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Complete newb's guide to build a Live Windows XP CD/USB boot disk


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#1 Yorn

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Posted 07 February 2007 - 10:02 PM

Here are the steps I took to getting my first Windows XP-based build working for both a Live CD and a Live USB build. Do not even attempt to build and test this if you have less than 512 meg of RAM. I would highly suggest having at least a gig of RAM, but you might be able to pull this off with less.

What you need:
Windows XP SP2 CD
USB Fixed Disk (Hard drive) or USB Removable Disk (Flash drive)
Windows computer with 512 meg RAM for testing/building

The system that you run the end product (Live CD or Live USB) on can have as little as 256 or maybe even 128 meg of RAM, but I wouldn't suggest it.

How to build a Live Windows XP CD/USB boot disk:
1. Download 7zip and install:
http://www.7-zip.org/download.html (4.42 .exe or .msi is fine)

2. Download Thuun's stable debugged build kit of LiveXP and unpack:
http://www.boot-land...gged-t1012.html
(Original thread)
http://thuun.boot-la...3b9b-livexp.zip
(Direct link - Note, this might not be the latest version so try the link above first, but if that doesn't work, you can try this one.)
http://thuun.boot-land.net/

Please use the version of WinBuilder included in the kit (else it may malfunction).

3. Download PEtoUSB (PE2USB is a different executable) and extract to a safe location:
http://gocoding.com/....php?al=petousb
(Get the English version, not the German)

4. Download virtual PC 2004 and install to DEFAULT LOCATIONS:
http://www.microsoft...;DisplayLang=en
(Click Download button)

5. Mount Windows XP SP2 ISO with MagicDisc/DaemonTools or insert your XP CD into your CD/DVD drive. In my case, I mounted it as drive E:. Ignore any windows that pop up and don't run anything from the CD/DVD, it isn't necessary. Just note which drive your XP cd is located in. If you have used BartPE before, you know you can sometimes point to your C:\Windows directory or other locations. With WinBuilder you MUST point to the root of your Windows XP Install/Build CD.

6. Extract and then run Thuun's stable Winbuilder compilation if you haven't already. If you know how to use Winbuilder, you'll be fine. If you're new to Winbuilder or Windows PE-type builds as a whole, then click the "Paths" tab and set the target directory to E: or where ever your XP CD is located.

7. Click "Scripts" tab. Scroll down to the bottom of the list and expand the last "Build" folder. Look for "Run on VPC 2004" and be sure to change the amount of "RAM for loaded VPC" to 384 meg or higher if you have 768 meg RAM or more. I would highly suggest not changing anything else in this area as of yet. You just want to run a default setup and then after confirming it works in Virtual PC 2004, you can look into tweaking the options. Note that it does take a long time for the build to complete.

8. After you're happy with what you ended up with (I CANNOT STRESS ENOUGH THAT IF YOU ARE NEW TO WINBUILDER THAT YOU DO NOT CHANGE MANY IF ANY OF THE OPTIONS), navigate to the directory where thuun's build kit is installed and look for the ISO folder. Determine if you want to burn the Standard_RAM or want it on a thumb drive or USB hard drive.

IF YOU WANT THIS ON A LIVE CD, BURN IT FROM THE ISO DIRECTLY, IF NOT...

9. Right-click on Standard_RAM.ISO and using 7zip, select the 'Extract to "Standard_RAM\"' option. This may take a while.

10. Open the new "Standard_RAM" folder, open the "I386" folder, right-click and create a new folder naming it "system32" without the quotes. We are creating this empty folder to trick PEtoUSB, whose author didn't account for users maybe wanting to try booting from RAM.

11. Find where you downloaded PEtoUSB and run it. Since it never hurts to assume that something *might* go wrong, you can save your current MBR using "Tools->Backup MBR..." it should be very small in size. I would highly suggest saving your MBR if you've been running syslinux boot configurations off the drive currently and believe you might want to go back to doing that.

This is a great tool but can get confusing with the multiple options. The big choices we are concerned with here are the USB Removable or USB Fixed (Thumbdrive/Flashdrive or USB 2.5"/3.5" hard drive). Select the right one and then find your drive.

This paragraph is separate as a complete warning:
IT IS BEST TO DO THIS WITH A FORMATTED DRIVE. Backup any files you have on your USB stick or USB hard drive and then create your partitions as you need to in Disk Manager. The information on how to do this is available elsewhere on the web and is beyond the scope of these instructions. Suffice to say, HP has a utility to do this that might help, otherwise if you right-click on "My Computer" and go to "Manage" and then click on "Disk Management" there's some partition setup that you can do with this tool. Again, IT IS BEST TO DO THIS WITH A FORMATTED DRIVE. Also, ASSUME YOU WILL LOSE ANYTHING OF IMPORTANCE ON YOUR USB DEVICE, regardless of whether or not it is a USB Removable or USB Fixed drive and whether or not you think you know what you are doing. I cannot stress enough that the likelihood of destroying files on other partitions on a USB drive is very high when you're fiddling around with getting a USB drive to boot.

12. For "Source Path to Built BartPE/WinPE Files:" click on the "..." button and navigate to and select the ISO folder from #8 and #9 above. Select it and then click "Ok". The button would have remained greyed out till we put the "system32" folder in the "i386" folder.

13. A few certainties are in order before moving on:
BE ABSOLUTELY CERTAIN THAT "Quick Format" IS ***NOT*** CHECKED.
BE ABSOLUTELY CERTAIN THAT "Don't rewrite MBR code" IS ***NOT*** CHECKED.
BE ABSOLUTELY CERTAIN THAT "Enable Disk Format" ***IS*** CHECKED.

The rest of the options I left at default, but you might know what they mean/do. I leave "Enable File Copy" checked and do "Overwrite Always". I don't claim to be an expert on this, but when doing things with the above options not set correctly, I ran into a lot of problems. If jaclaz comments here, he'll probably have the most accurate info on what is ok to check or not check.

14. Click "Start". Do not unplug your USB drive. The part that will take the longest is the "Copying...RAMBOOT.ISO" stage. When it is done, you should have a LIVE XP USB Boot Disk that boots from RAM!

If you run into problems, post them here and I'm sure someone can help. There's a lot of bright individuals on the Bootland forums. Also, the nice thing about Winbuilder is that if you mess a built up by changing too many options, you can always delete the whole WinBuilder folder and re-extract it and start fresh, it shouldn't be saving anything to the registry.

#2 chuckr

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Posted 09 February 2007 - 08:05 AM

3. Download Pe2Usb and extract to a safe location: :P

http://gocoding.com/....php?al=petousb

----------------
Not to be "pickey", but your step 3 should read: "Download PeTOusb...", :P
so as not to confuse newbies (like me).
(-Pe2Usb- is Bart's PEBuilder version.)

Oh, also, I would recommend that step 11 says "...where you downloaded PEtoUSB and run it."
Then insert something like:
"Since it never hurts to assume that something -might- go wrong, you may wish to save
the current MBR (if one exists). If so, click "Tools" at top-left, then click "Backup MBR...", and
save the USB's current MBR as Filename.Bin or Temp.mbr or whatever. It's only 512 bytes big.
Note that PeToUsb can restore the saved MBR if necessary."

Also, having run PEBuilder, XPE, etc. you should clearly state in step 5, that Winbuilder -MUST-
be run with the XP CD as Source, and not point to the "C:\Windows" directory as with BartPE, etc.
(At least that's what I experienced with both WinBuilder 052 and 067:
Error msges if using C:\Win, :P
but AOK when using my "Home-made" XP Install DVD, :P
made from Gateway's "Recovery" DVD...).

Oh well, you did say 'send suggestions'.....
chuckr (New Athlon x2 computer's MBR ruined by Vista RC-1)

#3 Yorn

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Posted 09 February 2007 - 04:09 PM

I added your suggestions and made a few other edits of my own. And yes, I did want opinions and suggestions, I don't mind changing this to make it a pretty good step-by-step guide.

#4 thunn

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Posted 11 February 2007 - 06:45 PM

So happy you've found my work worthy of your fine tutorial. :P

I'd very much like to point users to some newer scripts here.

-t

#5 Yorn

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Posted 12 February 2007 - 08:33 PM

Nuno, I apologize in advance for posting this:
http://digg.com/soft...D_USB_boot_disk

It's on digg, we'll see if people find this tutorial helpful. If someone wanted to setup a torrent for some of the downloads I'd be willing to help seed it. I know that if this hits the front page of digg we'll get an influx of new users that might not understand that Winbuilder is an international community, but I think things will work out for the best with more interest.

Hopefully bandwidth won't cost too much.

#6 by_rom

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Posted 13 May 2007 - 11:41 AM

Hello.
I want to know how can I add separately downloaded script swiss knife (for partition resize) to my
livexp project, finally I want this apps - swiss knife on my livexp bootcd.
I have readed all guides/tutorials, but still don't know if it possible and how ?
Thanks.
Also I can't found my country in registration ( Israel) and has chosen closest -Jordan -))

#7 Nuno Brito

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Posted 13 May 2007 - 11:52 AM

Hi..

Please wait a day or two and I will update this script into liveXP - probably the script you have was created for an older project and it wouldn't work very well under the new projects.

If you still want to do it yourself then it isn't so difficult either - just place it inside Projects\LiveXP\Apps then you should read the other scripts in there to understand what needs to be changed.

You will need to adjust the value of "Level" inside the [Main] section, check where to extract all files inside the script to the correct paths and add the new lines to create shortcuts.

No tutorial for this part is still available, but using other scripts in the apps folder as reference should help you understand well enough how to do it.

Wb has an internal editor that let's you do all these changes, just press the logo image on the script or the edit button.

I will try to find the Israel flag - thanks for mentioning it.. :confused1:

#8 Nuno Brito

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Posted 13 May 2007 - 12:06 PM

edit: Added the missing flag.. :confused1:

#9 by_rom

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Posted 13 May 2007 - 12:23 PM

2Nuno Brito.

Thank you very much!
I was strongly impressed by your great project.
With totally stripped BartPe I got 120mb ISO and with you tool I got 38mb ISO.
DriveimageXML + Swissknife will be very useful for restore/backup system.
I'll try to work with Swissknife script though I don't have absolutely any experience.

#10 Squid

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Posted 07 June 2007 - 02:25 AM

Ooooops!

7zip doesn't handle .iso files :1st:

IZArc (http://www.izarc.org) does, however; and gets 6/6 @ NoNags as well :thumbup:

Banged my head :thumbup: against step 9 for quite a while on my end thinking that there must've been something wrong with my old install of 7z (v.4.42), or something else on my system. A fresh download yielded similar results: It just doesn't handle this type of file.

Step 9 works pretty much verbatim when one uses IZArc, however...

One other thing: If you don't have piles o'ram at your disposal, you can completely skip the whole affair with Virtual PC 2004; and pull off a complete build nicely with much less. Simply uncheck the box which you'll find in the last "Build" folder (step 7) which invokes this outside process after the build is complete. Done this way, I was able to sucessfully build on my very first attempt using 256mb without the pagefile :thumbup:

In the end, it all came quickly and seamlessly together for me and my CLEANED 2gig Cruzer stick (someone needs to tell Mr. Bart and the boys about this :thumbup:).

I'm sure that I'll have a million questions soon, but for now . . .

Thanks!

#11 ingnoli

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Posted 19 June 2007 - 03:10 PM

I've mounted on the usb key with PeToUSB_3.0.0.7, but when i restart my pc there is an error:

file NTDLR mancante( not found)

However
1) no i've problem on the bios (another program bartpe ram iso start!)
2) the step are execute very well

#12 was_jaclaz

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Posted 19 June 2007 - 05:53 PM

ingnoli, first thing welcome.

If you don't feel confident with English, please do post your request in Italian here:
http://www.boot-land...talian-f46.html

Unfortunately, as is, your post is incomprehensible.

Please also do read Board Rules and "common sense" advice given in them:
http://www.boot-land...?act=boardrules

Without some details, it would pratically impossible (and VERY tiresome) to try and help you.

[BEGIN ITALIAN]
ingnoli, ciao, benvenuto.

Se non mastichi troppo l'inglese, prova a chiedere aiuto qui:
http://www.boot-land...talian-f46.html

Purtroppo, così com'è, la tua richiesta è incomprensibile.

Per favore leggi le regole e i consigli di "buon senso":
http://www.boot-land...?act=boardrules

Se non fornisci dei dettagli sul tuo problema, è praticamente impossibile (e MOLTO faticoso) provare ad aiutarti.
[END ITALIAN]

jaclaz

#13 ReD

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Posted 29 June 2007 - 02:33 PM

Ooooops!

7zip doesn't handle .iso files :1st:


7zip perfectly handle .iso files. (i'm using 4.45 beta)

#14 Ohmare_Q

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Posted 01 July 2007 - 04:47 AM

7zip perfectly handle .iso files. (i'm using 4.45 beta)

Hi. I've done everything according to the guide, i've installed it on a USB key, and on a CD, but when my computer gets to the point of starting up windows, it just restarts. This happens when I use the USB key, and the CD. Any thoughts?

I also should add that I'm trying this on a Dell Latitude D600 Laptop. Thanks

#15 Nuno Brito

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Posted 01 July 2007 - 08:19 AM

Hi Ohmare_Q,

Please post your log.html file and use the support forum: http://www.boot-land...orting-f33.html

Also good to know which language is your source (English, French..), tell us if SP2 is included and mention if your CD is a retail version of XP or one that comes from Dell (OEM).

This way we can start a new discussion and see what is happening.

:1st:

#16 was_jaclaz

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Posted 01 July 2007 - 09:56 AM

@Ohmare_Q

In other words, do take your time reading the "common sense" advice given in Rules:
http://www.boot-land...?act=boardrules

The more info you give, the easier is for some member to help you. :1st:

jaclaz




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