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Friday, February 3, 2012

What can RMPrepUSB do? - RMPrepUSB - grub4dos, .iso images and Booting from USB

• What can RMPrepUSB do?

Here is a list of the things you can do with the latest Beta version of RMPrepUSB (works on most types of USB storage devices such as USB Flash memory pens, USB SD cards, USB hard disks, etc. and non-USB drives too):

  1. Partition, Format and make bootable a USB drive - This is the main purpose of RMPrepUSB. Most users will need to follow the numbered steps (1-6). For more information see my Video Tutorials section. You can format as FAT16 (up to 2GiB), FAT32 (up to >1TiB - no 32GiB limitation) or NTFS (up to >1TiB).
  2. Erase and Clean a USB drive - The Clean button will clear the USB drive partition sectors. Use this if you are having trouble getting Windows to recognise your USB drive and then re-format it using RMPrepUSB - Prepare Drive.
  3. Test the size of your USB drive - If you have bought a cheap USB flash drive from China, the chances are it is a 'fake' drive. It may say it is 8GB in Windows, but actually it may only be 1GB and contain faulty memory. 95% of all USB flash memory devices from China on eBay are 'fake'. The Quick Size Test button will erase and test the whole USB flash memory in the drive. If it fails you have a fake drive. If it passes, format it with RMPrepUSB and then test it again with H2TESTW (download link included in the RMPrepUSB Help screen) for a more thorough but much much slower test.
  4. Image your USB flash memory pen - RMPrepUSB can take an image of you entire flash memory pen drive and then restore it later. You can keep lots of different bootable images on your Windows hard disk and restore them to your pen drive at a later date. You can also save the contents of just one or several sectors (e.g. the MBR) to a file and restore it later.
  5. Information - Use the FileInfo or USBInfo buttons to get information about an image file or USB partition.
  6. Grub4DOS - You can use RMPrepUSB to apply a grub4dos boot sector to any USB drive by using the Install grub4dos button.
  7. Format a drive and install SysLinux - this allows you to boot many types of Linux operating systems from a USB drive.
  8. Make a BartPE bootable USB drive - First use PEBuilder to make a BartPE folder, then use RMPrepUSB to partition, format and copy the files over to make a bootable USB flash memory drive (just tick the BartPE -> USB button).
  9. Speed test - Use the Speed Test button to measure the sequential read and write speed of your USB drive. The results are added to a .csv file each time so you can easily compare drive speeds.
  10. Eject a USB drive - Remember to use the Eject button before you remove your USB drive from the USB port or you may get a corrupted drive!
  11. Use RMPartUSB in your scripts - RMPrepUSB is just a front-end user interface for RMPartUSB which is the command line utility that does all the hard work. The command line is displayed to the user by RMPrepUSB just before it calls RMPartUSB, so all you need to do is include the same command in your scripts. One use for RMPartUSB is just to detect if any USB storage device is connected and find out which physical drive number and volume letter it has been assigned by Windows. See RMPartUSB.txt for more info or just type RMPartUSB in a command console window.
  12. Partition and format a non-USB drive (versions 2.1.505 and later). Works on non-USB drives if the ALLDRIVES command line parameter is specified (or press Alt+F5).
  13. Pre-set your favourite configurations so that the end user does not need to remember what settings to use or where the source files are stored (v2.1.601 and later).
  14. Install a Syslinux boot loader (different versions can be selected by copying the correct version from the Syslinux subfolder to the main RMPrepUSB installation folder)
  15. Create an Ext2 filesystem as a mountable file for persistent linux OS's (e.g. casper-rw).
  16. Run QEMU to emulate booting from the USB drive so you can test out your boot menu's and see if the USB drive will boot. (v2.1.618 and later)
  17. Extract files from a zip or ISO file and copy them to your USB drive (v2.1.630 and later)
  18. Calculate the MD5/CRC32 and SHA1 checksum values of any file using a NirSoft utlity (press ALT+F2  v2.1.631 and later).
  19. Overwrite the Master Boot Record with default (Win7) boot code and leave disk signature and partition table alone (ALT+CTRL+F5)
  20. Install WEE bootloader to Track 0 on any disk. WEE is an embedded bootloader based around a cut-down version of grub4dos and may boot some systems which won't boot using grub4dos.
  21. Launch Disk Doctor, a disk test and sector/byte editing/viewing utility.
  22. Make contiguous all files on a drive. You need to add the Microsoft utility Contig.exe to the RMPrepUSB installation folder and then hit CTRL+F2.
Go there...

Quick Start Guide

RMPrepUSB is a Windows utility that allows you to quickly format your USB drives (or non-USB drives) and install different Operating System bootloaders onto it for XP, Vista/Win7/Win8, MSDOS, FreeDOS, Syslinux or grub4dos at the click of a button. This allows you to 'roll your own' bootable USB drives. RMPrepUSB has hotkeys that speed up this process (press F1 to see these). Most of the Tutorials on this site use the grub4dos bootloader. The grub4dos bootloader enables you to create a user menu which can contain a variety of entries. For instance, if you follow some of the tutorials on this site you can create a USB drive that will boot on most systems and allow you to: install XP onto a system, install Vista onto a system, install Windows 7 onto a system, install Server 2008 onto a system, repair an OS, boot to MD-DOS, boot to FreeDOS, flash a new BIOS, run a memory test, run a hard disk scan test, boot to a number of different linux operating systems, wipe a hard disk, reset or recover Windows user passwords, clone a hard drive, boot to BackTrack to check WiFI security, recover files/pictures from a corrupt Flash memory card and much more.

  1. Install RMPrepUSB onto your Windows computer
  2. Copy RMPrepUSB to another disk so that you can run RMPrepUSB from any Windows system (i.e. portable)
  3. Wipe, Partition and Format a USB drive
  4. Make a USB drive that will boot to DOS (for instance to flash a new BIOS onto a computer)
  5. Backup an image of a USB drive and then restore it to a different USB drive
  6. Check to see if a USB Flash memory drive is good or fake (e.g. eBay / 'bargain' purchase)
  7. Check the read and write speed of your USB drive
  8. Introduction to making a multi-boot USB drive (e.g. have one flash drive that can install Windows 7, Server 2008, run Hirens Boot CD, wipe CMOS, wipe hard disks, boot to linux, run backtrack 4, boot to WinPE to image hard disks, etc.)

Install RMPrepUSB onto your Windows computer


Downloads‎ > ‎

Latest Beta & Tutorial downloads

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grub4dos, .iso images and (hd32) or (0xFF) mapping

Posted 30 December 2008 - 11:56 PM
Now that netbooks without floppy/CD/DVD drives are so popular it's important to be able to boot from USB sticks. In the past I've had a few minor problems with Grub4DOS 0.4.2 and 0.4.3 but 0.4.4 2008-11-19 seems much better. The mapping of ISO images to (hd32) is a powerful facility that I've tested with both an Acronis Trueimage 9 Recovery CD and the Ultimate Boot CD 4.1.1 without any problems whatsoever. The essential code fragment is simply
Quote for menu.lst file (no spaces between lines needed in the menu.lst rile)... 
title Ultimate Boot CD
map /images/ubcd411.iso (hd32)
map --hook
chainloader (hd32)
And a similar set of commands for Acronis. Alternatively the     following code works equally well. 

Quote for menu.lst file
(no spaces between lines needed in the menu.lst rile)... 
title Acronis Trueimage

kernel /acronis/kernel.dat vga=791 ramdisk_size=32768 quiet

initrd /ramdisk.dat /s

Of course it's possible that there could still be hidden problems which my (limited) testing hasn't revealed, but I'm using 4 different sticks ranging in size from 512mb to 4gb, all formatted as FAT32 with the HP USB Disk Storage Format Tool based on DOS 7.10 system files (ie the Windows 98SE ones). They also boot XP, Vista, Ubuntu, BartPE, and DOS itself for using Partition Magic outside of Windows. So far I've yet to find anything that Grub4DOS can't boot, but a serious weak spot has always been its documentation. In this respect Diddy's recent tutorial is a very welcome arrival.
Hopefully this post may save a few people some time and effort

EDIT by jaclaz
Second way does not work with newish releases, see here:


Update: I found some Videos and more examples for menu.lst files and made a new Post here...

RMPrepUSB - Boot ISO files from a USB flash pen drive - Videos

Create Bootable Windows or Linux USB with RMPrepUSB
install grub on usb hard drive - Search on DonsDeals Blog
DonsDeals: RMPrepUSB - RM'sPreparation utility for USB drives
• Quick Start Guide - RMPrepUSB
Create Bootable Windows or Linux USB with RMPrepUSB
• What can RMPrepUSB do? - RMPrepUSB
Download - RMPrepUSB
Latest Beta & Tutorial downloads - RMPrepUSB
21 - GRUB4DOS TUTORIAL - How to use grub4dos and make pretty menus! - RMPrepUSB
Downloads - grub4dos-chenall - grub4dos - Google Project Hosting
20 - Add MEMTEST86+ memory test program to your grub4dos menu.lst file - RMPrepUSB
grub4dos, .iso images and (hd32) or (0xFF) mapping -
Install XP from USB AFTER Booting with PE from HDD or USB -
Install XP from USB - The CD Forum
Fool the BIOS booting any USB stick as a Hard Disk -

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