A man will die, but not his ideas.

Friday, March 03, 2006

And it boots...

I've been thinking about it for quite a while now. Finally, I decided to go ahead and give it a try. Worked like a charm. Ladies and gentlemen, I can now officially declare floppy disk drives obsolete. After all, who needs a bootable floppy or even a bootable CD when you can now boot from your USB flash drive!

I have to admit, it wasn't that much a surprise. But seeing it in action and booting my system to the command prompt was really a nice experience. There is nothing new about it. All you need is a motherboard with a BIOS capable of booting from a USB device, a bootable CD, and a utility for manipulating partitions (fdisk will do). I followed the steps found here and voila, I was able to boot my PC using my 256 MB USB flash drive to a DOS prompt.

After the successful boot I wanted to check that everything was OK and the stick could be identified normally within Windows XP. After XP started everything seemed to be going well until I opened My Computer. What?! The USB device appears in the task bar, but where in the world is the drive? After some thinking and a couple of Googling, it hit me. Could it be related to the mapped network drives from my brother's PC? Well, sure thing, after disconnecting the first network drive my flash drive appeared in its place. According to this Microsoft article, the reason is this:

"When you install a new device or volume, Mount Manager, which assigns drive letters to volumes, does not recognize the mapped network drive and assigns the next available drive letter to the new device or volume. This causes a collision with the existing mapped network drive."

Oh well, let's re-map all those partitions again. Now all that remains is to add an autoexec.bat and a config.sys with some real-mode CD-ROM drivers (and maybe some other utilities like Norton Commander and Partition Magic) to the USB stick and I would have a USB flash drive the can be used to diagnose and troubleshoot problems on modern PCs. You can even install Windows XP on it. Man, technology bites...

What? You hate anything that has to do with Microsoft. Me too. No problem, check this out or use a small disro like Damn Small Linux (DSL).

Posted by A :: 2:01 AM :: 0 Comments:

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