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How to use RMPrepUSB to prepare a bootable USB flash drive
Published Date : 27 May 2009   Last Updated : 30 Apr 2012   Content Ref: TEC1434450  





Requirements

  • RMPrepUSB.exe
  • RMPartUSB.exe
  • MSVBVM60.dll 
    (See the Other Useful Articles section below for a download of these utilities).
  • A Microsoft® Windows XP/Vista/Server 2003/Server 2008 system.

The version of RMPrepUSB should match that of RMPartUSB.


If you are running RMPrepUSB on aVista or on a Windows 7 computer, right-click on the file and choose 'Run as Administrator'.



Procedure

RMPrepUSB provides a user-friendly graphical user interface for the command line utility RMPartUSB. It can be used to partition, format, make bootable and copy files to any USB flash memory device (UFD).
 

Important note: All data on any USB drive selected will be destroyed.

  • If you require a UFD to boot as a large floppy drive (USB-ZIP emulation), then FAT16+ZIP or FAT16+64\32 or FAT16+FDD is recommended (e.g. MS-DOS/FreeDOS/CC3 build).
  • If you require a UFD to boot as a hard disk (USB-HDD emulation), then FAT32+2PTNS is recommended (e.g. WinPE/CC4 build).
  • Do not use the image copy function of RMPrepUSB v2 until you have a working UFD. The ImageToUSB function overwrites all formatting options set in RMPrepUSB and replaces the entire contents of the UFD with your image.

Preparing a CC3 UFD build disk (use ZIP option or FDD option)
  1. Prepare a CC3 floppy build disk in the normal way.
  2. Copy the entire contents of the floppy disk (including all hidden, system and read-only files) to a local folder.
  3. Run RMPrepUSB.exe (v2) (Run as Administrator if running on Vista\Win7 or you will receive an error) and select the UFD from the drop-down list.
  4. Ensure the UFD is reported as a Removable device - if not, use Bootit.exe (Flip Removable Bit) to attempt to change the device type to a Removable device (click on Help for details).
  5. Select the 2nd option (MS-DOS Bootable).
  6. Tick either the USB-ZIP or USB-FDD box (try the other if the first is unsuccessful)
  7. Do not tick the 2PTNS checkbox.
  8. Change the Volume label if desired.
  9. Click on the Choose Folder button and select the folder you saved the floppy disk contents to in step 2 above.
  10. Ensure the check-box next to the Choose Folder button is ticked.
  11. Click on the Prepare Drive button and follow the prompts.
  RMPrepUSB settings for CC3 build disk (v1.9.75)

For maximum compatibility, use a 512MB MiniSafe Pro or a 512MB Lexar Jumpdrive. Other types (eg Kingston Data Traveller) or larger sizes (eg 1GB) may not work on older systems (eg MX46) even if formatted as 512MB.

It is recommended to try both a 1GB and a 512MB USB drive - one may work where the other does not! This is due to the way a BIOS will emulate USB drive access in a different way depending on the size of the drive (HDD or ZIP emulation).

Some systems will allow you to boot from a FAT32 formatted UFD as long as you set the BIOS emulation option to 'Removable' so that it boots as drive A: and not C:.

 

BIOS Settings for CC3 build disk booting

  1. Insert the UFD into the target system.
    Note: on many systems this MUST be done before you enter the BIOS menu.
  2. Switch on the system and enter the BIOS configuration menu.
  3. Enable USB booting.
  4. Enable USB legacy mode (sometimes referred to as USB Keyboard or USB legacy Kbd).
  5. Change the boot order so that the hard disk is booted to after any USB device (eg USB First).
  6. Set the BIOS USB Emulation option to 'Removable Drive', 'ZIP' or 'All removable'.
  7. If the UFD is recognised but booting fails, try setting the BIOS USB speed to a slower USB 1 speed.

Preparing a CC4 bootable UFD (use 2PTNS option)
  1. Run RMPrepUSB.exe and select the UFD from the drop-down list.
  2. Select the 1st option (Winpe/Vista bootable).
  3. Change the Volume label if desired.
  4. Tick the FAT32 checkbox.
  5. Tick the 'Boot as HDD (2PTNS)' option (v1.9.75 and above).
  6. Click on the Choose Folder button and select the CC4 build disk folder on the CC4 server where you prepared the build image (not the iso file build).
    Creating a CC4 Build Disk Folder
    RM have provided a default build disk image that you can use (but which may not contain all the required network drivers for your systems), or you can create your own. The RM Management Console, Computers, Build, Build Disks option enables you to generate build disk images that can be used for creating physical build disks or a build disk folder.
    Once you have created your build disk, the build disk folders are normally located at \\servername\BuildDisks. Select the appropriate folder for use with your UFD. It should contain several files (e.g. bootmgr) and several folders (e.g. \boot, \sources, etc). See DWN1254392 in Other Useful Articles below for more details.
  7. Ensure the check box next to the Choose Folder button is ticked.
  8. Click the Prepare Drive button and follow the prompts.

If the UFD is reported as a 'Removable device' by RMPrepUSB and booting is unsuccessful, try using Bootit.exe (Flip Removable Bit button) to attempt to change the device type to a 'Removable device' (click on Help for details about BootIt.exe).

Note: Many systems will boot to WinPE if the UFD is set to a 'Fixed disk' type. BootIt will work on RM MiniSafe Pro and Lexar UFDs (and maybe some others).

 

BIOS Settings for CC4 build disk booting

  1. Insert the UFD into the target system.
    Note: On many systems this must be done before you enter the BIOS menu).
  2. Switch on the system and enter the BIOS configuration menu.
  3. Enable USB booting.
  4. Enable USB legacy mode (sometimes referred to as USB Keyboard or USB legacy Kbd).
  5. Change the boot order so that the hard disk is booted to after any USB device (eg USB First).
  6. Set the USB Emulation option to Hard Disk, HDD or All Fixed Disk.
  7. If the UFD is recognised but booting fails, try setting the BIOS USB speed to a slower USB 1 speed.

Tip: If the BIOS lists the UFD as a 'Removable Device', try switching off the system and switching it on again before altering the BIOS Menu. It may be recognised as a 'Fixed Disk' the next time.



Checks

Boot files

Ensure that the correct boot files are present on the UFD.

 

MS-DOS  boot files (CC3):

  • IO.SYS
  • MSDOS.SYS
  • COMMAND.COM

Below is a list of common causes and their effects:

  • No \command.com file causes an error message of "The following file is missing or corrupted: COMMAND.COM".
  • No \io.sys file causes an error message of "Invalid system disk".
  • No \msdos.sys file - various options will be visible at bottom of screen (eg F5=Safe mode and  Shift+F5=Command prompt).

WinPE \Vista boot files (CC4):

  • BOOTMGR
  • SOURCES\BOOT.WIM
  • BOOT folder
  • EFI folder

Below is a list of common errors and their causes:

  • No \EFI folder causes an error of a flashing cursor on black screen.
  • No \Bootmgr causes an error message of  "BOOTMGR is missing".
  • No \Sources\Boot.wim causes an error message of  "Status: 0xc000000f  Info: The boot selection failed because a required device is inaccessible".
  • No Boot folder  causes an error message of  "File: \Boot\BCD     Status: 0xc000000f    Info: An error occurred while attempting to read the boot configuration data".
  • Build Control.xml file not found  causes an error message of  "Control file not found on optical medium".

The folders/files should be visible in Microsoft® Windows Explorer® if you have 'Show hidden files and folders' ticked and 'Hide protected operating system files' unticked.

When copying boot files using Windows Explorer, ensure you copy all files, including the hidden files by setting the folder options as above.



Possible Issues

Testing for incompatibilities

If you find that some UFDs will boot, but a different size or type will not, or that some PCs BIOSes will boot from one UFD but a different PC BIOS will not, this will be due to several factors:

  1. The BIOS used on the mainboard (try the latest version from RM).
  2. The BIOS Menu settings (e.g. Fixed Disk or Removable Device).
  3. The way the UFD has been partitioned and formatted.
  4. The UFD total capacity (not partition size but total size of the device).

Items 2, 3 and 4 can be varied. To find the best solution, follow these steps:

  1. Obtain four UFDs, 2 x 512MB and 2 x 1GB (RM MiniSafe Pro or Lexar JumpDrive recommended).
  2. Format one 512MB and one 1GB drive using RMPrepUSB as FAT32 (add 2PTNS if a CC4 UFD).
  3. Format the other 512MB and 1GB UFDs using RMPrepUSB as FAT16+ZIP for CC3 (or use 64/32+2PTNS if a CC4 UFD).  Tip: Also try USB-FDD if you are using RMPrepUSB v2.
  4. Try all four UFDs on each different type of system (if available change the BIOS USB drive type from Removable to Fixed Disk.

 Name                  BIOS set to boot USB as Fixed Disk                   BIOS set to boot USB as Removable Device
 of PC  512MB_FAT16   512MB_FAT32   1GB_FAT16  1GB_FAT32            512MB_FAT16    512MB_FAT32  1GB_FAT16  1GB_FAT32
                 
                 
                 
                 
                 
                 
                 
                 
                 


If you are still unsuccessful, repeat all 8 tests after using BootIt.exe utility to change all four devices to be a Hard Disk type of UFD (CC4 UFDs only). The non-RM BootIt.exe can be found by searching the Web. This utility only works on a limited number of UFDs (including RM MiniSafe Pro and Lexar UFDs). You only need to select the device and click on the 'Flip Removable Bit' button - then close the application and remove and re-insert the UFD.

Notes:
All RM computers manufactured in January 2008 or later will boot from a CC4 bootable UFD (WinPE v2).
Computers manufactured before this date may or may not be capable of booting to a CC4 UFD.  Known mainboards that do not boot to a normal  CC4 UFD include D915GUX, D865GLC and MX46. However, RM do have alternative methods for installing the CC4 build environment from a bootable UFD. Please raise a support call for advice.


All RM computers manufactured after approx 2003 are capable of booting from at least one type of MS-DOS CC3 UFD (either using a 512MB RM MiniSafe Pro, or an RM NTU208 USB-FDD UFD 1GB, aka Netac U207, with the side switch set to 1.44MB FDD position which appears to Windows just like a 1.44Mb USB Floppy drive+disk).

 



More Information

How to have different versions for different UFDs or workstations

RMPrepUSB remembers your options and folder settings when you click the Exit button. The settings are stored in the Registry against the program name. You may find that you need to use different options for different systems, different models or sizes of UFD or different Connect build disks (e.g. CC3/CC4).

For instance, you may want RMPrepUSB to remember the settings for a CC3 build disk but remember different settings for a CC4 build disk.To do this, simply copy the file RMPrepUSB.exe and then rename it to a different name (e.g. RMPrepCC3.exe). When you run RMPrepCC3.exe and change the settings and then click Exit, the settings will be remembered for that program name. If you repeat the copy process for RMPrepCC4.exe, you can now quickly format a UFD as either a CC3 or CC4 boot disk without needing to remember the settings you used previously by selecting the correct .exe file.

If you find that some workstations require a certain set of options in RMPrepUSB, but other workstations require a different setting, copy and rename the RMPrepUSB.exe accordingly - e.g. RMPrepAscend2040CC3MiniSafe1GB.exe.



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Document Keywords: boot pen drive, thumb drive, usb drive, CLient Connect 3, Client connect 4, windows PE, pre-installation environment, prepusb, usbprep, rmusbprep, rmprep, rm prep,


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