HOWTO: I have no floppy drive, how do I boot from USB Memory

Software, Utilities & OS questions, comments, tips and tweaks

Moderator: Moderators

HOWTO: I have no floppy drive, how do I boot from USB Memory

Postby PaulDriver » Wed Mar 01, 2006 5:13 pm

HOWTO: I have no floppy drive, how do I boot DOS from a USB Memory device!!

This is my attempt to help people make a USB Memory Device DOS bootable, using freely available utilities.

First, you need to set your system's BIOS so that you can boot from the device in question. In order for this to happen the USB Memory Device must be in the boot order list before the harddisk if you expect to boot from it.

On later(newer) BIOSes you may have an option to press the ESC key before booting, and selecting the device to boot from. The USB Memory Device will appear in this list after it has had a boot sector written to it.

Next, you will need software that will write a boot block to the USB Memory Device. On some machines, this can be done with standard partitioning tools (fdisk or others). I have yet to own a machine that could do this, and I have not personally met anyone who has, but the Internet is full of anecdotal reports of this working.

I have found two successful methods of writing a Boot Block to a USB Memory Device, they are the HP Disk Storage Format Tool, and the MakeBootFat command line utility. The MakeBootFat command line utility is documented in a second post, following this one.

Method 1: Using the HP Disk Storage Format Tool

The simplest method of all is to get a copy of the Compaq/HP USB Disk Storage Format Tool, contained in SP27213.exe . The HP website lists this service pack, but I've never been able to download it from their FTP server. A quick google search will probably locate a source for you, but if you have problems, I last located SP27213.exe from THIS URL ( Alternative URL #1 with DOS System Files, Alt. URL #2 with DOS ).

After unpacking, installing, and executing this tool, it will write a hard disk style boot block (MBR) to your USB Memory Device, and the USB Memory Device will appear as a harddrive when booted.

The HP utility does need a source for the PC/MS/DR/Open DOS boot files (dos.sys/msdos.sys io.sys and command.com) there are many sources for these files, you may have a win9x/me boot CD, cab files or other sources available to you.

If no pc/ms/dr/opendos files are available to you, try BOOTDISK.COM for a Windows 98se boot disk (Try this link if you have trouble with the first) , and the Virtual Floppy Disk Utility to mount image files as a drive, and allow read/write access to the contents.

The end result of running the HP Utility is that your USB Memory Device will be formatted (so back up your data), it will have a harddrive style MBR written to it. It will also have the three necessary boot files copied to it. This USB Memory Device will now boot as a harddrive, appear as a USB hardrive, and, when booted from, will appear as drive C:.

If this is unacceptable to you, or not compatible with your BIOS, then you will need to use the Makebootfat utility documented in the second post.

Step by Step instructions for the HP Disk Storage Format Tool.

Step 1: Download the necessary utilities/files

http://www.docjelly.com/Blog/content/binary/SP27213.exe or Alt#1 / Alt#2
http://chitchat.at.infoseek.co.jp/vmware/vfd21-050404.zip if you need to use a floppydisk image file
http://www.dehning.com/download/utilities/bootdisks/boot98.exe or http://www.msu-hb.de/download/boot98se.exe if you do not have access to the MS-DOS system files.

Step 2: Extract and install the necessary utilities/files

Install the SP27213.exe file somewhere ( say c:\utility\drivekey\ )
If you need to use a floppydisk image file to access the DOS system files, extract the vfd21-050404.zip somewhere ( say c:\utility\VFD\ ).
If you are using the floppydisk image file, extract the boot98.exe file using a WinRar or maybe another zip utility. This archive will give you an error when extracted with winrar, but the image file inside (winb98.ima) will extract. If extracting this fails, use the boot98sc.zip file (It's not a standard win98se boot disk image). Either way, put the resulting winb98.ima or win98se.img file somewhere ( say c:\utility\VFD\ ), this step is needed only if you have no other source for the DOS system files.

Step 3: Prepare and Format the USB-MD.

Insert the USB Memory Device into a USB socket (if not already installed), do not use a HUB.

3a: Run the VFD Control Panel (c:\utility\VFD\vfdwin.exe), if you have a source for the DOS system files other then an image file you can skip this and proceed to Step 3b.

The VFD Control Panel will start on the device driver tab, press the [install] and [start] buttons. Switch to the drive 0 tab, and press the [drive letter] button, and select something other then A or B as a mount point. On my system, drive K is the next available drive :) (Neither Drive A nor B works with the HP Utility on my system).

Now, you will press the [open] button, and point the VFD Control Panel to either the WINB98.IMA or the WIN98SEC.IMG image file and click the new [open] button.

You now have the MSDOS boot/system files available on a new drive.

Now that the prep-work is done, you can actually do something to your USB Memory Device.

3b: Start the HP USB Disk Storage Format Tool (from the start menu).

Your USB Memory Device should be visible on the top most drop down menu (if not, look for it, if it still does not show up, your USB Device may be incompatible with booting or this utility).
Select FAT or FAT32 as your file system, Fat32 may be preferable for large memory devices, FAT may be preferred if you are going for maximum compatibility (example: you want to use the device with Printers, Cameras, etc).
Optionally, you may give your USB-MD a Volume Label.
Click the ''Quick Format'' check box.
Click the ''Create DOS Startup Disk'' check box.
Select the ''Using DOS System Files Located at:'' radio button.
Point the HP Utility to the source of your DOS system files (the directory, floppy, or virtual floppy drive) using the [...] button below the ''Using DOS System Files Located at:'' radio button.
Click the [Start] button.

You should recive a confirmation message that your USB Memory Device was formatted, open it and verify that command.com, (MS)dos.sys and io.sys are present.

Close the HP USB Disk Storage Format Tool.

If you followed step 3aGo to the VFD Control Panel and on the drive 0 tab, press the [close] button, next go the the driver tab and press the [stop] and [uninstall] button, and exit the VFD Control Panel.

You are done partitioning and formatting your USB Memory Device. Transfer what ever additional data you need to the device (Award Flash and a BIOS Image for example), edit the config.sys and autoexec.bat is necessary and reboot your machine.

Your computer SHOULD now boot from the USB Memory Device.



Method 2: Using the MakeBootFat Utility

makebootfat is a command line tool, but it does allow a good deal more flexibility then the HP Tool. For example makebootfat will allow you to write a Linux image to a USB Memory Device. Makebootfat will require some of the same tools used with the HP utility, and to make a USB Memory Device dos bootable and emulate a USB Floppy Drive ( a USB Zip/LS120 Drive to be exact) you really only need the command line makebootfat.exe -v -o usb -m mbrfat.bin -b winb98.ima k:\ (where k:\ is the location of the dos source files).


Step by Step instructions for the MakeBootFat utility.

Step 1: Download the necessary utilities/files

http://prdownloads.sourceforge.net/advancemame/makebootfat-1.4-windows-pentium.zip?download
http://chitchat.at.infoseek.co.jp/vmware/vfd21-050404.zip
http://www.dehning.com/download/utilities/bootdisks/boot98.exe or http://www.msu-hb.de/download/boot98se.exe

Step 2: Extract and install the necessary utilities/files

Extract the makebootfat-1.4-windows-pentium.zip file somewhere ( say c:\utility\makebootfat\ )
Extract the vfd21-050404.zip somewhere ( say c:\utility\VFD\ )
Extract the boot98.exe file using a WinRar or maybe another zip utility. This archive will give you an error when extracted with winrar, but the image file inside (winb98.ima) will extract. If extracting this fails, use the boot98sc.zip file (It's not a standard win98se boot disk image). Either way, put the resulting winb98.ima or win98se.img file somewhere ( say c:\utility\MakeBootFat\ )

Step 3: Prepare and Format the USB-MD.

Insert the USB Memory Device into a USB socket (if not already installed), do not use a HUB.

Run the VFD Control Panel (c:\utility\VFD\vfdwin.exe)

The VFD Control Panel will start on the device driver tab, press the [install] and [start] buttons. Switch to the drive 0 tab, and press the [drive letter] button, and select something other then A or B as a mount point. On my system, drive K is the next available drive :) (Neither Drive A nor B works with the HP Utility on my system).

Now, you will press the [open] button, and point the VFD Control Panel to either the WINB98.IMA or the WIN98SEC.IMG image file and click the new [open] button.

You now the MSDOS boot/system files available on a new drive.

Now that the prep-work is done, you can actually do something to your USB Memory Device.

Open a Command Line Interface (CLI) Window (cmd.exe for NT based machines, or command.com for Win9x/ME)

Change directory to the place where makebootfat is located (cd \utility\makebootfat)
Execute the following command makebootfat.exe -v -o usb -m mbrfat.bin -b winb98.ima k:\ where win98.ima contains the full path to the DOS image file, and K:\ is the location where the DOS Image file is mounted.

After entering the command line and pressing Enter you will get either the help message (which means that makebootfat has updated it's command line switches, or you typed something wrong), or you will get a format completed or format failed message. If the format fails, your USB Memory Device may not be bootable.

Close the CLI Window (type exit)

Go to the VFD Control Panel and on the drive 0 tab, press the [close] button, next go the the driver tab and press the [stop] and [uninstall] button, and exit the VFD Control Panel.

You are done partitioning and formatting your USB Memory Device. Transfer what ever additional data you need to the device (Award Flash and a BIOS Image for example), edit the config.sys and autoexec.bat if necessary and reboot your machine.

You computer SHOULD boot from the USB Memory device, if it boots as a C:, you may want to try the -Z (make bootfat is case sensitive) switch, this will write a ZIP style partition table to the device, but when this is done, some machines will not boot from the stick any longer.


I hope this helps someone

Paul Driver
Jetway 939GT5-SLI / EVGA 123-K8-NF47 - A64 Venice 3000+ - 2x512K PC 3700
HTT clock @ 289MHz - CPU @ 2.6Ghz - RAM @ 472MHz (2.5-4-4-8 2T)
CPU Core @ 1.525v, Ram @ 3.1v
6 HDs and One DVD Burner.
User avatar
PaulDriver
nForce Aware
nForce Aware
 
Posts: 387
Joined: Fri Apr 25, 2003 1:20 am
Location: Someplace Dry(not the bars), Dusty, and full of Sin.

Postby Seawolf » Wed Mar 01, 2006 6:11 pm

Rock on. I never could get mine readied with LGs tools...will have to try these methods :)
Boom
User avatar
Seawolf
Ultra nForced
Ultra nForced
 
Posts: 22600
Joined: Sun Jun 23, 2002 2:55 pm
Location: Crawling through the ant tunnels.

Postby Unbreakable » Sun Mar 26, 2006 1:50 pm

Awesome guide! :sweet:
Unfortunately, not every USB stick is bootable... :(
User avatar
Unbreakable
The nForced One
The nForced One
 
Posts: 3449
Joined: Wed Dec 29, 2004 1:18 pm

Postby PaulDriver » Sun May 28, 2006 9:06 pm

Made a small modification, that points out that using a DOS Image file is optional with the HP utility, if you have access to the DOS system files (COMMAND.COM IO.SYS, (MS)DOS.SYS) as well a updated some of the links to current locations and added a source for the HP Utility with DOS system files.

Seawolf, did you manage to make your USB stick work?

p.d.
Jetway 939GT5-SLI / EVGA 123-K8-NF47 - A64 Venice 3000+ - 2x512K PC 3700
HTT clock @ 289MHz - CPU @ 2.6Ghz - RAM @ 472MHz (2.5-4-4-8 2T)
CPU Core @ 1.525v, Ram @ 3.1v
6 HDs and One DVD Burner.
User avatar
PaulDriver
nForce Aware
nForce Aware
 
Posts: 387
Joined: Fri Apr 25, 2003 1:20 am
Location: Someplace Dry(not the bars), Dusty, and full of Sin.

Postby PaulDriver » Wed Oct 04, 2006 3:50 pm

checked and updated download locations.
Jetway 939GT5-SLI / EVGA 123-K8-NF47 - A64 Venice 3000+ - 2x512K PC 3700
HTT clock @ 289MHz - CPU @ 2.6Ghz - RAM @ 472MHz (2.5-4-4-8 2T)
CPU Core @ 1.525v, Ram @ 3.1v
6 HDs and One DVD Burner.
User avatar
PaulDriver
nForce Aware
nForce Aware
 
Posts: 387
Joined: Fri Apr 25, 2003 1:20 am
Location: Someplace Dry(not the bars), Dusty, and full of Sin.

Postby powerarmour » Wed Oct 04, 2006 5:45 pm

Unbreakable wrote:Awesome guide! :sweet:
Unfortunately, not every USB stick is bootable... :(


Sometimes the motherboard bios won't allow it either, even when there is a USB boot option. I think mine uses USB-ZIP instead of USB-HDD and it won't boot any of my USB Linux sticks (which work on many other PC's).
Intel Core i7-2600K | Nvidia GTX 760 2GB | 16GB Corsair Vengeance DDR3-1866 | Asus P8Z77-M | Silverstone FT03
Crucial M4 256GB | Intel 320 120GB | SteamOS 1.0 Alchemist | Ubuntu 14.04 x64 | Windows 8.1 x64 | Antec TP NM 650W
User avatar
powerarmour
Mod Squad
Mod Squad
 
Posts: 19746
Joined: Sun Oct 13, 2002 3:10 am
Location: UK

Postby PaulDriver » Wed Oct 04, 2006 9:15 pm

Try Method 2, MakeBootFat can create a USB ZIP boot sector (add the -z command)
Jetway 939GT5-SLI / EVGA 123-K8-NF47 - A64 Venice 3000+ - 2x512K PC 3700
HTT clock @ 289MHz - CPU @ 2.6Ghz - RAM @ 472MHz (2.5-4-4-8 2T)
CPU Core @ 1.525v, Ram @ 3.1v
6 HDs and One DVD Burner.
User avatar
PaulDriver
nForce Aware
nForce Aware
 
Posts: 387
Joined: Fri Apr 25, 2003 1:20 am
Location: Someplace Dry(not the bars), Dusty, and full of Sin.

Postby bardu » Thu Oct 05, 2006 8:25 am

..i've been using hp usb format utility to make mine bootable..., works like a charm!
What i need to know is howto make two partitions on the usb stick......
Specs
425W|P5B|C2D@3Ghz|2GB
36GB|200GB|200GB
1608P3s@DVR 111L|DVD-E616A
GV-NX86T256H silent pipe II :)
Leadtek dv2000|CT4780&KX-ed :mrgreen:
Display: HP P1230
User avatar
bardu
nForced
nForced
 
Posts: 1330
Joined: Wed Dec 07, 2005 9:55 am
Location: ROMANIA

Postby garikfox » Sat Oct 07, 2006 5:14 am

Just make the USB device <e:\> etc .... then it has too see it at startup as a USB harddrive etc.....
-----------------------------------
Human's aren't the only species on Earth, We just act like it...
garikfox
BANNED
 
Posts: 8539
Joined: Wed Dec 11, 2002 4:18 am
Location: Arizona

Postby mila » Tue Dec 05, 2006 4:52 pm

Hi and thaks for this info.

I want to make my usb boot as A:\ (or anything other then C: for that matter).
The HP Utility as you say does not work for this.

I followed your makebootfat instructions but after I run the command I do not get any message (neither completed nor failed) and it returns to the prompt. I'm assuming it was successful. Yet I cannot boot the USB I make with it.

I suppose it could be that my usb drives just aren't boot-friendly in this instance (although they are bootable when made with the hp-utility).

Any other suggestions on how I can make a bootble usb that gets assigned a drive letter other then C? (I tried these usb keys: PNY, lexar jumpdrive sport, and sandisk cruzer. All worked fine using the hp method).

Thanks
mila
Just got here...
 
Posts: 2
Joined: Tue Dec 05, 2006 4:40 pm

Next

Return to Software



Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 0 guests

cron