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Tuesday, November 1, 2011

PeToUSB - Boot BartPE From USB

PeToUSB is a Win32 GUI application for formatting and making bootable, USB Flash Memory Drives and USB HardDisks and optionally copying the output from a successful BartPE/WinPE build to the device. There are options to backup/restore the MBR on a device.
PeToUSB v3.0
Author : Rich Burnham
Date : 2005
WWW  : http://GoCoding.Com
Boot your BartPE/WinPE from a USB Flash Disk Drive!
Also supports USB HardDisks.
PeToUSB is a GUI Win32 application that will partition, format and makebootable to XP/W2K3 a USB Flash Disk (UFD). A lot of utilities that say they can do this, actually cant. PeToUSB does not make the device DOS bootable, it makes it XP bootable (ie: the bootstrap code will look for NTLDR). A lot of improvements have been made since version 2. Check the change log for details. But in short its more compatible with more devices, and easier to use with more functionality.
New Features/Changes:
o Rewrites the MBR code just in case its corrupted.
 This option can be disabled if desired.
o On Removable media, the partition is completely rewritten.
o Backup/Restore MBR.
o View disk information.
o Assign drive letters.
o Automatic notification of device arrival/removal.
o Now supports WinPE builds as well.
To make a UFD bootable requires it to be formatted to FAT16, the partition set as bootable AND the volume boot sector id to be set to 0x80. If all this is done the UFD should be bootable on any system whose BIOS can boot to USB-HDD. Some UFDs partition tables have been set to a starting offset of 32 sectors, this will not be bootable under USB-HDD. It seems that USB-ZIP requires this, USB-HDD requires offset of 63 sectors. If your UFD still wont boot after this type of format then either your UFDs chipset isnt capable or the BIOS on the system you are trying to boot is either set incorerectly or incapable of booting to UFD. But PeToUSB does more than just make a UFD bootable. It will also copy all the required files from a successful BartPE build, to the UFD. The all that remains is for you to boot the stick on a system.
o Build you BartPE/WinPE installation. No need to check the 
 CD Record box.
o Insert your USB stick into the slot. 
o Use Tools/Backup MBR to make a backup of the disks MBR.
 (This can be restored later if things dont go as excpected)
o Remove any security options on the UFD as this will mess
 up any booting process.
o Extract PeToUSB.exe from its zip archive and run it.
o First we want to select the USB stick (Destination Drive).
 In the window check your USB stick has been recognised.
 There is a drop list containing all the detected removable
 disks. If you cant see it. Then click the Refresh button.
 Make sure you select the drive that you want to use.
o Next we want to get the path to our PE installation.
 Click the [...] button and choose the path. The OK on
 the Browse Dialog will not display until you select 
 the correct folder.
o Next we want to choose our options. For the first run we 
 need to choose:-
 oEnable Disk Format
 oEnable File Copy (if you are only wanting to format then 
      leave this)
o Now we are ready to format the drive and copy the PE
 to the stick. Click Start button and answer any 
 confirmation boxes.
o Copying the files to a UFD takes a lot longer than to an
 IDE drive. So dont worry about it taking some time. Just
 watch the progress bar for an indication of how long it 
 will take.
o After successfully completing the above operations. Your
 stick is now ready to be booted on the target system.
PeToUSB will list fixed and removable disks. On the following 
It is LESS than 2GB. (It wont format FAT16 > 2Gb)
It is NOT the current system drive.
It is NOT the drive where PeToUSB is running from.
If it is a USB HardDisk (eg FixedMedia) then it must have its partitions already defined, as PeToUSB will not partition these devices due to possibilty of user losing their data when the partitions are altered. And the first paritition starting at Sector 63 and being less that 2Gb in size. If it fails to format then check that the whole partition is enclosed in the first 2Gb of the physical disk. The format function will have problems if not. 
Im no expert at compatablity of BIOSs with UFDs. But I have learnt a few things...
o In the BIOS boot sequence, set USB-HDD as the first boot 
o Then make sure the Boot Other Devices is disabled.
o Save the BIOS settings. And power down.
o Stick you UDF in the slot and powerup.
These notes relate to AWARD-BIOS. Other BIOS manufacturers will have different but similar settings. You may need to experiment!
System Requirements
PeToUSB will run on windows XP/2003/BartPE and most 2000Pros It requires about 3Mb ram to run. USB Disk Minimum Size of 256MB (dependant on size of PE build) 

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