Why can't I create a bootable USB stick?

Discussion in 'Operating Systems' started by imported_TopCat, Sep 3, 2007.

  1. imported_TopCat

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    All I wanted to make was my OCZ USB stick boot into DOS. Nothing more. I'll cut the rant and just say that I've tried just about everything over the past couple of days. I've got three PCs to try with; two have Phoenix BIOSes and the other has an AMI BIOS with USB emulation options (such as Floppy and HDD emulation for USB).

    First, I used a program that made a bootable USB (it created IO.sys, Autoexec.bat, COMMAND.COM, and MSDOS.SYS on the drive). It just hangs on all three machines during boot (booting as HDD) and returns an error on the AMI board when I boot with floppy emulation (Reboot and select proper boot device... blah blah).

    I've tried this HP Drive Key Utility. Wouldn't format my drive in Vista x64 or XP x86 so I didn't even make it far.

    I've tried this method by creating a virtual floppy and using the bootable files from XP MS-DOS boot disc to make the USB "bootable". Still fails when I try and boot it as a floppy, but as a HDD it throw up colored ASCII characters all over forever. Another failure.

    This would have been super convenient, but at this point I don't even want the functionality anymore. I just want to not lose to stupid silicon boxes. If anyone can throw any feedback at all, I'd really really appreciate it.
     
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  3. Nothinman

    Nothinman Elite Member

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    I added a boot sector to my USB key and it booted up in VMWare just fine, I wasn't going to reboot just to test it. Now I used syslinux to add the boot sector since I don't have any Winodws machines but the basic idea is still the same.
     
  4. corkyg

    corkyg Elite Member<br>Super Moderator <br>Peripherals
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    You can only create a bootable USB flash media device if it is formatted to FAT or FAT 16. Anything else will be prepared, but never boot.

    USB
     
  5. Nothinman

    Nothinman Elite Member

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    That's gotta be crap, if your BIOS supports booting from USB it should load a generic MBR from it just like any other disk.
     
  6. corkyg

    corkyg Elite Member<br>Super Moderator <br>Peripherals
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    It's not crap - it's real. Try it and see. I did.
     
  7. Nothinman

    Nothinman Elite Member

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    I just did a quick Linux install onto a USB stick here and it booted just fine to an ext3 filesystem with root on LVM on the same USB stick.
     
  8. VirtualLarry

    VirtualLarry Lifer

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    Some USB keys show up as bootable HDs, and some show up as removable drives. That may make a difference.
     
  9. imported_TopCat

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    Each time I formatted it was to FAT. In the two Phoenix BIOSes the drive shows up as a USB HDD, so I came to the conclusion it would only boot on those if I partitioned it as a HDD and made a bootable sector somewhere. But the AMI BIOS board can boot it as HDD or Floppy, and floppy never works and HDD hangs or displays weird characters or fails. I'm at a loss and I really don't think it can be done. Might just be my stick can't be booted from, though that makes little sense to me.
     
  10. Nothinman

    Nothinman Elite Member

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    If you're trying to boot it as a hard disk then you probably have to partition it, formatting the whole device will render any hard disk unbootable.
     
  11. BehindEnemyLines

    BehindEnemyLines Senior member

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    I have the old OCZ Rally 1GB flash drive made bootable to MSDOS. I used the HP utility you mentioned, except the boot files are taken from an old Windows Me start-up disk. You should be able to make a DOS boot-up disk by using Windows XP. Then use it to create the boot flash drive with the HP utility.

    It's formatted with FAT32. I now use it for my Acronis True Image 9.1 Workstation boot files. I think it's some sort of Linux (this works fine too), although this erased my DOS boot-up.
     
  12. DrGreen2007

    DrGreen2007 Senior member

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    I made several USB thumbdrives bootable so we could use them with Ghost following these steps...(look under prewriteen guides)
    http://netbootdisk.com/usb_boot.htm

    I now use BartPE bootable drives rather than the DOS bootable drives though.
     
  13. WobbleWobble

    WobbleWobble Diamond Member

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  14. imported_TopCat

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    Thanks for all of the replies! I'll give these suggestions a shot today. Very much appreciated.