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Network and Classroom Management Thread, CC3 boot disk on USB drive? in Technical; ...
  1. #16

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    I use a usb stick with a floppy drive switch nice and easy, they only cost about £10.


  2. #17
    s69 is offline

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    RM sell the Netac NTU207/U208 1GB stick which has a switch on the side.
    In the 'FDD' position I have a CC3 station build disk, and in the other I have a CC4 WinPE build CD image, so I can boot either.
    To make a bootable CC4 USB disk, use the RMPARTUSB and RMBOOTSECT tools - see DWN1179666 on rm support site.

  3. #18
    Slewis's Avatar
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    Cool CC3 Build on USB? Piece of cake.

    I've also been working on making a regular USB Pendrive version of the CC3 RM Boot Disk, I've tried various methods, all of which until now, have fallen down. But, I think, I have at last, finally got it cracked.

    There may well be other ways of doing this, this is just the first one I've tried that has worked, feel free to investigate, and please post your findings back here.

    Objective: Bootable USB-HDD Pendrive recognised as A: Drive - Without Paying a Penny.

    Tested with:
    MS-DOS Startup Disk
    Laptop with BIOS Option "USB RMD-FDD"

    <Has so far worked with every desktop machine I've tried it with>
    Software Used:
    Trial-Version UltraISO 9.3 (setup attached)
    Either Private Drive Image XML (Setup attached)
    or CloneZilla (too big to attach, see Addendum Step 2 at the bottom of this post for link.)
    or USB Image Tool(Setup attached)

    The Magic Trick:

    Install Trial-version UltraISO 9.3
    ** Hopefully the original poster will be cheered to know this functionality only existed since version 9.2 - released just 2days before his post. (26/05/08)

    Insert RM Boot Disk (Or any other boot disk)
    Insert USB Flash Drive
    (or wait until later if preferred)

    Start Trial-Version UltraISO 9.3
    Click Bootable (menu)
    Click "Make Floppy Image..."
    Make sure it's looking at the correct Drive (A or B)
    Take note of the directory the image is saved to.
    Click "Ok"
    Click "Close"
    Click "File" (menu)
    Click "Open"
    You should find yourself in the directory the Floppy Image was saved to, if not, navigate there.
    Select the Saved "Boot.ima" or whatever you choose to name the Floppy Image.
    Click "Open" to open the Floppy Image.
    >>> Optional: <<<
    Depending on the size of your pendrive you can:
    Press "F9" and resize the image upto 240MB or higher, (see note under Format)
    Click "Ok"
    >>> End Optional <<<

    Click the box with three dots besides empty "Output Filename" and navigate to the folder you want to save in, then type a name, I chose a generic name: "Boot2.ima" but choose whatever name you like.

    >>> Warning: The one time I tried to overwrite the original with the new version the image was corrupted and wouldn't boot <<<

    Click "Ok"

    >>> USB Flash Drive MUST be inserted from this point <<<

    Click "Bootable" (menu)
    Click "Write Disk Image..."
    Select your Pendrive (BEWARE: It likes to default to the second hard drive)
    Optionally click Verify
    Click "Format"

    >>> Warning: This will erase all files on the Pendrive. <<<

    >>> Note: Whilst in Format see what size your pendrive is as FAT, and bear in mind that you can increase the size of your image to this (Mine was 953MB in FAT, so I increased the image size again to 950MB). <<<
    Type a Volume label if you desire
    I left the File System as FAT
    I also left the Default Allocation Size
    And left Quick Format ticked 
    Click "Start"
    Click "Ok" to the Warning
    Click "Ok" to the Confirmation
    Click "Close" when it's completed
    Change "Write Method" to "USB-ZIP" not "USB-ZIP+" (didn't try USB-ZIP+, may work, may not)
    Click "Xpress Boot"
    Choose "Xpress Write"
    Click "Yes" to the Confirmation
    And... Ta-da! Go test your new RM Floppy-Pendrive.

    Now to update it to a newer RM Boot Floppy (perhaps with new drivers etc), simply copy all of the data files from your new Build Manager created RM Boot Floppy onto this pendrive, overwriting everything you like, you probably need to make sure you don't overwrite Command.com, IO.SYS and MSDOS.SYS. (There's a hidden pointer on the boot sector that points to them so the machine can find them before it knows how to read a directory. Copying over them might or might not shift the start position, leaving those pointers dangling and your pendrive non-bootable.)

    You should note, it is only £16.34 to licence UltraISO, if you want to save time making RM Boot Pendrives, this may well be worth it for you... it really is a shame they never thought to list this usage as one of the utility's "main features", I'm sure RM would have loved to stick a limiting front-end on it software and call it RMUltraISO.


    Now about the doing it for free...

    Step 1: Uninstall Trial-Version of UltraISO 9.3... to avoid paying for licence, having tried it and found it of little use from this point forwards.

    Step 2: ... Call me silly, but my first thought was to find some free software to burn .img images to USB-HDD like Linux's dd (also has a Windows port). However, it's complicated to use and ran for over an hour with no indication of progress, so I gave up on it.
    It then occured to me that I didn't need to work with their silly .ima & .img files at all, now that we have a Floppy USB-HDD, we can create an image of it with any program we want!

    The utilities that seem best suited are the:
    Free for Private Use (Commercial licence costs $100), Windows based: Drive Image XML available from:
    DriveImage XML Backup Software
    Free entirely, Open-source Linux Based CloneZilla available from:
    Free entirely, USB Image Tool found on: [url="http://www.nirmaltv.com/2008/07/05/backup-your-usb-drives-with-usb-image-tool/"]

    I won't go into how to use these utilities as they're well documented/fairly self explanatory.

    I don't know the legalities of using DriveXML in a school, as we're not companies & especially for the purposes of backing up your own private pendrive, but they say Organizations also have to buy the Commercial license?. So, whatever.

    CloneZilla is def. free, I'd recommend downloading a burning the live CD for ease. (Boots straight off the CD, no need for installation).

    Make an image of your RM Floppy-Pendrive using your preferred free software and restore it to whichever Pendrives you like.

    Obviously the actual RM files can be changed on the fly as this remains a writable USB Pendrive throughout. Sadly their batch files are somewhat of a Maze to work through however :-/

    Feel free to post any questions/comments, I'll do my best to field them.

    Attached Files Attached Files
    Last edited by Slewis; 4th November 2008 at 02:40 PM. Reason: Added USB Image Tool

  4. Thanks to Slewis from:

    cheesypete (18th November 2008)

  5. #19
    s69 is offline

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    Most USB flash memory drives are USB-ZIP drives when shipped.

    They appear as a 'Removable Device' in Windows Explorer. If it appears as a 'Hard Disk' in Windows Explorer then it is a USB-HDD.

    On some UFDs you can change the 'Removable Media Bit' in the device Identify parameters so that it can appear either as a USB-HDD or a USB-ZIP (non-removable or removable) by changing this bit. Lexar Jumpdrives and RM MiniSafe Pro can do this. You can use the utility BootIt.exe to try to flip this removable media bit. Run it and click on the 'flip removable bit' button - wait for the LED to stop flashing and then remove the UFD and re-insert it. It should now appear in Explorer as the 'other' type.

    So that is the difference between a USB-ZIP and USB-HDD - BUT BIOSes also have their own rules. Many older BIOSes will not detect a USB-ZIP as a ZIP (floppy) device if the capacity is over 512MB. e.g. MX46 mainboards and Ultralight M5N early RM notebook.

    USB-FDD devices identify themselves as a 'TEAC floppy drive' and have a capacity of 1.44MB. Many BIOSes will refuse to detect larger devices as a 'floppy drive' unless it has these features.
    True floppy disks have no MBR and no partition table. The first sector of the disk is the volume boot sector (the one that loads IO.SYS or KERNEL.SYS depending on the OS present).

    Next we move onto partitions. Both USB-ZIP and USB-HDD drives have a MBR with boot code and a partition table just like hard disks. A USB-ZIP drive must have only a single partition table entry. The difference is that when the BIOS boots a USB-ZIP drive, it 'should' convert any floppy drive BIOS access calls (actually Int 13h 42h/43h for read/write) by adding the partition offset to the actual sector requested. This means that an OS sees the device as a large floppy disk with Sector 1 (i.e. LBA 0 or Block 0) when accessed, returned as the volume boot sector and not the MBR. i.e. the BIOS lies so that the OS thinks it is on a large floppy disk.

    For USB-HDD UFDs, these are treated just like any hard disk, with an MBR containing up to four primary partitions and containing up to four primary volumes, one of which can be an extended volume and hence contain many more volumes - just like any hard disk.

    Now we move on to the Volume boot sector. This is the first sector at the start of each volume. It contains the boot code that loads the OS in that volume and the name of the file to load - e.g. IO.SYS, ntldr, bootmgr, kernel.sys, etc.. For best compatibility for UFD DOS booting, this should be formatted as FAT-16, although to boot to WinPE you can format it as FAT-32 or even NTFS.

    A FAT-16 volume boot sector has two crucial bytes which identify what type of device it is ('floppy' or 'hard disk') to the OS that it will try to boot, these are at offset 15h and 24h. If these are set incorrectly then the OS may not boot correctly or may boot as a hard disk instead of a floppy (C: instead of A: for DOS). For CC3 boot UFDs it needs to boot as A:.

    DOS can boot as either, but WinPE (CC4) only boots from 'hard disk' volumes.

    Also, many format programs set the Drive ID byte (24h) to (for example) 81h instead of 80h. This will cause the boot to fail as the OS will try to load boot sectors from drive 2 (81h) and not drive 1 (80h).

    So, ideally:

    A UFD which is USB-ZIP, should have an MBR with one active partition. The Drive ID bytes in the volume boot sector should have bytes 15h and 24h set to F0h and 00h respectively.

    A USB-HDD UFD will have these bytes set to F8h and 80h respectively so the OS thinks it is a hard disk and accesses it as device 80h or the first hard disk.

    Unfortunately, BIOSes are VERY inconsistent in how they treat UFDs even if correctly formatted.

    The latest Intel BIOSes allow you to treat a USB-ZIP 'removable' device as either a 'removable' boot device or a 'hard disk' boot device. This determines if the BIOS should 'lie' about accesses to Block 0 (LBA 0) or not, as explained above.
    Changing the way that the BIOS treats a UFD in the BIOS settings can cause a device to boot or not boot. Different BIOSes can thus boot or not boot from the same UFD - it is very hit and miss! Setting a BIOS to USB-ZIP may work on one system, and setting it to USB-HDD may work for another system when using the same UFD!

    This means that one partition and format program for UFDs may work for one system, but will not work for a different system/BIOS.

    The best chance is to use a true USB-FDD UFD (like the Netac U207/U208) or a USB-ZIP of 512MB or less in size (like RM MiniSafe Pro 512MB or Lexar Jumpdrive 512MB).

    Several different systems I have tried will not boot from a 1GB RM MiniSafe Pro, but will boot from a 512MB MiniSafe Pro!

    Last edited by s69; 23rd September 2008 at 12:38 PM.

  6. #20
    s69 is offline

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    Smile new USB boot tools from RM

    New tool downloadable from RM website.
    Use RMPREPUSB to partition, format and make bootable any USB stick. RMPREPUSB

  7. Thanks to s69 from:

    Marci (6th April 2009)

  8. #21

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    We use the netac usb fdd drives with the switch on them, well worth the money!! no hassle whatsoever, just create a build disk on them from the server and then away you go, very quick compared to usb floppy drives we used previous and does make life loads easier.

    We have tried in the past to use the hp tool to create a bootable usb disk and it did work (not as easily as the netac drives) but we found with these the data would corrupt after using the drive 3 or 4 times so you would have to rebuild again where as with the netacs we rebuilt the entire school last term (450 computers on cc3) and did not have a usb stick corrupt once.

    I advise to spend a little bit of cash on the rm website and buy some, they are about £13 each at the moment, just buy ten and away you go.

    Just trying the rm utility now to see how it goes.

  9. #22

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    just as an additional note: if you use HP hardware (relatively new) it is not possible to get them to build from CC3 build disk on USB (no matter what you do, even HP utility). But netacs work absolutely perfectly (CC3 or otherwise). It's worth buying a couple.
    Trust me, I spent far too much of my life trying to get standard USBs to boot with new HPs!!!

    expect someone will now prove me wrong......


  10. #23

    sparkeh's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stuarte View Post
    netacs work absolutely perfectly (CC3 or otherwise). It's worth buying a couple.
    Agreed! I now use Nectac USB disks with FDD emulation and they are worth their weight in gold.

  11. #24
    Lyptherion's Avatar
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    We use Netac OnlyDisk's here with the unattended RM installation files sooo useful can rebuild a full room in about 10 minuets

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