Boot an iso image from a bootable usb device

#1
I would like to utilize EasyBCD in order to boot an iso image from a bootable usb device (a usb stick). After created it I want to be able to boot it from any pc.

After reading the EasyBCD documentation, I performed the following actions:

- I copied the iso image on the first partition of the usb stick: that partition is FAT 32 primary and active;
- I started EasyBCD and clicked on the "BCD Deployment" button;
- I selected the partition where I copied the iso image and clicked on the "Install BCD" button: something was written for sure on the usb stick as drive light got green, at the end a dialog box pop up asking if I want to load the newly-created BCD store into EasyBCD, I replied "Yes", so I saw a message appeared in the EasyBCD status bar notifying that the usb device was made bootable;

First question: has that operation installed a boot manager in the partition boot sector ?

- I clicked on the "Edit Boot Menu" button and through the "iso" tab I set up a new menu entry pointing to the iso image present on the usb stick, after that the following files were present in the FAT partition: the iso image (of course), a ANG0 file, a NST folder with a .mbr file inside.

The first odd thing is that no BCD file is present on the FAT partition, and in fact if I restart EasyBCD I'm not able to select the BCD store I set up after performing the "Install BCD" operation.

In "Advanced Setting" what the drive letter is for ? I mean I want to boot the iso image from the boot manager that has been installed on the usb stick itself, so the drive letter should be meaningless.

- I rebooted the system and from the device boot list I select my usb stick, but nothing happens: all I can see is a black screen with a blinking cursor in the top left screen corner.

I'd like to understand if what I want to do is possible and what I'm doing wrong.


Kind Regards,
Marco Cecchetti
 

mqudsi

Mostly Harmless
Staff member
#2
Hello Marco, welcome to NeoSmart Technologies.

It sounds like you did everything correctly, but make sure that you have the viewing of both hidden and system files enabled in the My Computer options, or you'll never be able to see the BCD file and the BOOT folder.

Install BCD makes a USB drive bootable, and adding the ISO the way you did should work (going by what you said, at any rate). The drive letters have no consequence as they are only used to let EasyBCD know what file you want, but at boot time are completely ignored.
However, EasyBCD cannot possibly get to that step if the BCD file doesn't exist, so assuredly it does. If you can copy and paste the contents of EasyBCD's main screen (normal mode) here, we can verify that.
 
#3
Hi Mahmoud,

"Boot" folder and "BCD" file are there, indeed. I had set up to show hidden files, but not protected system files. My fault! I can see that under the root partition there is a bootmgr file, too.
Now I'm able to select the usb stick BCD store and edit it successfully. So everything seems to be there, I wonder why it does not work. I attached a screenshot of the "View Settings" section.


Cheers,
-- Marco
 

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mqudsi

Mostly Harmless
Staff member
#4
Wait, did you select "run from memory" when adding the ISO? If so, it's not stuck, it's loading (if it's a large file, that is).
Try either "load from disk" or just wait a long time. Load from disk is HIGHLY recommended.
 
#5
I tried both "run from memory" and "load from disk" with the same result: a black screen with a blinking cursor at the top left corner, even no boot menu. I don't know if I'm doing something wrong or it is due to some issue with my bios (btw, my laptop is a Thinkpad T500). For the moment I have to give up. In any case I thank you for your support.

Cheers,
-- Marco
 
#6
Try to change the partition on the thumdrive to NTFS. If that dosent work try fat32 or fat16. I dont think you have to try both "load from disk" and "run from memory" on every format, just go with the one you want.
 

mqudsi

Mostly Harmless
Staff member
#7
Ah, yes. That might be it. I was assuming the BCD menu is reached and afterwards is the error, but if that's the case then maybe this is happening *before* the menu even gets loaded!

Make sure to format it from within Windows Vista or 7, not XP.
 
#8
Well, I don't understand the reason but formatting the usb stick with NTFS directly from the Windows 7 integrated tool makes everything works correctly, I was able to set up three iso image entries and they all boot smoothly and even enough quickly. :smile: Thanks a lot for your support.

Cheers,
-- Marco
 

mqudsi

Mostly Harmless
Staff member
#9
There is a discrepancy between the MBR for partitions formatted with earlier versions of Windows XP and those with Windows Vista/7 that makes it incompatible with the BCD.

Glad to hear you're up and running though - you're most welcome.