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Help booting windows xp from 4gig flash drive.

  • Flash Drive
  • Windows XP
Last response: in Windows XP
January 9, 2007 2:15:01 AM

Is there any other way to boot windows from a flash than bartPE? My drive is 4gigs, so all options are open from a space perspective. (according to some of the articles ive read, i cant format a 4gig drive correctly either.) It seems like given a 4g drive, there would be a simple format and copy solution....

If unable to solve, are there any free forums that might be able to?

More about : booting windows 4gig flash drive

January 10, 2007 12:35:32 AM

I know of no other way. Windows, after all, was engineered so it is tied to one computer and so it was engineered to make it nearly impossible to run from a removable device. BartPE is a pre-boot loader so that is the only solution I know of that will help.
January 12, 2007 5:45:16 PM

never heard of anyone running windows on a flash drive hehe nice idea but i dont think that is going to work well until they bring out some new technology. someone tell me if i am wrong though please.
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January 12, 2007 6:57:41 PM

I have a one gig flash drive formatted using Windows Disk Management as an NTFS volume. The BIOS and Windows recognize it as a removable disk. This is the issue why Windows won't install on it, because the setup program will not allow it to be installed on a removable drive. You would have to trick the bios into thinking it is a fixed drive, but I have no idea how that can be done. As far as I understand there is an identifying group of bits that are burned on the flash drive that can't be erased. This is how the BIOS knows it's a flash drive. I would think there would have to be a utility that would re-burn the flash to tell the BIOS it is a hard disk.
January 12, 2007 7:10:00 PM

Why would you want to do this?

Each XP install is intimately "married" to specific hardware. It's not going to boot up (IF you got it working) other than the original install machine.
January 13, 2007 1:48:58 AM

This is 100% doable. It is possible to install windows xp to a flash(fast death) drive/ external hard drive. Ever hear of the hp flash drive format tool? might wanna check it out to enable booting. :) 

good luck!
January 13, 2007 3:02:38 AM

Yeah; but I get the feeling he wants to walk around with this thing.

It'll only boot up the original install machine. Even an exact replica unit, sitting in another building, has different serial #s on the cpu & controller, and a different mac address for the nic. Way different enough to put a balk on a bootup. All it takes is four different votes from the hardware hash to make the boot problematic. The nic gets 3 alone.
January 13, 2007 3:40:54 AM

pscowboy, what happens when the hash's fail... does the boot fail with the "ntldr missing" error?
Edit: boot.ini error most likely
January 13, 2007 3:59:03 AM

Rather than ask a bunch of questions if, let us all try it and say what actually happens. I think I'll log off and actually try it on my 1 gig stick. Oh..better idea, I do have Dos 6.2 and that will certainly install..oh.. but I'd have to wipe my disk and change it to FAT. I have it formatted as NTSF. I could partition, it though...but I'd have to set it up to dual boot since it has an NTSF boot sector.
January 13, 2007 4:10:33 AM

Edit#5,000,000: after research, I have noticed that pscowboy is right. if it does boot( and doesnt have the ntldr error on most hard disk "swaps"), it will require re registration due to the product activation system. However, this is not a problem if you are a MS licensed VLK user.
January 13, 2007 5:31:50 AM

"NTLDR missing" is usually caused by corruption of that file by a virus/worm, or someone unknowingly deleting it to clean out the "C" root, thinking it's not important. Can happen too, when that same type of "unknowing" person edits the boot.ini file & corrupts its' accuracy.

Other Boot.ini problems usually just hang the boot with no message.

As to the vlk user. What systems technician, in an Enterprise scenario, taking care of maybe 300-400 units, is going to be walking around with a boot stick? With which he's going to have to re-activate (not reregister) no less.
Edit: That last sentence is completely wrong in fact! As pointed out to me by Truth. I do know better.

He doesn't have time for this. They do very quick replacements to get the worker back up at his (her) own station. The boss is expecting a 10-15 minute turn-around. Technicians learn real fast to change hd's, monitors, nics, power supplies, cpu's, and entire comps in under 15 minutes. Or, he's out of a job. He is definitely not going to be playing around with a boot stick.

When the hash fails, the boot just hangs. Have to do a repair install, which will work most of the time, if it's not a completely new rig.
Edit: This also has to be qualified. In a Corporate Pro situation, there is no hash to become problematic. But very true in small to medium sized businesses.
January 13, 2007 5:58:21 AM

"ntldr missing" in the instance i'm referring to, is not from a worm or c: being damaged, but, for simplicity sake boot.ini being messed up.
yes, i have answered my own question in research.

I did not say practical pscowboy, i was merely stating a fact. However, there are times that more than 10-15 minutes are required to be spent on a computer.(example, recovery/repair, of VITAL software or information). And as for activation/registration of VLK editions, neither is true. And if it is, I would appreciate it if you would elaborate.

btw, I am building this as we speak to test in the next few days.

When the hash fails, the boot just hangs. Have to do a repair install, which will work most of the time, if it's not a completely new rig.

after reading microsoft's articles, all of the activation and hashing... they are only inside pro/home, and not a VLK version. And it should still boot if it is pending activation. microsoft allows 3 days for reactivation of windows before it starts pitching fits. from what i understand the problem actually arises from a corruption in one of the boot files because of the virtual conversion of a hard drive to cylinders sectors blah blah blah, instead of LBA being strictly used. It seems to be this error that causes a corruption either in the MBR, or in one of the files itself.
Edit: i assume in ntldr, hince the ntldr error.
January 13, 2007 6:30:31 AM

Not nudging you Truth. I'm really sorry you took me wrong.

I'm just positing on my own emperical life as a techie.

The ntldr thing I laid down was often true with my people. The boot.ini was okay.

My Enterprise experience was all server-based - nine hard drive redundant. No loss of vital stuff. Workstation problems had to be fixed in 15 minutes. Great training to get good real fast.

My serious mistake on the vlk activation. Never need to! I totally apologize for that. I'm still thinking regular masses these days. I try very hard to keep the mistakes down. Didn't have enough coffee. I will notate that error.

I'd be very interested on your follow up testing on a boot stick - and its' possible real world application. I never want to stop learning things.
January 14, 2007 1:56:16 AM

:)  no worries, no harm done.

know exactly what you mean.

as for the ntldr error, i had it in the past, but was not sure how to fix it until i had researched it (last night).

understandable, 99% of my work has been on desktops and laptops, hardware and software, not once have i dealt with a redundant array.

no need to appologize, not that big of a mistake. vlk is very nice in that aspect. that is the one thing that should not be in windows xp, is re registration. once is bad enough! (none is best :)  )

I hope to have one running within the next few days ( doing home remodel this weekend). the difference, is it will be an external hard drive, because i do not have a flash drive(of proper size) i would like to murder for the task. :D