Sunday 8 July 2012

82 - install XP from XP ISOs

This new tutorial shows you how you can place a number of different XP install ISO files on a grub4dos bootable USB drive and have multiple grub4dos menu items so that you can have a fully automated install without modifying the ISO - even if the ISO is a standard MS one.
The grub4dos menu allows you to specify a diskpart script so you can partition and format the drive however you want, an unattend.txt answer file so you can automate the install and change any settings you like, and a folder that will be copied over to the target C: drive during the install. This folder can contain all the drivers for a specific system, so you can use the same ISO to install a Dell PC or an Asus laptop and specify a different driver folder, diskpart script and answer file for each.

You can also have different answer files for different languages and timezones but use the same XP install ISO. This process will also work with nLited ISOs or XP install ISOs that are already semi-automated.
It uses WinPE v3 as the bootable OS and then runs diskpart and winnt32.exe to start the install. Only a single USB boot is required - the next boot is off of the hard disk.

Sunday 1 July 2012

81 - Make your own automatic image restore partition

If you want a hard disk backup partition which can be easily restored by a newbie, it can be done using imagex. This allows you to make a backup of the Windows volume and then restore it at a later date just by selecting it from a boot menu.
A full Windows XP restore on my laptop takes less than 2 minutes.
Checkout Tutorial #81 to set up your grandma's system with a 'reset' feature for when it all goes horribly wrong!

Saturday 16 June 2012


Some people have reported that the QEMU button in RMPrepUSB does not run on their system. This may be because I am using the qemu-system-x86_64.exe version 0.15.1. The latest version of RMPrepUSB in the Beta Downloads section uses qemu.exe and may give better results.
So far, I have not been able to make any version of QEMU boot a WinPE 64-bit iso, which is rather disappointing...
If you are having trouble getting QEMU to run after trying this new version, please let me know and let me know what OS you are running, etc.
P.S. The most common problem is that you are assigning too much memory to QEMU, untick the 'No User prompts' checkbox and select a smaller size of memory when you run QEMU (e.g. choose 900 instead of 1300). If that still does not work and QEMU does not launch, reduce it even more.

Monday 30 April 2012

Latest version improves file access performance

v2.1.647 has a slightly modified filesystem tweak. This improves file access time for small files by about 10% when formatted as FAT32 or NTFS. See thread for more details. This makes file copying to your USB drive even faster!

Wednesday 7 March 2012

Monitor which apps are using the network/internet

Microsoft Network Monitor at

This free MS tool will capture all network packets and show you which application is responsible for them. This is useful for checking if a newly installed application sends any secret network packets, etc.
You can see the data that it sends in each packet too. A useful tool to have in your box!

There is a support article here and a support forum here.

There are also some specialized plug-ins for it that might be useful:
TCP Analyzer Expert: Make Your Network Run Faster – For Microsoft Network Monitor 3.3
Top Users Expert for Network Monitor 3.3 – For Microsoft Network Monitor 3.3

The first is a post describing the tool which can analyze and suggest issues with your network based on packet capture data. The second provides a report on which users are eating up all the bandwidth.

Thursday 1 March 2012


Well it's been a busy week!
RMPrepUSB and RMPartUSB have been tweaked (v2.1.643) and RMPrepUSB has improved menu tabs (checkout latest version!). I have had reports that formatting HDDs as NTFS has failed for many people and have tweaked the code to improve this. As a last resort, the NTFS format routine now calls if the FormatEx API call fails! However, it still needs a drive letter to be assigned by Windows before the drive can be formatted (use the Drive - AutoMount Drives tab to update the Registry to do this).
Next we have Easy2Boot. This is an early project to make it easy for anyone to add a new bootable binary (OS, memory test, etc.) to a multiboot USB drive. Once they have made the Easy2Boot USB drive using RMPrepUSB, all they need to do is add a .mnu file and the payload file(s) (e.g. an ISO) and the USB drive will automatically add this to the user menu each time it is booted. This means a user does not need to edit a menu.lst file at all.
Lastly, Windows 8 Consumer Preview has arrived, and I have updated my Win8ToGo and Win8 on VHD tutorials accordingly. Why not try Windows 8 now without affecting your current OS at all? A download link and Beta Product Key is provided in the articles or on the 'Useful Links' page.

Wednesday 22 February 2012

v2.1.640 is coming!

This new version has a menu at the top. Unfortunately this can only support English as vb6 does not seem to be able to change the font set (e.g. Chinese) and also I do not have translated text for all  the extra menu items anyway. The menu headings can be hidden using the RMPrepUSB.ini configuration file and setting MenuVisible=False - note that this also disables their shortcut keys too.
RMPartUSB has been changed very slightly so that if FAT16+64hd/32sec is specified, then type 06 will be used for the partition type. This is required if booting to DOS 6.22 (DOS 6.22 does not support LBA FAT16 ptn types or any FAT32 types).
New version of WinContig will be added when it is available. Help PDF will also be updated.

Friday 10 February 2012

v2.1.638 includes WinContig

New Beta includes CTRL+F2 WinContig function to make all files on the selected drive contiguous.

Sunday 29 January 2012

Marco from WinContig has said I can use WinContig.exe with RMPrepUSB, so the next version will include WinContig in the install package. Just need to tweak a few minor issues before Marco releases a new version which we are working on.

Friday 27 January 2012

Enhancements to RMPrepUSB

This week I have been adding functionality to RMPrepUSB. It now has the ability to overwrite the MBR code with the standard Win7 MBR boot code and thus replace any grub4dos/syslinux boot code. This function is actually in RMPartUSB and so can be scripted too.
I have also been looking at WEE which is a cut-down version of grub4dos bootloader. WEE has an integrated menu and needs no external files such as grldr or menu.lst. It also can be loaded by bootmgr directly (unlike grldr which cannot), thus you can configure your BCD to load WEE and from WEE you can load grldr. This gives you a way to boot to grubdos from Windows 7 (or Vista or Server 2K8) even if your boot volume is BitLocker encrypted - See Tutorial #68.
I have also included a Disk Doctor utility in RMPrepUSB which allows raw sector access of a disk. This utility is nowhere near as polished as WinHex or HexEdit ,etc. but it does allow testing and editing of USB flash drives (actually all drives).
The next thing may be to also add a drop-down menu to RMPrepUSB to make some of these features more accessible!

Monday 16 January 2012


This is my blog for RMPrepUSB and USB booting. If you have any comments on RMPrepUSB or the RMPrepUSB website at then let me know.