COM
    cd \ghost
    echo Loading…
    GHOST.EXE -JS=4
    goto end

    :R40e
    \net\netbind.com
    \MOUSE.COM
    cd \ghost
    echo Loading…
    GHOST.EXE -JS=4
    goto end

    :Zenith
    \net\netbind.com
    \MOUSE.COM
    cd \ghost
    echo Loading…
    GHOST.EXE -JS=4
    goto end

    :end
    cls
    —————————————————————————————————————-
    Hope You find this information Useful… Cheers !!! Sajit Paricharak – sajitp@hotmail.com

  14. um, I have made the boot disk but it’s still only 1.4mb’s in size. can we make this bigger? if it needs to be 1.4mb in size due to some dos requirement thats fine but how can i make it access the rest of the space?

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