Boot from USB drives

Discussion in 'Acronis Disk Director Suite' started by AsparaGus, Jun 8, 2006.

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  1. AsparaGus

    AsparaGus Registered Member

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    Before I bought Disk Director 10, I was attempting to create a multiple boot system, by slicing up the internal HD and had problems. I tried restoring images of the installed OSs which worked independently (except for Windows ME) and tried using the OSSelector - no joy :( so I decided to abandon that attempt.

    My next thought was to use external USB connected Drives for my alternate operating systems. o_O Is this possible?
    If so, how?
     
  2. crash79`

    crash79` Registered Member

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    The only program I know -and use- is ExBoot, but, it is expensive.
    It is essential that the motherboard supports USB bootable drives.
    John
     
  3. Acronis Support

    Acronis Support Acronis Support Staff

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  4. AsparaGus

    AsparaGus Registered Member

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    Thanks, but as usual after visiting the MSKB I feel stupider than when I started.
    The article seems to be thinking of booting from a CD or Flash drive which I know is possible with some Linux (I've done it myself with SuSe and Knoppix running from CD or as it seems to called now a Live CD.) What I'd like to do is create bootable partitions on a larger external drive (250GB) that I could use to create tutorials and screenshots and for testing betaware.

    Presently, it is too much bother to spend 45 minutes to 2 hours installing (and patching) Windows ME for the sake of getting differences in the GUI. I'd like to have it with a Windows XP Home and a Windows XP Professional as choices for me to boot into - I'd prefer to have one of the XPs dedicated to testing betas, so that I could leave it in place and boot to my working copy without using a VM or System Restore or fallback to an image.

    To be fair, an OS installed on a USB hard drive is nearly a separate computer and will give the legal departments an ulcer over the potential for piracy. One machine, one OS, one license. Currently, I have 3 Windows licenses for this one machine, but I have been unable to put them onto the internal 40GB drive (except done serially - wipe disk and install #1, wipe disk and install #2, wipe disk and install #3.) I even attempted to shrink and hide partitions with limited success.
     
  5. Acronis Support

    Acronis Support Acronis Support Staff

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    Hello AsparaGus,

    Acronis Disk Director Suite 10.0 can help you in this. You can create a copy of the existing primary partition where you have Windows ME installed and choose you external USB hard drive as a storage of this partition copy.But you should be aware that Acronis Disk Director does not copy the MBR of a hard drive during this operation and you will need toperform the MBR fixing in order to make this external USB drive bootable.

    Here is the sequence of actions which you will need to perform:
    - copy the primary partition to your external USB drive using Acronis Disk Director Suite installed within Windows or booting it from Acronis Bootable Rescue Media;
    - reboot the computer, enter the BIOS and change the boot sequence in the following way:
    first boot device - CD(DVD)-ROM;
    second boot device - external USB drive;
    ..
    - boot from Windows Me Startup Disk (floppy) and run "fdisk /mbr" command in order to make this operating system bootable.

    After that you should be able to boot this operating system from the external USB drive.

    Thank you.
    --
    Kirill Omelchenko
     
  6. Longboard

    Longboard Registered Member

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    @Aspara Gus and Acronis support:

    I saw this post and the reply with great interest.
    I would defer to Acronis support on their specific applications.
    I dont use Acronis products.

    There is increasing confusion about booting from USB devices arising.
    It is difficult as USB devices are proliferating for all options and there are very good USB>EIDE connectors available.

    Many winboxes and laptops have seemingly abandoned floppy drives as an option. Many lightweight laptops have no built in optical drives.
    Some times people are using USB connected floppies and/or opticals as well as USB flash devices.

    Try here for some set-up options and know how:
    http://www.tomshardware.com/2005/09/09/windows_in_your_pocket/index.html
    http://www.bootcd.us/index.php
    http://www.google.com/search?q=bart pe builder usb
    http://www.google.com/search?q=xp bootable usb
    http://www.weethet.nl/english/hardware_bootfromusbstick.php
    http://www.informationweek.com/windows/showArticle.jhtml?articleID=177102101

    The option as above from Acronis Support sounds like a good one to maintain a seperate OS partition.

    In fact if it works as suggested with a mutiboot into various USB drives, you could as you note have literally several different computers on your various external HDs.

    From my experience, the critical point is whether your BIOS supports booting from USB drive/port and/or how the BIOS and boot management will recognise what external drive you have attached.

    My boot/partition manager recognises my USB external drive as an extra HD, this might not be the case in the bios if I tried to boot into into it.
    I should probably give it a try.

    The "live" linux CDs I cannot comment on.

    I hope this is of interest.

    Regards.
     
    Last edited: Jun 13, 2006
  7. Longboard

    Longboard Registered Member

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    @Acronis support:

    Been thinking about your previous post in reply to OT:

    Presumptively the user could have multiple OSs on multiple USBs if he wanted?

    Do you mean fdisk/mbr needs to be run on each "USB boot disc/partition" that you are trying to boot into each time you boot or just once on each boot partition then reorder BIOS or boot.ini. ?

    Or do you have another way to make the partition active?

    This opens some possibilities!

    I could be way off target here o_O

    Regards.
     
  8. Acronis Support

    Acronis Support Acronis Support Staff

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    Hello Longboard,

    Thank you for your interest in Acronis Partition and Disk Managing Software.

    Yes, it is possible to have multiple operating systems on an external USB drive too.

    Fixmbr (fdisk/mbr) needs to be run on the hard drive only, because a hard drive has only one master boot record. Yes, you have several system partitions on the same hard drive and when you boot into Windows Recovery Console you can choose what operating system you want to operate with. But you should note the if you perform MBR fixing for every partition then the MBR will be overwritten every time. You should fix it only at once.

    After that you will need to add the appropriate changes in the boot.ini file on the partition which you have applied the fixmbr command to. This will allow you to access all the other operating systems as well.

    Thank you.
    --
    Kirill Omelchenko
     
  9. Longboard

    Longboard Registered Member

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    Thankyou. :thumb:
    Lbd.

    Now; do you have a list of mobo/bios that support USB booting? :)
     
  10. Acronis Support

    Acronis Support Acronis Support Staff

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    Hello Longboard,

    I'm afraid that we do not have a list of such BIOS models at the moment. Probably it will be available in future, but the exact time frame is not decided yet.

    Thank you.
    --
    Kirill Omelchenko
     
  11. crash79`

    crash79` Registered Member

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    The motherboard I have which has USB Bootable is as quoted from the installation disk is: ASRock IVE 10B version 1.ob (15G00X027001AK)
    Hope this helps.
    John
     
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