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RMPrepUSB - Bootable USB format utility


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#26 wimb

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Posted 17 April 2009 - 05:46 PM

Thanks, I can work now with the program. :)

Is there a reason to use Partition StartSector = 128 instead of the usual 63 for this geometry ? :)
The partition is ending on Cylinder Boundary which is good and better than HP Format Tool is doing. :)

Why are you using Vista MBR Bootcode which differs entirely from XP MBR BootCode, when creating NTLDR type BootSector ? :)

Convert to NTFS FileSystem was possible, which is useful. :)
And the USB-stick is Bootable with NTLDR and boot.ini menu. :(

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#27 steve6375

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Posted 17 April 2009 - 07:10 PM

Hi Wimb,
Glad you are finding it useful. It was really developed for my companies customers who need MS-DOS booting and WinPE v2 booting.

The MBR should really not matter what code is used they all do the same job (look for active ptn, load it into memory and jump to it???), but the Vista MBR has some special features - 1. it uses LBA extended int13h calls first rather than CHS based int 13 calls (so has a better chance to boot) and 2. It has special Bitlocker TPM initialisation code which is needed for Vista systems that use Bitlocker. That is why I chose that particular MBR.

As regards sector 128 for VBR, if you tick the ZIP box it will use 64/32 translation (but only for smallish partitions that it can fit - if not it uses larger CHS, doubling each time until the maximum is reached).

Zip option also puts 'floppy' bytes in VBR so you may find using ZIP for NTLDR/BOOTMGR OS's does not work on some systems.

I am working on some improvements as requested:
1. Place on small 2nd partition for better USB-HDD boot emulation as jaclaz has found.
2. NTFS formatting
3. Add NTFS compatible VBR code for each OS (IO.SYS,NTLDR,BOOTMGR,KERNEL.SYS)


I have coded 1 and 2 already and they both work, I just need to put code into the two programs (RMPartUSB and RMPrepUSB). For 3 I just need to copy code from RMBootSect.
New version of RMPartUSB will have NTFS and 2PTN extra switches! :)

I also made an XP format program which will format any disk under XP as FAT, FAT32 or NTFS as test bed for the format program, but this will always place NTLDR boot VBR on the volume (or Bootmgr VBR if used under Vista). If you want this I can upload it?


cheers
Steve

#28 was_jaclaz

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Posted 17 April 2009 - 08:00 PM

Three things:
  • Thanks for the update :)
  • There should be an option to have the hidden sectors as 63 if (like 99,99 % of USB devices) a n/255/63 is used, i.e. partition should BEGIN and END on Cylinder boundary for better compatibility. :)
  • I can assure you :) that jaclaz NEVER said :):

    Place on small 2nd partition for better USB-HDD boot emulation

What jaclaz said is that in his experience having a second partition NEVER made ANY difference, but that, on the other hand :):
so having one won't make any harm. :(:)

User online reported he has a motherboard that will only boot if the stick is multipartitioned.

:)

jaclaz

#29 wimb

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Posted 18 April 2009 - 06:05 AM

New version of RMPartUSB will have NTFS and 2PTN extra switches! :)

Interesting, but I think that First Partition should really have StartSector = 63 for the most common n/255/63 geometry.

I also made an XP format program which will format any disk under XP as FAT, FAT32 or NTFS as test bed for the format program, but this will always place NTLDR boot VBR on the volume (or Bootmgr VBR if used under Vista). If you want this I can upload it?

Yes, will you please upload this program, then we can test it.

Thanks and cheers :)

#30 was_jaclaz

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Posted 18 April 2009 - 10:21 AM

OK - not enough space :) , so I have deleted previous version :) .


Changed your profile as "Developer", now you should have some more space. :)

:)

jaclaz

#31 steve6375

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Posted 18 April 2009 - 10:21 AM

Here is the test program I wrote to test out the FormatEX function. RMFormat.exe
You can use it to format a USB drive (or HARD DISK!!!), as either FAT16, FAT32 or NTFS under XP.

I have not tested it on any hard disks (only USB flash drives) but it should work.
Beware as it seems to be able to sometimes format drives that have open files !

It uses the OS - so the boot sector placed on the drive will be whatever the OS puts on it (ntldr if XP).
The partition Filesystem byte (e.g. 7 for NTFS) will be overwritten by the OS to match.

It will need MSVBVM60.dll (not enough filespace to put it in the zip file!) - you can get this from my other upload RMPrepUSB. Should not need WMI under WinPE.

Although I have tested it on my XP laptop and PC and Vista PC...
I accept no responsibility if you format your hard disk with it or lose data!!!! :)

It does not auto-refresh, so you need to use the refresh button if you change drives.
I deliberately did not put in auto-refresh feature in case you tick the 'all drives' box (which selects C: drive) and then click Format! However, If the device you attempt to format is a 'Fixed disk' type - you will get two extra warnings.

Please let me know if it works for you.

Steve

#32 was_jaclaz

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Posted 18 April 2009 - 10:25 AM

Please let me know if it works for you.


There is no attachment. :)

Try logging out and logging again in, you should have more space now.

jaclaz

#33 yggdrasil

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Posted 18 April 2009 - 11:50 AM

@Steve6375

Big credits and thank you :) for development of the format tool RMFORMAT.exe
Is there by any chance the same tool only for “DOS window” (command window) - like the RMPARTUSB.exe witch can be used with switches?

yggdrasil

#34 steve6375

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Posted 18 April 2009 - 12:19 PM

@yggdrasil
Hi, yes I can easily do this. I will wait a week or so for more feedback and then post a new version.

Command line like...

RMFormat F: NTFS VOLUME=volname (for removable media with OK\Cancel dialogue)

or

RMFormat D: FAT32 SURE HDD VOLUME=volname (for hard disk override with no user OK\Cancel)

Returns errorlevel of 0 if OK

Is this OK? It could be rather dangerous though....
The current OS Format asks for volume label as confirmation, would you want this too - e.g.

RMFormat D: FAT32 SURE HDD VOLUME=volname OLDVOLUME=oldvol

Steve

#35 yggdrasil

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Posted 18 April 2009 - 12:44 PM

@steve6375

Thanks for quick reply :)

Quote: Command line like...

RMFormat F: NTFS VOLUME=volname (for removable media with OK\Cancel dialogue)

or

RMFormat D: FAT32 SURE HDD VOLUME=volname (for hard disk override with no user OK\Cancel)

Yes please! Or something simpel like: RMFormat F: NTFS SURE
Basically I would say the same switches used in RMPARTUSB.exe would be fine

I have worked on my earlier scripts to make them safer, and I think now that I’m at the end of this process. The only problem I have faced is the issue with format USB (stick/Thumb drives) in WinXP as there is size limits for such USB devices (FAT32 partition) and by default you cannot run format NTFS on such devices (without do some changes in the system). If I run my script in Vista there is no such limit (NTFS can be used at once on USB devices).

Note: I can always use HP format tool. But if using HP-USB-Format-Tool,
the length of the partition in the partition table ends up to be incorrect!
Unfortunately the "HP format tool" creates an error in the partition table.
To clarify: “PartitionMagic has detected an error 110 on the partition starting at sector 63 on disk1. The length of the partition in the partition table is incorrect, the CHS length is 995967, the LBA length is 996030 and the filesystem length is 996029.

However, USB device normally boots up anyway but could fail according to some odd BIOS.

Now it seems that you amazing little tool doesn’t create such problems in the partition table :)

regards yggdrasil

#36 steve6375

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Posted 18 April 2009 - 12:50 PM

OK, but I will be adding NTFS support to RMPARTUSB soon anyway... :)

#37 steve6375

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Posted 18 April 2009 - 12:54 PM

I have worked on my earlier scripts to make them safer, and I think now that I’m at the end of this process. The only problem I have faced is the issue with format USB (stick/Thumb drives) in WinXP as there is size limits for such USB devices (FAT32MB partition) and by default you cannot run format NTFS on such devices (without do some changes in the system). If I run my script in Vista there is no such limit (NTFS can be used at once on USB devices).

Note: I can always use HP format tool. But if using HP-USB-Format-Tool,
the length of the partition in the partition table ends up to be incorrect!
Unfortunately the "HP format tool" creates an error in the partition table.
To clarify: “PartitionMagic has detected an error 110 on the partition starting at sector 63 on disk1. The length of the partition in the partition table is incorrect, the CHS length is 995967, the LBA length is 996030 and the filesystem length is 996029.

However, USB device normally boots up anyway but could fail according to some odd BIOS.

Now it seems that you amazing little tool doesn’t create such problems in the partition table :)

regards yggdrasil


You can use RMPARTUSB to create a FAT32 partition and then run the Convert command to convert it to NTFS?

#38 yggdrasil

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Posted 18 April 2009 - 01:17 PM

@Steve6375

Quote: You can use RMPARTUSB to create a FAT32 partition and then run the Convert command to convert it to NTFS?

Yes I now! But if you have a USB Stick/Thumdrive larger than 32 GB you are bound to use NTFS as there is a size limit (in partition size) when format using FAT32 to USB Stick/Thumdrives in WinXP. And that size limit is 32GB. Using NTFS you don’t have such size problems in partition size. It’s here your amazing little tool comes in so handy :)

And yes I now there is a workaround for this in the WinXP system, but would like to use switches (fully automatically :) ) in script without doing changes to different machines/systems.

regards yggdrasil

#39 steve6375

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Posted 18 April 2009 - 02:07 PM

But RMPARTUSB does not use the OS to format FAT32 or FAT16 - does a raw format using direct disk access. You can have any size (not tested it past 80GB though). Theoritically up to 8TB!

#40 yggdrasil

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Posted 18 April 2009 - 02:16 PM

@Steve6375

In fact, I was just writing this text: Hmmm is it possible to format USB Stick/Thumb drives larger than 32GB in WinXP using RMPARTUSB? If so I can for sure use the trick with converting from FAT32 to NTFS. But generally I don’t need NTFS file system, I only need the option to format USB devices larger than 32GB-FAT32 in WinXP (in Vista as I already said the problem is solved but not in WinXP!).

Steve… What can I say :) :) Thank you :)
I don’t know how you managed to fix this problem, but you for sure “made my day” :)
As my problem is solved I don’t look like this any more :)

Thank you again :(

Regards yggdrasil

#41 steve6375

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Posted 18 April 2009 - 02:22 PM

No problem :) . Max for FAT16 is 4GB (but 2GB recommended max as some OS's won't boot if >2GB).
Let me know max size you have tried for FAT32.
cheers
Steve

#42 yggdrasil

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Posted 18 April 2009 - 02:35 PM

@steve6375

Well I don’t (for the moment) own any “super large” USB Stick/Thumb drive but prices goes down while sizes goes up, so it’s a time factor when we need to have support (in different ways) for this type of drives.
I only have a 8GB large USB stick :) (but I’m working :) on to grab some larger one in the future)

Some interesting notes here

Have a really nice day Steve

Regards yggdrasil

#43 steve6375

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Posted 18 April 2009 - 03:15 PM

RMPARTUSB works on any USB drive, including USB hard disks.

#44 was_jaclaz

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Posted 18 April 2009 - 03:23 PM

In fact, I was just writing this text: Hmmm is it possible to format USB Stick/Thumb drives larger than 32MB in WinXP using RMPARTUSB? If so I can for sure use the trick with converting from FAT32 to NTFS. But generally I don’t need NTFS file system, I only need the option to format USB devices larger than 32MB-FAT32 in WinXP (in Vista as I already said the problem is solved but not in WinXP!).


..then decided to rewrite it with 32GB instead and never made it. ? :)

:)

Just FYI:
http://www.boot-land...?showtopic=4539

AFAIK Swissknife has no problems with USB devices.

:)

jaclaz

#45 yggdrasil

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Posted 18 April 2009 - 03:44 PM

@jaclaz

Quote: then decided to rewrite it with 32GB instead and never made it. ?

Sorry you are right (as usual) I was thinking FAT32 when setting size to USB device
Edit: Values corrected :)

yggdrasil

#46 was_jaclaz

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Posted 18 April 2009 - 05:17 PM

@jaclaz

Quote: then decided to rewrite it with 32GB instead and never made it. ?

Sorry you are right (as usual) I was thinking FAT32 when setting size to USB device
Do I need to correct my mistake (edit posts) – or is it okay to leave them as they are :)

yggdrasil


It's OK, just some fun. :)

Everyone would know that 32Mb is the limit for early FAT16 (type 04) :):
http://www.win.tue.n...on_types-1.html

:)

jaclaz

#47 online

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Posted 18 April 2009 - 09:47 PM

I am working on some improvements as requested:
1. Place on small 2nd partition for better USB-HDD boot emulation as jaclaz has found.

Sorry if I contradict you, but really this way has been found by me. :)
http://www.boot-land...?showtopic=7512

having a second partition NEVER made ANY difference
User online reported he has a motherboard that will only boot if the stick is multipartitioned.

If anyone never thinks about a certain issue then probably may never notice that issue.
http://www.boot-land...?...ost&p=65200
Truly, user online states that: "the partitioning with more than 1 partition is the most effective and simple way in order to highly increase the bootability of any USB stick, to really recognize it as a Hard Disk under the most BIOSes and to widely boot it in Hard Disk emulation mode from the most machines with USB support".

RMFormat with VB dll

Many thanks!
I will try it soon. :)

#48 steve6375

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Posted 18 April 2009 - 10:02 PM

@online
Apologies for the mis-attribution, which jaclaz did correct and now you.

RMPrepUSB, RMPartUSB, RMBootsect and RMFormat are free to use for private use only for anyone :) . Commercial use however is forbidden and you need to contact RM for licensing costs if you wish to use it or re-distribute it as part of a commercial solution - www.rm.com

Thanks

Steve

#49 online

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Posted 18 April 2009 - 10:20 PM

@online
Apologies for the mis-attribution

Surely, no apologies are needed. :)

Thank you very much again for your tool that I will try for - I promise - my exclusive and private use! :)

#50 megaborg

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Posted 20 April 2009 - 05:17 PM

sprry but where can i download rmprepusb?I cannot see any attachments or download link.....




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