are all usb flashdrives bootable?

Discussion in 'NZ Computing' started by blanking, Aug 7, 2007.

  1. blanking

    blanking Guest

    I had assumed all usb flashdrives were bootable but I see some state they
    are and others don't so is there anything special about the ones that say
    they are bootable or is it just down to the software that comes with them
    and in that case can any usb drive be made bootable with the right software?
    I bought a imation flash drive the other week and downloaded a linux live
    edition that works with usb but my computer did not appear to try and boot
    it so that is when I looked into other drives and discovered that some say
    they are bootable while others like mine do not.
     
    blanking, Aug 7, 2007
    #1
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  2. blanking

    Greg House Guest

    On Tue, 7 Aug 2007 12:54:40 +1200, "blanking" <blanking@brain> wrote:

    >I had assumed all usb flashdrives were bootable but I see some state they
    >are and others don't so is there anything special about the ones that say
    >they are bootable or is it just down to the software that comes with them
    >and in that case can any usb drive be made bootable with the right software?
    >I bought a imation flash drive the other week and downloaded a linux live
    >edition that works with usb but my computer did not appear to try and boot
    >it so that is when I looked into other drives and discovered that some say
    >they are bootable while others like mine do not.
    >



    The MoBo Bios must have the bootable Option and to be set on..

    So if the Bios does not have that option you are just out of luck..
     
    Greg House, Aug 7, 2007
    #2
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  3. blanking

    Miguel Guest

    On Tue, 07 Aug 2007 12:54:40 +1200, blanking wrote:

    > I had assumed all usb flashdrives were bootable but I see some state
    > they are and others don't so is there anything special about the ones
    > that say they are bootable or is it just down to the software that comes
    > with them and in that case can any usb drive be made bootable with the
    > right software? I bought a imation flash drive the other week and
    > downloaded a linux live edition that works with usb but my computer did
    > not appear to try and boot it so that is when I looked into other drives
    > and discovered that some say they are bootable while others like mine do
    > not.


    Hello blanking....Interesting post. I can't really advise you but, out of
    curiosity, would you mind posting the imation flash drive model number
    and the live linux distro you downloaded. Also would you have a link to
    where you got the "some drives are bootable/non-bootable" information.
    That's the first I've ever heard of it.

    FWIW, if you've a live linux cd you can....

    dd if=/dev/urandom of=/dev/sdb1 bs=128M count=1 && umount /dev/sdb1 &&
    mkfs.vfat -F 32 /dev/sdb1

    .....which will totally trash whatever software is on your flash drive
    assuming it's 128MB and found at /dev/sdb1 (use fdisk -l to find out
    where it is). You can then use System Rescue CD's "Boot from a USB Drive"
    procedure to get what you originally wanted. (Famous last words :)

    Your distro may or may not give permission problems. Some do when live.

    Regards
    Miguel
     
    Miguel, Aug 7, 2007
    #3
  4. In message <f98lg7$c70$>, Miguel wrote:

    > FWIW, if you've a live linux cd you can....
    >
    > dd if=/dev/urandom of=/dev/sdb1 bs=128M count=1 && umount /dev/sdb1 &&
    > mkfs.vfat -F 32 /dev/sdb1
    >
    > ....which will totally trash whatever software is on your flash drive...


    Note that /dev/urandom is returning cryptographically strong random bytes,
    which can take some time. If you just want to quickly wipe the contents,
    substitute /dev/zero instead, which is faster.

    On the other hand, if you're trying to defeat people using forensic tools
    from recovering data from your drive, then by all means
    use /dev/urandom. /dev/random, even. :)
     
    Lawrence D'Oliveiro, Aug 7, 2007
    #4
  5. blanking

    blanking Guest

    "Miguel" <> wrote in message
    news:f98lg7$c70$...
    > On Tue, 07 Aug 2007 12:54:40 +1200, blanking wrote:
    >
    >> I had assumed all usb flashdrives were bootable but I see some state
    >> they are and others don't so is there anything special about the ones
    >> that say they are bootable or is it just down to the software that comes
    >> with them and in that case can any usb drive be made bootable with the
    >> right software? I bought a imation flash drive the other week and
    >> downloaded a linux live edition that works with usb but my computer did
    >> not appear to try and boot it so that is when I looked into other drives
    >> and discovered that some say they are bootable while others like mine do
    >> not.

    >
    > Hello blanking....Interesting post. I can't really advise you but, out of
    > curiosity, would you mind posting the imation flash drive model number
    > and the live linux distro you downloaded. Also would you have a link to
    > where you got the "some drives are bootable/non-bootable" information.
    > That's the first I've ever heard of it.


    It was the first I had heard too, not sure if you understood exactly what I
    meant though, it's just simply that some drives state they are bootable and
    others don't say anything, there was one webpage(did not save the link) I
    read that suggested not all are bootable but it was ambiguous about it so I
    could not really know exactly what they were saying.

    imation 1GB nano drive bought new for $26.
     
    blanking, Aug 7, 2007
    #5
  6. blanking

    blanking Guest

    "Greg House" <> wrote in message
    news:...
    > On Tue, 7 Aug 2007 12:54:40 +1200, "blanking" <blanking@brain> wrote:
    >
    >>I had assumed all usb flashdrives were bootable but I see some state they
    >>are and others don't so is there anything special about the ones that say
    >>they are bootable or is it just down to the software that comes with them
    >>and in that case can any usb drive be made bootable with the right
    >>software?
    >>I bought a imation flash drive the other week and downloaded a linux live
    >>edition that works with usb but my computer did not appear to try and boot
    >>it so that is when I looked into other drives and discovered that some say
    >>they are bootable while others like mine do not.
    >>

    >
    >
    > The MoBo Bios must have the bootable Option and to be set on..
    >
    > So if the Bios does not have that option you are just out of luck..
    >
    >


    Thanks but I knew that already.
     
    blanking, Aug 7, 2007
    #6
  7. blanking

    blanking Guest

    "Lawrence D'Oliveiro" <_zealand> wrote in message
    news:f98lrh$nsr$...
    > In message <f98lg7$c70$>, Miguel wrote:
    >
    >> FWIW, if you've a live linux cd you can....
    >>
    >> dd if=/dev/urandom of=/dev/sdb1 bs=128M count=1 && umount /dev/sdb1 &&
    >> mkfs.vfat -F 32 /dev/sdb1
    >>
    >> ....which will totally trash whatever software is on your flash drive...

    >
    > Note that /dev/urandom is returning cryptographically strong random bytes,
    > which can take some time. If you just want to quickly wipe the contents,
    > substitute /dev/zero instead, which is faster.
    >
    > On the other hand, if you're trying to defeat people using forensic tools
    > from recovering data from your drive, then by all means
    > use /dev/urandom. /dev/random, even. :)


    Thanks but I just wanted to know if you can generally make any usb flash
    drive bootable so I can then load different OS,s as needed, plus I have
    barely used linux at this stage so the stuff you mention is way over my
    head.
     
    blanking, Aug 7, 2007
    #7
  8. In message <46b7dc9b$>, blanking wrote:

    > ... there was one webpage(did not save the
    > link) I read that suggested not all are bootable ...


    I think there is something about the kind of device that the USB drive is
    emulating. I believe there are two different possible modes for this, and
    it could be one works for booting and the other doesn't.

    As I recall, one of the modes was Zip emulation (as in the old Iomega Zip
    drives).
     
    Lawrence D'Oliveiro, Aug 7, 2007
    #8
  9. blanking wrote:
    > I had assumed all usb flashdrives were bootable but I see some state they
    > are and others don't so is there anything special about the ones that say
    > they are bootable or is it just down to the software that comes with them
    > and in that case can any usb drive be made bootable with the right software?
    > I bought a imation flash drive the other week and downloaded a linux live
    > edition that works with usb but my computer did not appear to try and boot
    > it so that is when I looked into other drives and discovered that some say
    > they are bootable while others like mine do not.
    >
    >

    In short yes, but its NOT REALLY THE USB DRIVE THAT DETERMINES THAT,
    (oops, sorry caps) Its the bios.

    --
    Cheers
    Southern Kiwi
    southern_kiwi@*spamsucks*hotmail.com
    Word of wisdom from high in the mountains....you know...like a
    Guru...but not as old....or mystic......or wise....or high... :)
     
    Southern Kiwi, Aug 7, 2007
    #9
  10. blanking

    Jason Rumney Guest

    On 7 Aug, 01:54, "blanking" <blanking@brain> wrote:
    > I had assumed all usb flashdrives were bootable but I see some state they
    > are and others don't so is there anything special about the ones that say
    > they are bootable or is it just down to the software that comes with them
    > and in that case can any usb drive be made bootable with the right software?
    > I bought a imation flash drive the other week and downloaded a linux live
    > edition that works with usb but my computer did not appear to try and boot
    > it so that is when I looked into other drives and discovered that some say
    > they are bootable while others like mine do not.


    You can format any USB drive to be bootable, but some come
    preformatted with two partitions, one of which is bootable (emulates a
    CDROM or floppy) and hidden from Windows so after reformatting it
    remains bootable.
     
    Jason Rumney, Aug 7, 2007
    #10
  11. blanking

    Brian Adams Guest

    On Tue, 07 Aug 2007 08:02:15 -0000, Jason Rumney <>
    wrote:

    >On 7 Aug, 01:54, "blanking" <blanking@brain> wrote:
    >> I had assumed all usb flashdrives were bootable but I see some state they
    >> are and others don't so is there anything special about the ones that say
    >> they are bootable or is it just down to the software that comes with them
    >> and in that case can any usb drive be made bootable with the right software?
    >> I bought a imation flash drive the other week and downloaded a linux live
    >> edition that works with usb but my computer did not appear to try and boot
    >> it so that is when I looked into other drives and discovered that some say
    >> they are bootable while others like mine do not.

    >
    >You can format any USB drive to be bootable, but some come
    >preformatted with two partitions, one of which is bootable (emulates a
    >CDROM or floppy) and hidden from Windows so after reformatting it
    >remains bootable.




    No it does not, if your Bios does not have the option..
     
    Brian Adams, Aug 7, 2007
    #11
  12. blanking

    Brian Adams Guest

    On Tue, 7 Aug 2007 14:43:55 +1200, "blanking" <blanking@brain> wrote:

    >
    >"Miguel" <> wrote in message
    >news:f98lg7$c70$...
    >> On Tue, 07 Aug 2007 12:54:40 +1200, blanking wrote:
    >>
    >>> I had assumed all usb flashdrives were bootable but I see some state
    >>> they are and others don't so is there anything special about the ones
    >>> that say they are bootable or is it just down to the software that comes
    >>> with them and in that case can any usb drive be made bootable with the
    >>> right software? I bought a imation flash drive the other week and
    >>> downloaded a linux live edition that works with usb but my computer did
    >>> not appear to try and boot it so that is when I looked into other drives
    >>> and discovered that some say they are bootable while others like mine do
    >>> not.

    >>
    >> Hello blanking....Interesting post. I can't really advise you but, out of
    >> curiosity, would you mind posting the imation flash drive model number
    >> and the live linux distro you downloaded. Also would you have a link to
    >> where you got the "some drives are bootable/non-bootable" information.
    >> That's the first I've ever heard of it.

    >
    >It was the first I had heard too, not sure if you understood exactly what I
    >meant though, it's just simply that some drives state they are bootable and
    >others don't say anything, there was one webpage(did not save the link) I
    >read that suggested not all are bootable but it was ambiguous about it so I
    >could not really know exactly what they were saying.
    >
    >imation 1GB nano drive bought new for $26.
    >
    >
    >



    Yes my one Works, used the HP USB Format tool and the files from a XP
    formatted Floppy.


    All the HP links seem to not work but this link is ok..

    http://downloads.pcworld.com/pub/new/utilities/peripherals/SP27608.exe


    The Windows Enabler did not work as the Nano was not listed as a bootable Hard
    Drive, but after formatting with the HP Tool id did


    My Bios is a Gigabyte one a few years old now, mobo is (GA-81875 Ultra) but it
    lets you select many drivers ZIP LS120 & 3 USB Devises and has 6 hard drive
    boot options..

    I used the USB Floppy setting as the second boot devise..

    I can use it as a second boot devise and if not selected to defaults to the
    selected hard drive, I have 3 plus a Zip drive and a Seagate USB FreeAgent,
    3 CD Devises and a Floppy..



    Hope this is of help.



    No I could never live with out my Floppy, I have to use it to load Raid
    drivers, XP does not let you select any thing else, Plus make boot disks to
    fix other computers..
     
    Brian Adams, Aug 7, 2007
    #12
  13. blanking

    Nighthawk Guest

    On Tue, 7 Aug 2007 12:54:40 +1200, "blanking" <blanking@brain> wrote:

    >I had assumed all usb flashdrives were bootable but I see some state they
    >are and others don't so is there anything special about the ones that say
    >they are bootable or is it just down to the software that comes with them
    >and in that case can any usb drive be made bootable with the right software?
    >I bought a imation flash drive the other week and downloaded a linux live
    >edition that works with usb but my computer did not appear to try and boot
    >it so that is when I looked into other drives and discovered that some say
    >they are bootable while others like mine do not.
    >

    I have a 256MB Laser Rundisk and tried to make a bootable Linux key
    from it but that didn't work (a version of gparted - no great hand at
    Linux - will keep to the bootable CD version) but I have made it a
    bootable DOS drive with Partition Magic 8 on it, which works fine.
     
    Nighthawk, Aug 7, 2007
    #13
  14. blanking

    blanking Guest

    "Jason Rumney" <> wrote in message
    news:...
    > On 7 Aug, 01:54, "blanking" <blanking@brain> wrote:
    >> I had assumed all usb flashdrives were bootable but I see some state they
    >> are and others don't so is there anything special about the ones that say
    >> they are bootable or is it just down to the software that comes with them
    >> and in that case can any usb drive be made bootable with the right
    >> software?
    >> I bought a imation flash drive the other week and downloaded a linux live
    >> edition that works with usb but my computer did not appear to try and
    >> boot
    >> it so that is when I looked into other drives and discovered that some
    >> say
    >> they are bootable while others like mine do not.

    >
    > You can format any USB drive to be bootable, but some come
    > preformatted with two partitions, one of which is bootable (emulates a
    > CDROM or floppy) and hidden from Windows so after reformatting it
    > remains bootable.
    >


    Thanks a lot, that is what I had suspected. I still would have been much
    better off buying a usb flash device that listed itself as been bootable
    then as it sounds a lot less hassle and better solution than doing it
    yourself, don't have to worry about screwing up the other special functions
    on your drive like security etc...
     
    blanking, Aug 7, 2007
    #14
  15. blanking

    blanking Guest

    "Brian Adams" <> wrote in message
    news:...
    > On Tue, 7 Aug 2007 14:43:55 +1200, "blanking" <blanking@brain> wrote:
    >
    >>
    >>"Miguel" <> wrote in message
    >>news:f98lg7$c70$...
    >>> On Tue, 07 Aug 2007 12:54:40 +1200, blanking wrote:
    >>>
    >>>> I had assumed all usb flashdrives were bootable but I see some state
    >>>> they are and others don't so is there anything special about the ones
    >>>> that say they are bootable or is it just down to the software that
    >>>> comes
    >>>> with them and in that case can any usb drive be made bootable with the
    >>>> right software? I bought a imation flash drive the other week and
    >>>> downloaded a linux live edition that works with usb but my computer did
    >>>> not appear to try and boot it so that is when I looked into other
    >>>> drives
    >>>> and discovered that some say they are bootable while others like mine
    >>>> do
    >>>> not.
    >>>
    >>> Hello blanking....Interesting post. I can't really advise you but, out
    >>> of
    >>> curiosity, would you mind posting the imation flash drive model number
    >>> and the live linux distro you downloaded. Also would you have a link to
    >>> where you got the "some drives are bootable/non-bootable" information.
    >>> That's the first I've ever heard of it.

    >>
    >>It was the first I had heard too, not sure if you understood exactly what
    >>I
    >>meant though, it's just simply that some drives state they are bootable
    >>and
    >>others don't say anything, there was one webpage(did not save the link) I
    >>read that suggested not all are bootable but it was ambiguous about it so
    >>I
    >>could not really know exactly what they were saying.
    >>
    >>imation 1GB nano drive bought new for $26.
    >>
    >>
    >>

    >
    >
    > Yes my one Works, used the HP USB Format tool and the files from a XP
    > formatted Floppy.
    >
    >
    > All the HP links seem to not work but this link is ok..
    >
    > http://downloads.pcworld.com/pub/new/utilities/peripherals/SP27608.exe
    >
    >
    > The Windows Enabler did not work as the Nano was not listed as a bootable
    > Hard
    > Drive, but after formatting with the HP Tool id did
    >
    >
    > My Bios is a Gigabyte one a few years old now, mobo is (GA-81875 Ultra)
    > but it
    > lets you select many drivers ZIP LS120 & 3 USB Devises and has 6 hard
    > drive
    > boot options..
    >
    > I used the USB Floppy setting as the second boot devise..
    >
    > I can use it as a second boot devise and if not selected to defaults to
    > the
    > selected hard drive, I have 3 plus a Zip drive and a Seagate USB
    > FreeAgent,
    > 3 CD Devises and a Floppy..
    >
    >
    >
    > Hope this is of help.
    >


    Helps heaps, thanks a lot, couldn't have asked for a better answer with you
    having the same device etc..., awesome.
     
    blanking, Aug 7, 2007
    #15
  16. blanking

    Brian Adams Guest

    On Wed, 8 Aug 2007 10:51:48 +1200, "blanking" <blanking@brain> wrote:

    >
    >"Brian Adams" <> wrote in message
    >news:...
    >> On Tue, 7 Aug 2007 14:43:55 +1200, "blanking" <blanking@brain> wrote:
    >>
    >>>
    >>>"Miguel" <> wrote in message
    >>>news:f98lg7$c70$...
    >>>> On Tue, 07 Aug 2007 12:54:40 +1200, blanking wrote:
    >>>>
    >>>>> I had assumed all usb flashdrives were bootable but I see some state
    >>>>> they are and others don't so is there anything special about the ones
    >>>>> that say they are bootable or is it just down to the software that
    >>>>> comes
    >>>>> with them and in that case can any usb drive be made bootable with the
    >>>>> right software? I bought a imation flash drive the other week and
    >>>>> downloaded a linux live edition that works with usb but my computer did
    >>>>> not appear to try and boot it so that is when I looked into other
    >>>>> drives
    >>>>> and discovered that some say they are bootable while others like mine
    >>>>> do
    >>>>> not.
    >>>>
    >>>> Hello blanking....Interesting post. I can't really advise you but, out
    >>>> of
    >>>> curiosity, would you mind posting the imation flash drive model number
    >>>> and the live linux distro you downloaded. Also would you have a link to
    >>>> where you got the "some drives are bootable/non-bootable" information.
    >>>> That's the first I've ever heard of it.
    >>>
    >>>It was the first I had heard too, not sure if you understood exactly what
    >>>I
    >>>meant though, it's just simply that some drives state they are bootable
    >>>and
    >>>others don't say anything, there was one webpage(did not save the link) I
    >>>read that suggested not all are bootable but it was ambiguous about it so
    >>>I
    >>>could not really know exactly what they were saying.
    >>>
    >>>imation 1GB nano drive bought new for $26.
    >>>
    >>>
    >>>

    >>
    >>
    >> Yes my one Works, used the HP USB Format tool and the files from a XP
    >> formatted Floppy.
    >>
    >>
    >> All the HP links seem to not work but this link is ok..
    >>
    >> http://downloads.pcworld.com/pub/new/utilities/peripherals/SP27608.exe
    >>
    >>
    >> The Windows Enabler did not work as the Nano was not listed as a bootable
    >> Hard
    >> Drive, but after formatting with the HP Tool id did
    >>
    >>
    >> My Bios is a Gigabyte one a few years old now, mobo is (GA-81875 Ultra)
    >> but it
    >> lets you select many drivers ZIP LS120 & 3 USB Devises and has 6 hard
    >> drive
    >> boot options..
    >>
    >> I used the USB Floppy setting as the second boot devise..
    >>
    >> I can use it as a second boot devise and if not selected to defaults to
    >> the
    >> selected hard drive, I have 3 plus a Zip drive and a Seagate USB
    >> FreeAgent,
    >> 3 CD Devises and a Floppy..
    >>
    >>
    >>
    >> Hope this is of help.
    >>

    >
    >Helps heaps, thanks a lot, couldn't have asked for a better answer with you
    >having the same device etc..., awesome.
    >


    As I have the same stick I thought I would give it a go.

    Never ever tried it before but did some searches on the Net and found a few
    answers, all the links to the HP Tool did not work and the Windows Enabler
    that lets you select the Boot info in the format, but would not let the stick
    boot, but the boot files were on there.

    So some 6 hours later and a bit of pissing around with my Bios settings it
    worked..

    Windows Enabler did setup the Volume Label so might test that again as it was
    very late when I finished.
     
    Brian Adams, Aug 8, 2007
    #16
  17. blanking

    Jason Rumney Guest

    On 7 Aug, 23:49, "blanking" <blanking@brain> wrote:
    > "Jason Rumney" <> wrote in message
    >
    > > You can format any USB drive to be bootable, but some come
    > > preformatted with two partitions, one of which is bootable (emulates a
    > > CDROM or floppy) and hidden from Windows so after reformatting it
    > > remains bootable.

    >
    > Thanks a lot, that is what I had suspected.


    Actually I may be wrong - I checked up on the USB drives I was
    thinking of (U3), and it appears the extra partition is to fool
    Windows autorun into working, not for booting.

    Perhaps the devices advertised as bootable come with the system files
    already on them (which they'd lose if you formatted them). Otherwise,
    I don't know what would be different.
     
    Jason Rumney, Aug 8, 2007
    #17
  18. blanking

    Gordon Guest

    On Tue, 07 Aug 2007 14:47:19 +1200, blanking wrote:

    > Thanks but I just wanted to know if you can generally make any usb flash
    > drive bootable so I can then load different OS,s as needed, plus I have
    > barely used linux at this stage so the stuff you mention is way over my
    > head.


    FFS, back up the time line. Make things easier on yourself. Either grab
    that smaller HD you have in storage or put Linux on your HD and dual
    boot. Ms Penguin has just waved a fish slice right at me, at very close
    range.

    Once again it never fails to amaze me how people new to Linux, try to
    keep up with Ms Penguin in the water.
     
    Gordon, Aug 10, 2007
    #18
  19. blanking

    Gordon Guest

    On Tue, 07 Aug 2007 17:18:44 +1200, Southern Kiwi wrote:

    > blanking wrote:
    >> I had assumed all usb flashdrives were bootable but I see some state
    >> they are and others don't so is there anything special about the ones
    >> that say they are bootable or is it just down to the software that
    >> comes with them and in that case can any usb drive be made bootable
    >> with the right software? I bought a imation flash drive the other week
    >> and downloaded a linux live edition that works with usb but my computer
    >> did not appear to try and boot it so that is when I looked into other
    >> drives and discovered that some say they are bootable while others like
    >> mine do not.
    >>
    >>

    > In short yes, but its NOT REALLY THE USB DRIVE THAT DETERMINES THAT,
    > (oops, sorry caps) Its the bios.


    Lazy chap you are mate! Or is that you BABYMASH, somewhat reformed.?
     
    Gordon, Aug 10, 2007
    #19
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