How to Bootable USB Flash Drive

Bootable USB Flash Drive: USB Flash Drives are hot right now and cheap. Take a look at all the ads on the Internet and from you local computer store. You can buy a 1Gb USB Flash Drive for as little as $10. and as high as $250 for a 64 Gb’s Flash Drive. If you watch for the sales and rebates you can buy yourself a cheap USB flash drive (16 Gb’s Flash Drive for $30.) with lots of storage. The prices on USB Flash Drive are dropping by the day almost. The picture on the left is one of the smallest USB flash drive, EagleTec USB Nano Flash Drive. 

Making a Bootable USB Flash Drive: A bootable USB flash drive, what a great idea. I read a few articles on how to make your own bootable USB flash drive on the internet, and it sounds easy. So I though I would post my own little how to make a bootable USB flash drive. This is still a new science and some people have had good luck with at least one of these methods and others have not.

What’s a bootable USB flash drive? A USB flash drive is a compact USB flash memory drive that acts like a portable hard drive, letting you store and transport your computer data. They hold large amounts of information and are small enough (the size of a pack of gum) to slip into your pocket, or hang on your keychain. Note that flash drives are often also called thumb drives, keychain drives, pendrives, etc.

How to use a USB Flash Drive? Just plug in your USB flash drive into the USB port of your computer or other USB-equipped device and drag the files you want to take with you into the folder that appears on your screen. Your files are instantly transferred to your USB flash drive. To transfer the items on your USB flash drive onto another computer, simply plug your USB flash drive into the computer that you want the files transferred to, open the folder that appears on your screen, and drag the desired files onto the computer’s desktop.

THINGS YOU NEED TO CONSIDER IN ADVANCE.

The first thing you need is a little USB Flash Drive. There are many to choose from thumbdrive, keychain drive, USB pen, etc drive size 1Gb to 16 Gbs, maybe bigger. There’s always a sale on USB Flash Drives at your local office supply store, the best deals on USB Flash Drives that I found are on the Internet, Amazon.com, Newegg.com, etc.

Your computer needs to support booting from a USB flash drive, pen drive or key drive. There may be a few items to change in the BIOS to make this possible assuming your BIOS supports it. Some coputer bios’s may refer to your flash drive as a USB floppy or USB zip on the boot menu. Of course there are exceptions, perhaps some are covered here.

You need to check your OS operating system in Windows XP, Windows Me, Windows Vista and Windows 7 you don’t need to install software on you computer. In Windows 98 you my need to install a software drive for your win98 computer recognize the USB flash drive from the manufacture.

The USB flash drive you have must support booting from it in general. The USB flash drive must contain the boot/system files on it. The flash drive must have a bootsector area on the flash drive. You can make one with special software utilities. Most USB flash drives come with free software utilities or you can download them from the manufacture website.

A. Some Manufactures have downloadable bootable software for their USB Flash Drives, here’s a few:

Disgo flash drives which are manufactured by M-Systems. Software download page.

B. You can try these 2 USB Flash Drive Utilities by HP/Compaq. They work with Most other brands of USB flash drives as well.

hpflash2.zip HP USB Disk Storage Format Tool. Formerly called hpflash1.zip

HP Drive Key Boot Utility Version 7.41
Download

1. Install the HP USB Disk Storage Format Tool and run the program.
2. Select the Device and the File system from the drop down menus and click start.
3. Close the above program and install and run the HP Drive Key Boot Utility. Selecting the appropriate drive letter. Click Next.
4.Select the circle on the top that says create New or Replace Existing Configuration. Click Next.
5. Select the circle labeled Hard Drive. Click Next.
6. Select Create New Filesystem. Click Next.
7. Select the circle labeled HP Firmware Flash Package. Click Next.
Click Finish

C. Windows Vista and Windows 7 bootable USB guide: We assume that you are using either Vista or Windows 7 to create a bootable USB flash drive.

1. Back-up your USB flash drive data to your computer. Insert your USB flash drive (2 Gbs + preferable) in to your computer system and backup all the data from the USB flash drive so you can format the USB flash drive to make it a bootable USB flash drive. USB flash drive manufactures will sometimes install software utilities on the flash drive.

2. Open elevated Command Prompt. To do this, type in CMD in Start menu search field and hit Ctrl + Shift + Enter. Alternatively, navigate to Start > All programs >Accessories > right click on Command Prompt and select run as administrator.

3. When the Command Prompt opens, enter the following command:

DISKPART and hit enter.

LIST DISK and hit enter.

Once you enter the LIST DISK command, it will show the disk number of your USB drive. In the below image my USB drive disk no is Disk 1.

4. In this step you need to enter all the below commands one by one and hit enter. As these commands are self explanatory, you can easily guess what these commands do.

SELECT DISK 1 (Replace DISK 1 with your disk number)

CLEAN

CREATE PARTITION PRIMARY

SELECT PARTITION 1

ACTIVE

FORMAT FS=NTFS

(Format process may take few seconds) 
ASSIGN

EXIT

Don’t close the command prompt as we need to execute one more command at the next step. Just minimize it.

5. Insert your Windows DVD in the optical drive and note down the drive letter of the optical drive and USB media. Here I use “D” as my optical (DVD) drive letter and “H” as my USB drive letter.

6. Go back to command prompt and execute the following commands:

D:CD BOOT and hit enter. Where “D” is your DVD drive letter.

CD BOOT and hit enter to see the below message. 
BOOTSECT.EXE/NT60 H:

(Where “H” is your USB drive letter)

7. Copy Windows DVD contents to USB.

You are done with your bootable USB. You can now use this bootable USB as bootable DVD on any computer that comes with USB boot feature (most of the current motherboards support this feature).

Note that this bootable USB guide will not work if you are trying to make a bootable USB on XP computer.

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