What's the simple way to make a flash drive that can be used to rescue Windows platforms?

Discussion in 'Windows 7 Help and Support' started by KCav, Aug 2, 2012.

  1. KCav

    KCav Senior Member

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    I have 4 PCs running Windows. I make image files of the system partition of each one and store the image files on a USB hard drive. I would like to create a flash drive that can be used on any of the PCs and which boots to a menu. From the menu I would like to select the appropriate image file for the PC and be able to restore it from the external hard drive to the internal hard drive.

    Recently MSE detected a virus on one of the PCs but could not remove it. So I downloaded Windows Defender Offline, then I downloaded software to unpack WDO and was able to install WDO on a flash drive. I ran WDO from the flash drive and it too detected but did not remove the virus. I had to make a fresh install. I downloaded an ISO of Windows 7 Ultimate 32-bit and installed it on a Flash drive. Then I reinstalled Windows and began updating. These tasks took a week. I do not want to go through this agaiin. Can someone help me find a simple wat to boot from a flash drive an install an image file.

    Two of the PCs run Windows 7 Ultimate 32-bit, the other two run Windows XP Professional 32-bit. All have Seagate hard drives and the external USB hard drive is made by Seagate. I would like to have diagnostic tools on the Flash drive that I could use to diagnose problems and I would like to be able to repartiotion the hard drives. What software should I use? Right now the PC which had the virus has a 320 GB SATA. i would like to create 2 logical drives on it. By having a seperate drive for system files I could have a smaller image file of the system partition that would consum less storage space, and I could clean the drive and degragment it, and back it faster. What software should I use to partition the drive?

    I bet that someone with more experience than I can tell me the bets way to do these things. Would appreciate your help. Its been a frustrating week.
     
  2. MikeHawthorne

    MikeHawthorne Essential Member
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    Hi

    You can partition the drive in Windows 7 using Disk Manager, it's pretty easy to do.

    Create and format a hard disk partition

    Windows 7 will also create a bootable disk, in system backup, I don't know of any reason that you can't put the files on a USB stick if you have your computers set to boot from it.

    Create a system repair disc

    And...

    How to create a bootable Windows 7 USB flash drive | Ars Technica

    That's would take care of the Windows 7 computers.

    For Windows XP I'm a little rusty but I think you will have to use a backup program that will create the backup and the disk, like Acronis True Image, (It may create a bootable USB stick, but I'm not sure).

    That seems to be the most popular one around here, (it's what I use) and of course you can use it for both versions of Windows.

    Complete hard disk recovery solution, backup, drive copy, clone and image computer software

    Mike
     
  3. KCav

    KCav Senior Member

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    I agree with Thee, using Windows 7 Disk Manager I shrunk the hard drive in my netbook and then made a logical drive out of the unallocated space.

    Now Disk 0 is partitioned into Sys (C) 87.89 GB NTFS and Data (D) 210.10 GB NTFS. However, there is 101 MB unallocated. Is there a way to combine this space with the Data (D) partition?

    KC
     
    #3 KCav, Aug 5, 2012
    Last edited: Aug 5, 2012
  4. MikeHawthorne

    MikeHawthorne Essential Member
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    Hi

    The 101 megabyte partition is probably the part of the drive, reserved by Windows for boot data etc.
    On my computer it's exactly 100 megabytes, and shows as System Reserved.

    It could also be space reserved by the manufacturer on a lap top, with backup files though it seems too small for that.

    You should just leave it, it's a very small amount of space anyway.

    Mike
     
  5. whs

    whs Extraordinary Member

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    Rather than partitioning the drive, I would use seperate folders within one big partition on the drive.. That is a more flexible use of disk space.
     
  6. KCav

    KCav Senior Member

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    I think I got rid of it!

    I down loaded Seagate's DiskWizard. It asked, " What kind of bootable media do you want to create? I clicked on USB and within 2 minutes I had a USB dongle from which I booted my netbook. This is a much quicker way to make a bootable USB Flash drive than down loading Microsoft's DVD Conversion Tool. The download takes 2 hours and you can only convert an ISO.

    I used Seagate's DiskWizard to make an image file of my Sys (C) partition and saved it on an external USB Hard drive. Then I used DiskWizard to restore Sys (C) from the external hard drive. After the restore in Windows Disk Manager I could see the 101 MB partition directly after the sytem parrtition. Before it was in front, and now in Disk Manager the Extend feature is nolonger grayed out. I extended the Data partition to include the 101 MVs. Now it's gone, at least I think so. Considering I never knew where it came from, maybe it's not gone, but destine to reappear like an Ole Ghost. :):):)

    KC
     
    #6 KCav, Aug 6, 2012
    Last edited: Aug 6, 2012
  7. MikeHawthorne

    MikeHawthorne Essential Member
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    Hi

    Glad to hear you got it sorted out.

    Mike
     
  8. KCav

    KCav Senior Member

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    A smart lady once told me "Everything works to a degree." So far I can boot my netbook from a flash drive, backup and restore a System image file from an external US hard drive, and repartition the hard drive after the restore. :cool:

    Yesterday I moved data files, including my music and videos libaries to the Data partition. Then ran a full scan with MSE - no problems detected. Then I ran Piriform's, CCleaner to remove obsolete files, followed by running Piriform, Defragger. Then I made a backup of my System partition to my external USB hard drive using DiskWizard (made by Acronis and provided Free from Seagate). I used high compression mode and the file size was only 6.7 GB. And I successfully restored the backup. Life is good.

    Then, since the System Image file was less than 7 GB I tried to copy it to my USB Flash drive but the file would not copy. The reason was the file system on the Flash drive was not NTFS. It uses FAT. Some questions.

    1. How can I make a bootable Flash drive that uses NTFS?
    2. What cleaner and degragger should I use?
    3. How can I automate the process of cleaning, defragging, and backing up?

    KC
     
    #8 KCav, Aug 7, 2012
    Last edited: Aug 7, 2012
  9. MikeHawthorne

    MikeHawthorne Essential Member
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    Hi

    When you format the Flash Drive it will give you an option as to how to format it, just select NTFS.

    I just noticed that when you format a flash drive it gives you the option to create a MSDos startup disk.
    I never saw that before, I'll have to give that a try.

    Ok it doesn't that option is greyed out maybe it will work with a CD?
    Or is it just a holdover from floppy disks?

    I have used CCleaner and Defraggler for years.

    I can't really answer the last question because I just run CCleaner every day and Defraggler every other day.
    CCleaner will notify you of updates quite regularly.

    I use Malwarebytes which I update and run every day, and I use SuperAntiSpyware and run it about once a week.
    Both of these have pay versions that can be set to do this automatically but I'm cheap.

    I run Microsoft Security Essentials and I never have malware problems.

    I have one last suggestion.

    While I make backups of all my drives with Acronis, I also just copy all of my really important files to a folder on my external drive.

    That means that should my back up fail or get corrupted (something I have had happen more then once) my most vital files are always there uncompressed and available.

    I just copy my master Photo, Music, Animation and Job Files to my master backup folder.
    In my case I do this on a separate external hard drive from my other backups.
    One of the nice things about Windows 8 is it will show you which file need to be updated and not recopy everything over again when you update.

    If you have stuff you can't afford to lose you can't be too safe.
    I'm considering using an online backup for the really, really important stuff too.

    Mike
     
    #9 MikeHawthorne, Aug 7, 2012
    Last edited: Aug 7, 2012
  10. KCav

    KCav Senior Member

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    I downloaded, installed, and ran Malwarebytes and SuperAntiSpyware today on my netbook and notebook; plan to use them same as you do, along with MSE. ;)

    When I use the DiskWizard - Create Rescue Media tool to make a bootable Flash drive the FAT format must be used. When I created a bootable Flash drive with Microsoft's DVD Converter it did accept the NTFS format but the Flash drive had a fresh install of Windows on it. I would like to have a bootable Flash drive that uses NTFS format and boots to a menu. Is there a way to do this?

    KC
    .

    ,
     
  11. MikeHawthorne

    MikeHawthorne Essential Member
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  12. KCav

    KCav Senior Member

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    I have installed all of the above software - have a few questions:

    1. Do you tell CCleaner to leave some cookies alone? I don't know why but often I have to log back into my accounts with YaHoo Mail and iGoogle.
    2. When I run Defaggler it leaves some files fragmenttated, so I run it until the disk is 100% defragmented. I like a small image of my System partition. Do you run Defraggler repeatidly?
    3. I used the Startup feature in CCleaner to shut off SuperAntiSpyware; looking for away to automatically run Malwarebytes everyday.
    4. I have created a disk partition on a desktop PC. It appears on the notebooks on my LAN so I can be easly copy or move files to it. I wonder, is there away to syncronize Music on a notebook with music on my shared drive?
    5. I am making a side-by-side comparison between DiskWizard (Acronis) and Macrium Reflect. Have used Macrium Reflect?

    Thank for you help .

    PS - . yesterday I spilled beer on my Droid so I bought Samsung, Gallsy S III.
     
    #12 KCav, Aug 9, 2012
    Last edited: Aug 9, 2012
  13. KCav

    KCav Senior Member

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    Not quite. I was able to use the Diskpart command sequence to format a 16 GB flash drive to NTFS, but I could not make the Flash drive boot to a menu.

    I have made two bootable flash drives. One with Macrium, Reflect boots to Windows PE. It takes awhile, but it gets there. I don't think I need all the flexibility in the PE. The other made with Acronis DiskWizard boots to DiskWizard. DiskWizard can restore an image file from my external Hard drive.

    I would like to have a Flash drive, formated to NTFS that boots to a menu, not to Windows PE or Acronis DiskWizard. The following command sequence allows me to create a Flash drive in NTFS format, but it is not bootable. How can I make at bootable Flash Drive in NTFS format?

    It starts out easy to follow:
    1 Place Flash drive in the USB socket - OK
    2 Type Diskpart on the CMD line - OK
    3 Type List Disk, identify the Flash drive - OK
    4 Type Select Disk 1 - enter number of the Flash drive - OK
    5 Clean - OK
    6 Create Partition Primary - OK (Create Primary Partition does not work)
    7 Select partition 1 - OK
    8 Type Active - OK
    9 Format NTFS - OK
    10 Assign G - OK

    Now what? How can I make the Flash drive boot to a menu?
     
    #13 KCav, Aug 9, 2012
    Last edited: Aug 9, 2012
  14. MikeHawthorne

    MikeHawthorne Essential Member
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    Hi

    Yes for a while after installing CCleaner look at the cookies list in the Options tab.
    Got through the lest and move the cookies that you want to keep to the right side of the screen.

    When you run CCleaner it will leave those cookies alone.
    I have about 50 cookies that I allow.

    Things like the ones for this forum etc.

    Check this out maybe it will be more help.

    Making An NTFS USB Boot Disk | Bjorn3D.com

    I've never done this myself so I can't really be much help personally.

    Mike
     
  15. KCav

    KCav Senior Member

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    I now have 9 cookies that I allow including on for this Forum.

    Thanks Mike
     
  16. KCav

    KCav Senior Member

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    Thanks for the reference - Mark Taliaferro, author of Making An NTFS USB Boot Disk, gave a clear step-by-step explination that included using your Windows Installation CD with a CMD line instruction, The instruction transferred files to the Flash Drive so that it would become bootabe; I'll try it.

    KC
     
    #16 KCav, Aug 10, 2012
    Last edited: Aug 11, 2012
  17. KCav

    KCav Senior Member

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    hI mIKE - Do you use Bitlocker Drive Encryption? Do you have Windows Defender turned off?

    Nosy
    KC
     
  18. MikeHawthorne

    MikeHawthorne Essential Member
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    Hi

    Actually it's Windows Defender that I'm running now that's what they call MSE in Windows 8, I don't use bit locker.
    But it's Microsoft native antivirus in both cases.

    I haven't had any kind of malware other then tracking cookies in years and I often go and remove stuff from my friends computers who are running various commercial virus programs.

    I always recommend the free versions of Malwarebytes and SuperAntiSpyware both of which I run a couple of times a week.

    That's all it takes to keep my computer clean.

    Mike


     
  19. KCav

    KCav Senior Member

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    Hi Mike - I now have Windows Defender turned Off and Bitblocker Drive Encryption is Off; MSE Real time protection is turned On with Full scan set to run Daily at 2AM afetr checking for the latest updates.

    CCleaner runs quickly, I like seeing what files its' removing, so I don't mind running it manually; I also don't mind running Defragller manually. After I have finished deleting alot of files, I start it and just leave the machine running. Scheduling Malwarebyes and superAntiSpyware is another matter.

    I am about to try using Windows Task Scheduler to schedule updating then running MalwareBytes daily; also update and run SuperAntiMalware on Monday and Friday morning about 4am.

    Genius is knowing who to listen to. :p any advice. on using WTM?

    KCav
     
    #19 KCav, Aug 11, 2012
    Last edited: Aug 11, 2012
  20. KCav

    KCav Senior Member

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    Preparing to use Windows Task Scheduler to run Malwarebytes daily.

    These are the key strokes I used to run Malwarebytes manually on my netbook PC
    1 - Left clicked on shortcut to C:/Program Files/Malwaebytes Anti-Malware\mbam.exe
    2 - Left clicked Yes on confirmation prompt; program loaded; load time was a minute or so
    3 - Left clicked Scan to start program running
    4 - Left clicked Scan on Select Drives to start scan

    The program Settings included:
    1 - Download program Updates and notify me
    2 - Created a log file in C:/Users/MLMH/AppData/Roamimg/MalewarebytesAnti-Malware\Logs\mbampLog 2012-08-11[11-08-23].txt

    After the program ran:
    1 - a pop-up appeared - Program Completed Successfully
    2 - on the Menu bar the Malwarebytes icon said Program Completed
    3 - the log file listed Time elapsed 36 minutes, 50 seconds
    4 - the log file reported Errors dectected 0; there were 7 categories.

    After reviewing the Settings the only change I made was I unchecked Display log file after completing a scan. I think I'm ready to try an create a task in Windows Sceduler that will run Malwarebytes daily. Do you see anything I over looked?

    KCav
     
    #20 KCav, Aug 11, 2012
    Last edited: Aug 11, 2012

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