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bootable usb

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This is a short one. There are a few ways of making a bootable USB key. This one uses the HP utility and is the easiest and most straightforward. There is another method using mkbt from Bart, but I had problems with it. Maybe it was the user!

1. Install HP USB Disk Storage Format Tool (see link below). It is fairly well behaved, and has no side effects that I could see, even though it bears the mark of the beast HP logo. However, tHe HP Drive Key Boot Utility did NOT work in my experience. This is the HP USB Disk Storage Format Tool:

hp utility screen shot

2. Insert the USB key you want to use. Any data that is on this key will be destroyed. Back it up.

3. Check the 'create a dos startup disk' box, and then use dos system files located at whereever you have them. If you have a floppy drive, then insert a win98 boot disk. If you're like me and hate floppy drives, then point to a directory that has the files contained within. You would get these files from an iso image found online, or a copy from a floppy from another computer. Make sure you view hidden files, and protected OS files if you are going to do this. See below for a Win98 and WinME boot directory you can use.

4. Once you click start, the HP program will extract the necessary files and boot sector information from the disk or directory structure you specified. After that, you will need to add any additional files (like format, fdisk, ghost, etc.)

NOTE: This method will not work for linux or anything non-dos/windows (at least, I havent gotten it to work). To make a bootable usb drive for a linux distribution, you will need to find a utility to do it (MySlaxCreator for slax, obviously, etc) or create your key from within linux (google for instructions for your specific distro).

Applications needed for this how-to:

HP USB Disk Storage Format Tool
Bootdisk dir structures and files (Win98 and WinME)