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Preparing a bootable USB Flash memory stick as a bootable hard disk without using the manufacturer's utilities
Published Date : 17 Jan 2007   Last Updated : 30 Apr 2012   Content Ref: TEC818888  


To make a bootable USB memory stick, you will need:

  1. A bootable USB memory stick that can emulate a USB-HDD.
  2. A computer with a USB port which is running Microsoft® Windows® XP/2000.


RMPrepUSB (recommended)
RMPrepUSB is a new RM Windows 32-bit utility that will wipe, partition, format and make bootable any USB storage device. Please refer to TEC1434450 in the Other Useful Articles section at the end of this article.

Preparing a bootable USB Flash memory stick as a bootable hard disk without using the manufacturer's utilities


Please note: This procedure is not suitable for making a bootable USB Flash memory drive for Community Connect® 3 workstation installs.

If you have a memory stick device that emulates a hard disk (USB-HDD), you can prepare the device without using the manufacturers format utility as follows:

  1. Insert the USB memory stick into the target system.
  2. Switch on the target system and alter the BIOS Setup options as described earlier.
First Boot Device [USB-HDD] boots to the memory stick as drive C: if present
Second Boot Device [USB-ZIP] boots to the memory stick as drive A: if present
Third Boot Device [A:/Floppy] boots to the floppy disk as drive A: if present
Boot Other Device Enabled Will boot a USB Memory Key if no other bootable device is present (default)

Remember to enable 'USB legacy kbd support' (required for USB detection on some systems).

In addition, disable any hard disks in the system (temporarily) by setting the Disk Type to None.

Note: Even if your system does not have a USB-HDD boot option, the Boot Other Device option will often boot to the Memory Stick as long as no other bootable devices are found.

  1. Download and make the RMRESTOR boot floppy on another system (see Other Useful Articles below).
  2. Boot from the RMRESTOR floppy disk and Quit from the RMRestor utility.
  3. Type RMPTN - you should see text similar to that shown below:

For help type RMPTN /help or RMPTN /examples for examples.

Disk #       Int13        Partitions              Cyls x Heads x Secs                  Mbytes          Used
======  =====  ==========  =====================  ========  ==========
Disk 1       (LBA)      1 + 0 =  1               [     63 x  16 x 63 ]                   31.2                  99.13888%

If two or more disks are shown, you probably have not disabled your hard disks in the BIOS Setup menu in step 2 above.

Warning:  Do not continue unless the Memory Stick hard disk is the only disk displayed by RMPTN - otherwise you may accidentally format your Windows® hard disk and lose all Windows files.

Note: RMPTN will destroy all data on the hard disk that it is requested to format (default = hard disk 1). You can specify other hard disks by specifying the hard disk number (eg RMPTN 2 /SHOW).

  1. Type RMPTN /SHOW - you should see text similar to that shown below:

Disk #       Int13         Partitions            Cyls x Heads x Secs                   Mbytes         Used
======  =====  ==========  =====================  ========  ==========
Disk 1      (LBA)       1 + 0 =  1               [     63 x  16 x 63 ]                   31.2                  99.164%

                Active                            Volume      Partition   % of
  # Type:#  v  File System Type          Label        Size [Mb]   Disk
  - -----     -  ---------------------- ----------- ---------   ----
  1  Pri:1     A  DOS FAT-16 (<32M)      NO NAME         31.0   99.4%
      Pri           Unused                                              0.1     0.5%

Note: If no FAT16 partition is shown, then the memory stick has not yet been formatted. This does not matter as the next step will partition and format the memory stick.

  1. Type the following commands to partition, format and make the memory stick bootable:
    • RMPTN /DEL /ALL   (deletes all partitions on drive 1)
    • RMPTN /CRE /PRI /FAT16 /FOR /V:MEMSTICK  (create a new primary FAT16 partition and format it with a Volume Label of MEMSTICK)
    • RMPTN /ACT /PRI    (make the primary partition Active/Bootable)
    • Now hold down Ctrl, Alt, Delete keys to reboot to the floppy drive again so that the new partition is detected by DOS as drive C:
    • DIR C:    (ensure that the drive has no files - make sure this is your memory stick and NOT your hard disk!)
    • SYS   A:   C:     (copy the MS-DOS boot files to the memory stick)
  1. The memory stick will now be bootable. Hold down Ctrl, Alt, Delete keys to restart the system. You should see a C:> prompt.
  2. You can now re-enable your Hard Disk (Autodetect or set the Hard disk to 'Auto'). You can now change the BIOS boot order so that the memory stick will be booted before the C: drive by setting the [USB-HDD] device before the C: drive in the boot order. If your BIOS does not have a [USB-HDD] option, it may not be possible to boot to the memory stick if your hard disk is present and enabled.

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