Create a multi boot rescue USB flash drive

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Create a multi boot rescue USB flash drive

Post by Rahul on Mon Jun 16, 2008 10:22 am

This is a neat little project for those of you that could be asked to
help fix a PC at any moment in your life - the end result is a flash
drive which when booted lets you pick from:

SystemRescueCD -
An amazing Linux live environment which has a large array of rescue tools

Windows PE 2.0 -
A live Windows environment (I have this so I have a portable CHKDSK)

Darik's Boot and Nuke -
For wiping disks

ntpasswd -
Recover Windows systems from forgotten passwords

Memtest86+ -
Check for broken RAM

Step 1: Collect together everything you are going to need

You'll need to download a bunch of tools to do this, I'll list everything here so you have it all before we start:

GRUB4DOS installer grubinst -
SystemRescueCD -
Windows AIK -;displaylang=en

Step 2: Prepare the USB drive

first thing to do is plug your USB drive into your machine, and start
PeToUSB.exe (Run as Administrator under Vista). Tick the boxes:
Enable Disk Format
Quick Format (OK this is optional)
Force Volume Dismount

Now hit Start and wait for the process to finish.

your drive is larger than 2GB you will encounter an error here. This is
because PeToUSB tries to format the drive to FAT, which has a maximum
of 2GB. The error is not a problem because the drive has been made
bootable regardless. Simply head over to Windows Explorer and format it
to FAT32 as normal.

Next, we're on to grubinst_gui.exe. Again,
run this as Administrator if you're using Vista. Select the Disk
option, then pick your flash drive from the list. You will have to make
an educated guess as to which one it is as all your disks will be
listed. If you've only got one flash drive connected it will normally
be the bottom one. Leave everything else untouched and hit the install

Now, copy the grldr file from your GRUB4DOS folder onto the root of the flash drive. That's the disk ready to go.

Step 3: Installing SystemRescueCD and the floppy images

ntpasswd and Memtest86+ are all included with the SystemRescueCD
package. Extract the contents of your SystemRescueCD ISO to a folder on
your PC, then copy the following files to the root of your flash drive:


That's as hard as it gets to install those.

Step 4: Create a Windows PE 2.0 installation and copy it to the flash drive

Follow this guide, using the WAIK you already downloaded, up to the point where you have your ISO file ready to burn to CD:

Now you have your ISO, simply extract the following from it onto the root of your flash drive (including subfolders):


Step 5: Configure GRUB and we're done

now need to create a menu.lst file in the root of your flash drive with
a text editor (like notepad), and paste in the following text:

color black/cyan yellow/cyan
timeout 60

title SystemRescueCD
kernel /rescuecd initrd=initram.igz video=ofonly vga=0 scandelay=5
initrd /initram.igz

title Windows PE
chainloader /bootmgr

title DBAN
kernel /memdisk
initrd /dban.img

title ntpasswd
kernel /memdisk
initrd /ntpass.img

title Memtest86
kernel /memdisk
initrd /memtestp.img
You should now be able to reboot, select the flash drive as your boot device in your BIOS, and be ready to go!

report back if there are any problems with this, I've written it from
memory after an evening of figuring it out. I have this setup running
on an Integral 16GB drive with FAT32 so it does at least work for me!


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Re: Create a multi boot rescue USB flash drive

Post by Marun on Mon Jun 16, 2008 1:25 pm

Nice article mate!!! Cool

Hey i heard that we can boot wondows thru USB just by copying that boot.ini file into the USB.

If HDD gets crash, we would not be able to boot.
copy the boot.ini file into USB and rename it to boot.bak!! that bak represents backup,
and other necessary files which would have corrupted due to bad sectors in HDD...

Now prioritize the USB thru BIOS, the boot process will be via USB and not thru HDD.
All the necessary and crucial files of windows will be taken from USB and we can boot the system... Smile

I tried this.. but didn't work. Actu i got this tip from a DIGIT magazine!!!
Is there anyone who successfully tried this??? Sad

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