Why won't my Flashdrive or USB Hard Drive boot?
Contents

Alternate Methods Available

Introduction

Downloading Instructions

Instructions

More Details on Using the Empty Image Files

Alternate Methods Available

The methods used on this page are the original methods devloped. Using Vista's DISKPART program or using Grub4DOS to create a bootable drive offer simpler solutions.

Using Vista's DISKPART Program to Create a Bootable Flashdrive

Using Grub4DOS to Create a Bootable Drive

Introduction

Further testing of the procedure has found that Acronis Media Builder does not always write the MBR to the Flashdrive during its creation. This results in a Flashdrive that will not boot and any image created from it and restored to a USB hard drive will also not boot.

To try and rectify this problem, I have created several "empty" images that can be restored directly to either a USB Flashdrive or a USB hard drive. The images contain the MBR, the boot sector and an empty ACRONIS partition.

The Guide referenced on this page can be found here.
Downloading Instructions

Right-click on the link and select "Save target as..." to download the version you want. If you're not sure which one to use, try them starting with #1. Some computers may boot better with one partition format than the other. It depends on how the BIOS is setup. There is more information on this in the Appendix of the Guide. Older computers that have a BIOS setting to boot the USB-ZIP format may work better with those images than with the USB-HDD images.

Download
1. FAT32 125MB Image USB-HDD Format -- Based on PEtoUSB
2. FAT16 125MB Image USB-HDD Format -- Based on PEtoUSB
3. FAT32 256MB Image USB-ZIP Format -- Based on Syslinux
4. FAT16 256MB Image USB-ZIP Format -- Based on Syslinux
IMPORTANT: After you download any of these files (or when saving the download), change the filename extension to .TIB (these are not .ZIP files, the files just didn't download correctly from Internet Explorer with the .TIB extension).
Instructions
  1. Download the Image File.
  2. Rename the Image File extension to .TIB (if not done during the download).
  3. Plug the USB Flashdrive into your computer.
  4. Use True Image to Restore the Image to your Flashdrive (if using TI 9, see note below). This should be an Entire Disk Image Restore, so check the Disk # checkbox and make sure the MBR and Track 0 are included. CAUTION: This will erase everything on the Flashdrive.
  5. Once the Restore is finished, you may get a message stating you need to reboot the computer to complete the restore. If you do, then proceed with 5.a, otherwise skip to 5.b.
    1. Press the button to reboot. Wait until Windows has shut down and remove the Flashdrive (don't let the computer boot up with the Flashdrive plugged in). Once Windows has restarted, plug the Flashdrive back in. If it doesn't automatically show up in My Computer, go to Disk Management and assign a drive letter to it. This seems to happen more when restoring the USB-ZIP images.
    2. Eject/Safely Remove the Flashdrive. Wait about ten seconds and plug it back it. This will force Windows to recognize the Flashdrive in its new format.
  6. Run Acronis Media Builder, selecting the Flashdrive as the destination device.
  7. Once Media Builder has finished, Eject/Safely Remove the Flashdrive.
  8. Shutdown the computer.
  9. Plug in the Flashdrive and restart the computer.
  10. Enter the BIOS and make sure the Flashdrive is the booting device. Save the changes (if necessary) and reboot.
  11. The Flashdrive should boot into the Acronis menu.

To create a bootable USB Hard Drive you still need to have the Flashdrive processed by Media Builder. This is because you need to copy the Acronis files from the Flashdrive to the ACRONIS partition on the USB Hard Drive.

From this point you can continue with the Guide at Step 4 or you can do the following:

  1. Use True Image to Restore the downloaded Image File to the USB Hard Drive (this will erase everything on the USB Hard Drive). This should be an Entire Disk Image Restore, so check the Disk # checkbox and make sure the MBR and Track 0 are included. (If asked to reboot, follow step 5.a above, substituting the USB Hard Drive for the Flashdrive in the instructions.)
  2. Copy the files from the Flashdrive created above to the ACRONIS partition on the USB Hard Drive.
  3. Continue with the Guide at Step 6 to create the NTFS partition on the USB Hard Drive.
  4. The USB Hard Drive should be bootable and ready to use.
More Details on Using the Empty Image Files

The image file can be restored to either a USB flashdrive or a USB hard drive. The image files should restore correctly with True Image 9 (build 3,677 or later) or True Image 10 (any build).

When running version 9 from Windows, if it doesn't see the flashdrive as a valid restore location, you will most likely have to boot into the Full Mode or Safe Mode of True Image (using the TI CD) to do the restore. If this is required, make sure the flashdrive is plugged in before you boot the TI CD. If you only want a bootable USB hard drive and don't care about being able to boot the flashdrive, then you can skip this step since, in this case, all you need are the files put on the flashdrive by Acronis Media Builder.

The image should be restored as an Entire Disk Image (check the Disk # checkbox; both the "MBR and Track 0" and the "ACRONIS" partition should be selected) if not resizing the ACRONIS partition (this is the recommended procedure). If resizing, then select the ACRONIS partition first, resize to what you want, proceed through the wizard, select to restore another partition, select the MBR and proceed to restore the image. Just to be clear: Both the MBR and the ACRONIS partition need to be restored for the image to work properly.

If restored to a hard drive (without a resize) the partition size will be 125MB and the remainder of the drive will be unallocated space.

If restored to a flashdrive the image will fill the entire flashdrive. This seems to be a "quirk" with how Windows allows flashdrives to be formatted (Windows only allows one partition on a flashdrive). If this is a problem, you may be able to resize the partition during the restore process. However, you will not be able to create another partition in the remaining unallocated space using Windows.

After the restore, copy the files from the flashdrive (the one created with Acronis Media Builder in Step 3 of the Guide) to the ACRONIS partition on the USB hard drive.

Finally, if restored to a USB hard drive, use Windows Disk Management (or another partitioning program) to create an NTFS partition in the remaining unallocated space (Step 6 in the Guide).

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