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Fool the BIOS booting any USB stick as a Hard Disk


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#51 wimb

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Posted 28 April 2009 - 09:51 AM

=
PROGRAM UPDATE - U_XP_SET Package - Install XP from USB


Make_USB.exe and Make_USB_2.exe were updated.
The procedure of Format Stick Button will now make Bootable FAT and FAT32 USB-sticks.
For NTFS Format the procedure was already OK, but FAT32 and FAT sticks were NOT bootable.

After many experiments, I hope to have realized now a reliable procedure for all cases to make really bootable USB-sticks.
The procedure for FAT32 and FAT includes an essential Disconnect pop-up.

Please try and report about the new procedure.

#52 was_jaclaz

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Posted 28 April 2009 - 11:18 AM

Attached requested first 16 sectors. Just to clarify the steps and where I think it may be confusing. I numbered the steps to correspond with the files and tried to say exactly what I've done. Also included two tinyhexer comparisons of mbr which show the differences between:

xp disk mgmt vs make_usb_2 format and grub4dos install, and,
hp util vs make_usb_2 format and grub4dos install.

1. Using hp format util, format fat (or ntfs) not bootable.
2. Install grub4dos mbr and backup mbr using hdhacker - save this.
Call this mbr1 - this is a grub4dos mbr written on an hp format .

3. Use make_usb_2.exe to format the usb ntfs, apply both patches.
4. Install grub4dos files and mbr using grubinst_gui
Call this mbr2 - this is grub4dos mbr written on make_usb_2 format.

5. Use hdhacker to put back in place mbr1 (just first sector) from step 2.

(Note that the two mbr are different - they are the ones I zipped up several posts ago. I think the differences in just the mbr account for the working, esp since I replace just that when writing mbr1 over the second format of the disk.)

After testing on more machines today I concluded that this fix only really helps the ECS 915-m5. My other machines are either fine with the 'regular' format or in once instance booted but didn't have enough ram to load the sdi :)

What I find interesting here is that grubinst is creating the mbr different for different formats of the disk. Does this make sense that it should be doing this?


I REALLY don't get it. :)

As expected, comparing
2_installed_grub4dos_mbr.dat
against
5_hdhacker_write_step2_mbr_back.dat

evidences NO DIFFERENCES WHATSOEVER, exception made for the disk signature.

In other words doing steps 3 and 4 carry NO "permanent" consequence.

The difference in booting must come from "something else" that you did not document. :)

Please try doing EXACTLY the following on that stick:
1. Zero out the first, say, 100 sectors:
http://www.boot-land...?...=7739&st=59
http://www.boot-land...?...=4015&st=21
Disconnect and re-connnect stick
2. Use MBRfix to install a "normal" MBR on the stick (i.e. write 2K/XP/2003 MBR CODE):
http://www.sysint.no...ting/mbrfix.htm
MbrFix /drive <num> fixmbr {/vista} Update MBR code to W2K/XP/2003 or Vista
(without the /vista switch)
Optionally use my pseudo-GUI for it:
http://home.graffiti...z:graffiti.net/
make sure that you choose the RIGHT physicaldrive!
Disconnect and re-connnect stick
3. Use Beeblebrox:
http://students.cs.byu.edu/~codyb/
to write the MBR DATA:
Entry/Type/Boot/bCyl/bHead/bSect/eCyl/ eHead/eSect/Start Sector/Num Sectors
#1/0E/80/0/1/1/ 120/254/63/63/1.957.825 <- NOTE: the CHS and LBA are unbalanced

Disconnect and re-connnect stick
4. Format the partition with normal XP FORMAT

5. Run grubinst on the stick.

6. Copy the first 16 sectors with HDhacker to a file.

7. Add the grldr and whatever files you used before and try booting from the stick on the pesky machine

8. Post result of the experiment and the saved 16 sectors.

Then, open again the stick with beeblebrox and change the data as follows:
Entry/Type/Boot/bCyl/bHead/bSect/eCyl/ eHead/eSect/Start Sector/Num Sectors
#1/0E/80/0/1/1/ 120/254/63/63/1.943.802 <- NOTE: the CHS and LBA are now balanced
Disconnect and re-connnect stick

Repeat steps # 4. up to #8.

:)

jaclaz

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Posted 28 April 2009 - 04:46 PM

The procedure for FAT32 and FAT includes an essential Disconnect pop-up.

Running your latest "Make_USB_2.exe", for what I can see:

USB stick 1 GB FAT file-system without HP patch: it does boot;
USB stick 1 GB FAT file-system with HP patch: it does boot;
USB stick 8 GB FAT32 file-system without HP patch: it does boot;
USB stick 8 GB FAT32 file-system with HP patch: it does boot;

but

formatted with NTFS file-system (with or without HP patch) then it does not boot and the error message is "A disk read error occurred - Press Ctrl+Alt+Del to restart".

I've noticed that during NTFS formatting then it does not ask for disconnect/re-connect the drive (so maybe it could be the issue, because in my previous test with your previous release then it booted with NTFS only).

However, although for my personal deployments I prefer the manual way and really I do not know what you did in your latest "Make_USB_2", it seems to me that now it works.

So, thank you for your efforts... and carry on! :)


EDIT: if you format with your application a USB stick with FAT32 file-system then during the formatting it asks to disconnect/re-connect the USB stick (and then the USB stick does boot), but if you first start with FAT32 formatting and then re-format it with NTFS file-system then your application does not ask anymore for disconnect/re-connect the USB stick and then it (that's NTFS formatted) does not boot.
I can reproduce this behaviour, and I can confirm that it seems the reason for the not-booting with NTFS file-system in my previous test made with first FAT32 formatting and then with NTFS.
Instead, if you start directly with NTFS formatting then your application regularly asks to disconnect/re-connect the USB stick and then it does boot.

#54 wimb

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Posted 29 April 2009 - 04:53 AM

Thanks for trying Make_USB_2.exe
Good to hear that FAT and FAT32 formatted USB-sticks made with Format Stick procedure are bootable now for your case. :)
How about Make_USB.exe, is there any difference in USB-stick bootability for you with the version that creates the second partition ?

After FAT or FAT32 format I am patching two critical bytes which determine bootability of the USB-stick.
See here http://www.boot-land...?...5306&st=214

For NTFS there should Not be any difference, but I will check in detail if there is a reason for the change you observed.

EDIT: MBR and NTFS BootSector are equal for the present and the previous version. May be you can try NTFS again.

#55 harris

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Posted 29 April 2009 - 07:53 PM

Wimb,

i'am ussing your great tool Make_USB.exe,and for me it works
really good.It really load LiveXP with high speed.
So i tryed your Make_USB2.exe,wandering if it makes any
difference,so here my results:

Booting LiveXP:perfect and quick
Booting BootSDI.img: no problems.

Well this is my little contribution to this great forum!!

Greets Henk :D

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Posted 30 April 2009 - 06:49 AM

I've noticed that during NTFS formatting then it does not ask for disconnect/reconnect the drive

EDIT: MBR and NTFS BootSector are equal for the present and the previous version. May be you can try NTFS again.


@ wimb

I've re-tried the formatting starting directly from NTFS file-system and then it regularly ask to disconnect/reconnect the drive and then it does boot. ;)
I've noticed that if you start formatting the drive first with the FAT or FAT32 file-system and then you format it with NTFS then your program does not ask for disconnect/reconnect the drive (please try to verify this behaviour) and then it does not boot.

So, the first results with NTFS can be confirmed and then it works also with NTFS formatting. :D

I have not the time to try also "Make_USB.exe" however for what I can see I think that it should work from all the machines where the 2nd partition should not make any difference.
However, since the 2nd small partition cannot make any harm on any system and it can increase the bootability on other ones then it could be used without issues on any system (unless the USB stick is already "dual or multi-partitioned" for other needs)... :D

__________________________________________________________________


I've noticed that with "Make_USB_2.exe" the FAT32 file-system is recognized from Partition Table Editor just as the FAT32X file-system (and the 2nd small partition appears as FAT32X too).

Instead, performing my tutorial and then formatting the USB stick in FAT32 file-system with XP's Disk Management and a filter driver installed I've noticed that then running Partition Table Editor the partition formatted in FAT32 file-system appears as a FAT16B file-system (BIGDOS > 32MB) partition: does someone know the why of this behaviour?

Posted Image

Posted Image

Could this behaviour interfere in some way with the (good) results, or is it irrelevant?
Also Symantec Ghost (under WIN and under DOS) recognizes a FAT32 partition created on a USB stick with Disk Management as a FAT partition.
Running Symantec Partition Table Editor a partition formatted in NTFS with Disk Management appears just as a NTFS partition.

#57 was_jaclaz

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Posted 30 April 2009 - 07:18 AM

The windows FORMAT command is "smart" or at least it thinks it is "smart". :D

If you ask it to format a smallish partition as FAT32 it will say "OK" and then format it as FAT16. ;)

I seem to remember that the threshold is 512 Mb :D

I also seem to remember that the same can happen the other way round, i.e. asking to format as FAT16 a biggish partition may result in a FAT32 one.

Same can happen with partition type (i.e. 06 vs. 0E or 0B vs. 0C).

Basically it says: "heck the user asked me to format as FATxx, but if I do what he asks, he will get an inefficient formatting, as clusters will be too big (or address table will be too big), so I will format it as FATyy which is much better..."

jaclaz

#58 wimb

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Posted 30 April 2009 - 07:40 AM

So, the first results with NTFS can be confirmed and then it works also with NTFS formatting. :D

Good that NTFS is bootable now also for you,
allthough it needs more testing to know what is causing the difference in the procedures that you followed.

I've noticed that with "Make_USB_2.exe" the FAT32 file-system is recognized from Partition Table Editor just as the FAT32X file-system (and the 2nd small partition appears as FAT32X too).

That is correct, my program produces OC (=FAT32X) as FileSystem byte, which I found out to be better for bootability.
After format Windows OS changes it quickly in 0B (=FAT32) in MBR at offset 0x1C2. But then I patch it again as 0C (=FAT32X).

Also Symantec Ghost (under WIN and under DOS) recognizes a FAT32 partition created on a USB stick with Disk Management as a FAT partition.

This is very strange, 7GB FAT32 visible in Symantec PTEDIT as Type 06
Please check After reboot if there is still the same difference, it might be that the displayed values were based on memory instead of reality.
And also use TinyHexer to find out what is really written in the MBR at Offset 0x1C2

#59 vmbray

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Posted 30 April 2009 - 11:55 AM

I'm back after two crazy work days/nights. Spring can get very busy for us, actually gives a bit of hope for things, all over they're busier.

I tried to follow exactly and had a couple of points where not 100% sure... but it WORKED.

I did this:

1. Zero out the first, say, 100 sectors:
http://www.boot-land...?...=7739&st=59
http://www.boot-land...?...=4015&st=21
Disconnect and re-connnect stick


No problem.

2. Use MBRfix to install a "normal" MBR on the stick (i.e. write 2K/XP/2003 MBR CODE):
http://www.sysint.no...ting/mbrfix.htm
MbrFix /drive <num> fixmbr {/vista} Update MBR code to W2K/XP/2003 or Vista
(without the /vista switch)
Optionally use my pseudo-GUI for it:
http://home.graffiti...z:graffiti.net/
make sure that you choose the RIGHT physicaldrive!
Disconnect and re-connnect stick


Still good.

3. Use Beeblebrox:
http://students.cs.byu.edu/~codyb/
to write the MBR DATA:
Entry/Type/Boot/bCyl/bHead/bSect/eCyl/ eHead/eSect/Start Sector/Num Sectors
#1/0E/80/0/1/1/ 120/254/63/63/1.957.825 <- NOTE: the CHS and LBA are unbalanced

Disconnect and re-connnect stick


Here I'm a little confused, first time w/beeblebrox. You say entry #1 so I tried on the first and second line before settling on the second line, now I think it should be the first. After saving, my type goes back to 00. At this point it doesn't seem to be doing the right thing.

4. Format the partition with normal XP FORMAT


I had to also create the partition, should it have shown up partitioned but not formatted?

5. Run grubinst on the stick.


yup.

6. Copy the first 16 sectors with HDhacker to a file.

7. Add the grldr and whatever files you used before and try booting from the stick on the pesky machine


So I can only follow instructions without some error for so long, I copied the grub files before backing up the sectors. I know, I know. I have to live with it though so be gentle. :D

And it works, boots grub4dos on both machines. Thanks again for your help, can't wait to hear what you think of the experiment. Oh, almost forgot, I didn't have to change the sector count to balance it, it was balanced when I ran beeblebrox the second time. Gotta run but here's some files and pictures....

Attached Thumbnails

  • SP32_20090430_000523.jpg
  • SP32_20090430_001515.jpg

Attached Files

  • Attached File  WORKS.7z   5.69KB   372 downloads


#60 was_jaclaz

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Posted 30 April 2009 - 04:49 PM

Yep, sorry I meant first entry, which is of course in beeblebrox entry #0, though it shouldn't make any difference. ;)

These data:
#10/0E/80/0/1/1/ 120/254/63/63/1.957.825

Comes from BOTH the
  • 2_installed_grub4dos_mbr.dat
  • 5_hdhacker_write_step2_mbr_back.dat

You attached before.

In some of the steps you must have missed something as the files contain a NOT active partition.

It is strange that the "80" setting in the "boot" entry did not "stick". :)

Or maybe a disconnect-re-connect step was skipped. ? :D

However, the current data (or at least the one on BOTH files within Works.7z):
  • MBR_HardDisk2.dat
  • MBR_16SECTORS_HardDisk2.dat

as seen in beeblebrox, is the following:
#0/06/&#91;b&#93;00&#91;/b&#93;/0/1/1/120/254/63/63/1.943.802


Which should mean that the step in which you created the partition or formatted it "automagically" set the appropriate (balanced) CHS/LBA data.
(OR you did again the steps #4 to #8 with the "right" value of 1.943.802?) ;)

The only "wrong" thing is that the partition remained non active.

You should try again setting it to "80" in beeblebrox (or in Device Manager ;) ) or boot to grub4dos, press "c" to enter command line, then type:
root
[ENTER]
grub4dos should reply with
&#40;hd0,0&#41;

If it does so, type:
makeactive &#40;hd0,0&#41;
[ENTER]

Check again the stick in beeblebrox, the partition should be now set to Active ("80").

Another problem (temporary) is that the drive has no signature in the MBR (actually it has an empty one as 00 00 00 00).

The first time you try booting a NT based system (or a PE) from it, a signature should be assigned automatically.

You can use the
MbrFix /drive <num> generatesignature
or the similar command with MBRwiz to generate disk signature in MBR

Compare with posts here:
http://www.boot-land...?...=7739&st=68

Explanation of steps (how they were intended):
1. Start from clean
2. Write "standard" MBR CODE
3. Write MBR DATA (which includes setting active the partition and creating a partition entry)
4. Format the partition
5. Replace the 1 sector "default" MBR CODE with grub4dos multi-sector one

What happened:
1. Start from clean OK
2. Write "standard" MBR CODE OK
3. Write MBR DATA (which includes setting active the partition and creating a partition entry) Not OK
4. Format the partition Not OK (but somehow worked by creating the parition and formatting it, so OK)
5. Replace the 1 sector "default" MBR CODE with grub4dos multi-sector one OK

Missing steps (that we will, in an apparently totally illogical manner ;), number from 9.) :
9. Set the partition Active
10. Assign or generate a unique Disk Signature (optional - but needed for some setups )

Only practical differences from your original posted MBR:
grub4dos format with hp util fat install grub4dos works on 915m5.dat
and from BOTH the files resulting from your "redundant" set of steps:
  • 2_installed_grub4dos_mbr.dat
  • 5_hdhacker_write_step2_mbr_back.dat
are the said ones:
  • different (now correct) CHS/LBA balancing
  • Partition not made active (to be fixed)
  • Missing Disk Signature (to be fixed or automatically fixed at first occasion)

This should mean that your motherboard is "not sensible" to balanced CHS/LBA.

:D

jaclaz

#61 vmbray

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Posted 30 April 2009 - 07:26 PM

Okay, so I get to work and try the stick on the intel d845gerg2, won't boot, stops at a bios-level message of 'remove disks or other media. press any key to restart'. A 'normal' format using make_usb_2 or whatever with grub4dos will boot fine on this mobo. It seems that the ECS is the issue. I'm not sure what about what we did is making it possible for the ECS to boot, and whatever it is causes the intel not to.

I get 'missing mbr helper' on ECS with a 'normal' formatted stick. Checked partition is active, balanced (cool spreadsheet of yours I found...) tried a 512 mb stick (and interestingly get the same 'remove disks...' from the intel, this looks like it is causing the ECS to see the stick in floppy emu). Tried ntfs, fat. Did not try the flamethower yet.

I have made usb sticks using netbootdisk that would boot on the ECS and others, and also some that won't . Maybe I'll play with that some and just see what happens. Thanks again jaclaz.

Vince

#62 guimenez

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Posted 26 May 2009 - 10:24 AM

Hi

i've follow your excellent tutorial and created successfully the usb flash disk(8gb) with 2 partitions, 1st(7500gb), 2st(500gb) all fat32. use the grubinst_gui and installed grub4dos on my flash and edit the menu.lst with following commands:

title VistaPE
map (hd0,0)/Vistape.iso (hd32)
map --hook
chainloader (hd32)

it doesn't start the vistape and gives-me some errors, i've upload a screenshot

hope you can help me

thanks

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  • error.jpg


#63 was_jaclaz

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Posted 26 May 2009 - 10:44 AM

it doesn't start the vistape and gives-me some errors, i've upload a screenshot


HOW did you create the .iso?

WHICH app, WHICH parameters/commands?

jaclaz

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Posted 26 May 2009 - 11:34 AM

@guimenez

My VistaPE (ISO) is working with the same your entries in grub4dos "menu.lst", so probably there was some error during your iso creation.
Please, note that VistaPE project includes a script (using mkisofs.exe) for the ISO creation itself; so, please use that script and try again to boot the resulting ISO.
Is your UFD-not-booting ISO instead bootable from a burned CD-ROM or running it under a VM?

Btw: you may try to boot your "flat" VistaPE copying to the root of your UFD the content of the "Target\VistaPE-Core" folder and adding/replacing in your "menu.lst" the following entries
title VistaPE

find --set-root /bootmgr

chainloader /bootmgr
http://www.boot-land...amp;#entry61651

Is your (flat) VistaPE bootable this way?

#65 guimenez

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Posted 27 May 2009 - 08:03 PM

HOW did you create the .iso?

WHICH app, WHICH parameters/commands?

jaclaz


Hi

i'm using the script from vistape, and my iso works well when using directly with vmware.
what can i do?

thanks

#66 guimenez

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Posted 27 May 2009 - 08:09 PM

@guimenez

My VistaPE (ISO) is working with the same your entries in grub4dos "menu.lst", so probably there was some error during your iso creation.
Please, note that VistaPE project includes a script (using mkisofs.exe) for the ISO creation itself; so, please use that script and try again to boot the resulting ISO.
Is your UFD-not-booting ISO instead bootable from a burned CD-ROM or running it under a VM?

Btw: you may try to boot your "flat" VistaPE copying to the root of your UFD the content of the "Target\VistaPE-Core" folder and adding/replacing in your "menu.lst" the following entries

title VistaPE

find --set-root /bootmgr

chainloader /bootmgr
http://www.boot-land...amp;#entry61651

Is your (flat) VistaPE bootable this way?


Yes, it boots with "flat" vistape, the main problem of "flat", its that some computers detects usb-zip and when i run it gives me the boot\bcd error. and now i'm trying the (h32) way.

thanks

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Posted 28 May 2009 - 05:56 AM

Hi, guimenez.
All seems well done and frankly I do not know why your ISO is not working for you, however assuming (as highly recommended) that you are using the latest grub4dos release from here http://nufans.net/grub4dos/ there are two changes that you could try to replace

title VistaPE

map &#40;hd0,0&#41;/Vistape.iso &#40;0xff&#41;

map --hook

chainloader &#40;0xff&#41;
from here http://diddy.boot-la...os/Grub4dos.htm

and
title VistaPE

map &#40;hd0,0&#41;/Vistape.iso &#40;0xA0&#41;

map --hook

chainloader &#40;0xA0&#41;
as reported here http://www.boot-land...?...ost&p=62323

All the three above map commands are working for me, hoping that at least one of those will be working for you too.

#68 guimenez

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Posted 28 May 2009 - 10:16 AM

I want to thank you for all your helps, finally i've done it.

i've partitioned my usb flash again (16gb) with 15,5gb and 500mb.
then i use the vistape script for making the usb and now everthing work fine, i've try it with 5 diferent pcs, and the usb-zip detection works like usb harddisk.

Many thanks once again for this great help ;)

#69 maanu

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Posted 28 May 2009 - 11:36 AM

I want to thank you for all your helps, finally i've done it.

i've partitioned my usb flash again (16gb) with 15,5gb and 500mb.
then i use the vistape script for making the usb and now everthing work fine, i've try it with 5 diferent pcs, and the usb-zip detection works like usb harddisk.

Many thanks once again for this great help ;)


glad u sorted it out with the help of online ,

so it means ur system only boots as usb-zip mode or in usb hdd mode ?

how did u install GRD and which version >(or vista pe script did it ;) ), ? what r the mobo names u tried ?

in ur SPARE time , can u plzz test with the following utility ? either in forced zip mode or else..on either all of those systems or anyone of them ?

http://www.boot-land...?showtopic=7932

#70 ludovici

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Posted 28 May 2009 - 11:45 AM

Can we create a script for VistaPE ?
If i understand the method we must just add/integrate drivers in VistaPE and use the latest Grub4dos, i have right ?
2 Partitions it's obligatory ?
Thanks,

#71 guimenez

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Posted 29 May 2009 - 11:08 AM

glad u sorted it out with the help of online ,

so it means ur system only boots as usb-zip mode or in usb hdd mode ?

how did u install GRD and which version >(or vista pe script did it ;) ), ? what r the mobo names u tried ?

in ur SPARE time , can u plzz test with the following utility ? either in forced zip mode or else..on either all of those systems or anyone of them ?

http://www.boot-land...?showtopic=7932


i've tested with lots of boards, some have usb-zip mode, others usb-hdd mode.
after i create the 2 partitions, i install the grub with gruinst_gui and then use the vistape script to copy files to usb.

i have 2 menus
one with normal chainloader /bootmgr and the other with vpe.iso (h32)

some computer boot with the first option and anothers with second one.

---------------------------------------------------

the fbinst works perfectly with all motherboard, the main problem it when the computer as usb-zip mode, it don't boot and give me the error: BOOT\BCD

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#72 guimenez

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Posted 29 May 2009 - 11:12 AM

its not necessary have 2 partitions.
but if you make 2 partitions most of the computers that as usb-zip mode will detect as harddisk and then you can't safely boot vistape ;)

#73 maanu

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Posted 29 May 2009 - 12:41 PM

its not necessary have 2 partitions.
but if you make 2 partitions most of the computers that as usb-zip mode will detect as harddisk and then you can't safely boot vistape ;)


it is confusing .

why would vista pe wont boot when u ll dual partiton ur UFD ?

what are ur call lines ?

#74 guimenez

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Posted 01 June 2009 - 11:14 AM

this is my menu.lst
title VistaPE(teste)
map (hd0,0)/vpe.iso (hd32)
map --hook
chainloader (hd32)

the best methood is with fbinst, all motherboard works, but the motherboards that have fdd-usb mode we need to map fd0 to hd0, but when i make that the vistape stop booting giving the error:
file: BOOT\BCD

i'm waiting for someone that can make that part work.

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#75 online

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Posted 01 June 2009 - 03:57 PM

i have 2 menus
one with normal chainloader /bootmgr and the other with vpe.iso (h32)

some computer boot with the first option and anothers with second one.

Please, can you explain what do you mean?
Which are the two menus?
Do you mean two entries in the same menu, or two separate menus from two separate UFD builts?

if you make 2 partitions most of the computers that as usb-zip mode will detect as harddisk

That's just what this tutorial claims. :)

and then you can't safely boot vistape

Please, can you explain better this?
I've just a dual-partitioned UFD and my VistaPE (both ISO and "Flat") perfectly boot on every machine I've tried it.
Is your VistaPE created as "Standard in RAM" mode?
How about this post? http://www.boot-land...?...ost&p=68510

I want to thank you for all your helps, finally i've done it.

i've partitioned my usb flash again (16gb) with 15,5gb and 500mb.
then i use the vistape script for making the usb and now everthing work fine, i've try it with 5 diferent pcs, and the usb-zip detection works like usb harddisk.

Many thanks once again for this great help

It seemed that you had solved your needs. ;)

the best methood is with fbinst, all motherboard works, but the motherboards that have fdd-usb mode we need to map fd0 to hd0, but when i make that the vistape stop booting giving the error:
file: BOOT\BCD

So, that issue is not this-topic related.
Then probably your issues would stay better in a different and maybe more appropriate thread. ;)




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