27072: How can I create an VistaPE Boot USB Stick?

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Tony2012
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I have created an VistaPE Boot CD with the Acronis BartPE plugin on it. I really love it, it backs up and restores images very fast because it's using Windows drivers and not Linux drivers which are very slow.

But is there a way I create a VistaPE or Windows driver based USB stick Rescue instead?

I have a 1GB USB stick I would like to use for that.

Is this possible to be done?

Thank you.

Mark Wharton
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Tony:

Do you still have an ISO image file of your VistaPE boot CD? If so, copy it to a USB stick and boot it using Grub4DOS. Further details can be found here (sections 1 and 3; ignore section 2): http://www.themudcrab.com/acronis_grub4dos.php

If you want an even faster solution, copy the ISO to your hard disk, install Grub4DOS to the MBR of the hard disk, and you'll find this is the fastest way to boot into the VistaPE environment. That's the method that I use and prefer because it takes 15 sec vs. 60 or so seconds with a flash drive (or several minutes from a CD).

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Tony2012
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Yes I have the ISO for the VistaPE boot CD.

I followed the instructions on the Grub4DOS link you provided and copied across the ISO file to the USB stick etc. And the USB stick loads the VistaPE screen as normal. However, when I go to choose Acronis, it's missing and doesn't appear in the program menu!?!?

Why is that? Why does it appear on the CD and not on the USB stick? It's the exact same ISO that I burned to CD.

Any ideas of why and solution?

Mark Wharton
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Tony:

I can't think of a reason for that to happen unless the ISO isn't the same one that you think it is. So, for an experiment I would burn this ISO to another CD and test the CD just to be sure.

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MudCrab
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Depending on the build it can make a difference for shortcuts, menu items, etc. whether or not the plugins were set to run from RAM. In my various builds I always tried to do this because results were usually not as expected otherwise. Most of my builds were not with the Acronis supplied plugins, though.

Browse to the Acronis folder when booted into VistaPE and see if the program is there. If it's on X: it would be in RAM. Otherwise, it should be on the flash drive. Since it is in the ISO file it has to be there somewhere.

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Tony2012
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Hi MudCrab,

Using the same ISO from CD, in the Programs menu, the Acronis plugin shows and I simply select it.

But using this option and procedure on your website, there is no Acronis anywhere on the menu. Nowhere at all.

If I look inside the ISO file, there are folders such as, Boot, Programs and Sources. Inside Programs, there is a folder called "Acronis Trueimage". So why does it show up when booting the CD and not the USB stick using your method?

Is there a fix and solution at all? I would love to be able to boot Acronis from my USB stick if possible as the CD is very slow to boot.

Thank you.

BTW, I used this version:
Grub4DOS - ver. 4.4 2009-03-31 Official Release

Would using Grub4DOS - ver. 4.4 2009-06-20 make any difference?

Why do you have both different versions on the webpage? It gets confusing, which one should we use?

Tony2012
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Mark, it's the exact same ISO. IN fact it's the only VistaPE Iso I have and I did test it and made sure. It's 144MB in size.

Believe me, it's the same ISO but Acronis only appears in the CD and not USB stick.

There must be something related to the Grub4Dos program that stops it loading. Can this be fixed or is there a work around?

It works and loads fine, but Acronis doesn't appear in the Program menu.

Help???

Mark Wharton
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Tony:

How did you create your VistaPE build? Did you use WinBuilder or something else? Were the programs configured to run from RAM?

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Tony2012
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Hi Mark,

It was over 2 years ago, so I cannot remember exactly how I created it, but I think it was Winbuilder and using the Acronis BartPE plugin.

What I did just 5 minutes ago, was ripped the CD to get a new ISO, and then followed MudCrab's webpage again, and created the boot USB stick using the ISO. It loads fine and fast, however, the "Programs menu" doesn't exist as it does on the CD.

And then I looked through the whole menu, including the X: drive, but Acronis Trueimage doesn't appear anywhere!! It's simply not there.

So why does it appear when booting the CD and not when booting the USB stick?

What is the MudCrab process on his webpage failing to do that the CD succeeds to do?

Thank you.

BTW, when I use Winrar to look inside the WinPE.ISO, there is the folder Programs inside it and Acronis Trueimage, so it's 100% definitely in the ISO.

Do you or MudCrab know of any work around?

Mark Wharton
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Tony:

When you boot to VistaPE do you see a Y: drive?

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Tony2012
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No Y: drive and I checked ALL the drives and the BartPE Acronis is nowhere to be found.

X: exists though and that's the USB drive. And when I searched through the Program folder there are folders such as A43 and Map or Drivemap etc, but no Acronis Trueimage.
And when I look inside the ISO using Winrar, there is only one file in the "Programs" and that's Acronis Trueimage, but nothing else in there.

This is confusing and I cannot figure this whole thing out.

What next can I try to get this working?

What's stopping the ATI from showing up? And why does it show up on the CD version and won't on the USB version? So the MudCrab method loads the ISO file into RAM, but obviously something is stopping the Acronis Trueimahe BartPE plugin from loading into RAM, right? But why does it load into RAM when I use the boot CD version of WinPE?

So many questions, I am confused and hoping someone can help me please?

Tony2012
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This is what the ISO looks like inside using Winrar.

Notice the Program folder only has ATI, and I am assuming MudCrab's strategy isn't loading that folder for some reason, but the CD version does.

http://i39.tinypic.com/ndk3ew.jpg

http://i41.tinypic.com/m9wy9y.jpg

Is there any way to boot a USB stick and get it to load that folder into RAM? Is there any modifications needed to be done to grubinst_gui.exe to get this to work? Would MudCrab know?

All I want to do is to load ATI using Windows Drivers and booting off an USB stick. Is this possible at all? Or is that impossible?

Thank you for everyone's help.

Tony2012
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Anyone have any other ideas?

MudCrab
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It's been quite a while since I created VistaPE builds so I might be misremembering, but what happens is that since the programs are not loaded into RAM they can't be found. This means no shortcuts, no programs, etc. VistaPE may not be able to access the booted ISO (I would need to check). If it can't access it you won't see the Acronis programs since they are accessed from the CD and not the WIM file. Packing everything into the WIM means you won't see the programs on the CD or flash drive, but they would be available to VistaPE when booted.

If I remember correctly there should be a global option to include all programs in the WIM (run from RAM). This is the option I was talking about earlier. Many plugins also had this as an option so you could be selective about which ones were included.

You may have better success not using Grub4DOS to boot the ISO. Instead, clean the flash drive and then copy all the files from the VistaPE CD/ISO to the flash drive. The cleaning instructions can be found here.

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Tony2012
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Hi MudCrab, I followed all the instructions on that webpage in using diskpart on your link. I then extracted all files in ISO and copied them all to the USB stick, and it boots into WinPE desktop environment, but NO trueimage anywhere :(

So as the procedure with Grub4Dos, the "diskpart" method also boots the USB stick but Trueimage is still not loading for some reason :(

The "Programs" folder that loads with the Boot VistaPE CD, will not load when booting it from the USB stick. I wonder why? What is the CD doing that the USB stick is not doing?

Does anyone know a working way to get my VistaPE boot CD with Acronis trueimage to boot properly using USB Stick instead? Any other ideas?

Mark Wharton
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Tony:

I think MudCrab is correct about creating the VistaPE build with the "In RAM" option enabled. I seem to recall reading about this on the former BootLand forum a couple of years ago. The forum has since moved to http://www/reboot.pro, and WinBuilder has been updated several times since I last created a VistaPE build (about 2 years ago).

You may be able to make your current VistaPE build work by rebuilding it with the "In RAM" option enabled. You will need to have the original WinBuilder folder that you used to create your current VistaPE build available. If it isn't currently on your disk see if you can find a copy in an old image file from around the date that you created the build. Make a copy of the folder and give the folder a different name like WinBuilder2. Paste the folder into a root location (like C:\WinBuilder2). By doing this you will preserve your original WinBuilder folder and your original build of VistaPE and you will only be working on a copy.

Run WinBuilder (as Administrator) from the new folder and change the following settings ONLY:

Note that this screen shot is from WinBuilder version 074, and if you used a different version then your options may be worded differently. Set the Build Model and Boot Manager choices on the Main Configuration script to In RAM (boot.wim) and Grub4DOS, as shown. On the Extended Configuration script be sure to check Force place all programs to RAM (boot.wim) as shown below:

Leave all of your other configuration settings the same then let WinBuilder create a new build. You should find the resultant ISO is smaller and loads faster, and it should allow any installed programs to work when you run from a flash drive.

Be aware that the VistaPE project has been inactive for several years and I don't know if any of the source files are available on Reboot.pro or not. You won't be able to download them from within your copy of WinBuilder since the servers have moved to different locations, but you shouldn't need to if you still have your original WinBuilder folder and you just want to recompile VistaPE.

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Tony2012
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I don't have an old folder from over 2 years ago :( Shame.

Is there a way to do it from scratch?
I am sorry but I am confused. What do I do with my current ISO? extract it to a folder and run Winbuilder on it?
I cannot seem to import the extracted ISO into Winbuilder?
Your instructions are confusing to me sorry, can you explain it to me again in different words?
Can I use my current ISO to rebuild it?
If not, what exactly do I need to download to create a bootable USB with just windows drivers and just the Acronis BartePE plugin?

Mark Wharton
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Tony:

There is nothing that you can do with your current ISO except to use it as-is.

If you want to create a new VistaPE build and you don't have your original folder with all of the scripts that were downloaded from BootLand then the only recourse that you have is to do a new build. You would need to go to the Reboot.pro web site and see if they still have the VistaPE project available.

There are other alternatives. If you only want to run the Acronis BartPE plugin then you could create a BartPE build instead of a VistaPE build. BartPE has been around for a while and you should be able to find lots of articles on how to do this. You will need to go to the BartPE web site and download BartPE Builder. It's been more than 6 or 7 years since I did anything with BartPE so I can't be of any detailed help with that, but if I recall it was pretty simple to do. BartPE builder will let you create ISO, CD, or flash drive versions as output, so you should be able to make a bootable flash drive right within the program.

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Tony2012
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So Mark are you saying to do this:

1. Download BartPE.

2. Create a bootable CD using BartPE + Acronis BartPE plugin.

3. Create ISO.

4. Then follow MudCrab's link?

BTW, I don't have a Vista installation CD. Vista came preinstalled on my HP Laptop. Can I still use BartPE builder?

And does BartPE work and run on Vista?

I don't think it does?

This is from the BartPE website:

Requirements to build:
The files from your Windows Installation CD-Rom.
Supported Windows versions are:
Windows XP Home Edition (must be slip streamed with Service Pack 1 or higher)
Windows XP Professional (must be slip streamed with Service Pack 1 or higher)
Windows Server 2003, Web Edition
Windows Server 2003, Standard Edition
Windows Server 2003, Enterprise Edition
PE Builder runs on Windows 2000/XP/2003/BartPE systems.
CD/DVD writer if you want to creat a bootable CD/DVD.

Mark Wharton
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Tony:

It should be:
1. Dowload BartPE.
2. Create a bootable USB flash drive build of BartPE + Acronis BartPE plug-in using the tools available in PEBuilder.

I think that I ran PEBuilder on Vista, but that was a long time ago. Microsoft's compatibility site lists PEBuilder as "unknown" for Vista compatibility but as "Compatible" for Windows 7. If it runs on Windows 7 then it will probably run on Vista.

Since BartPE is based on Windows XP you would need an XP disk as a source; not Vista.

Here's the official Acronis documentation for the BartPE plugin for TI 11 http://kb.acronis.com/content/1506

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Tony2012
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I don't have Windows XP, nor do I own an XP.

So how can I create a windows based driver bootable USB Stick with Acronis Trueimage on it?

Anyone know of a way?

Thanks.

MudCrab
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What version of TI are you using?

There's no problem running BartPE on Vista or Windows 7. Just run it as an administrator (if necessary). It should work fine. And BartPE requires an XP CD -- if you don't have one you won't be able to build it.

When you booted the VistaPE flash drive and didn't see TI anywhere were you talking about icons and menu items only? You should have been able to browse to the Programs folder on the flash drive and see TI there. You should be able to run the program from that folder. The flash drive is not the X: drive.

Note that the shortcuts in VistaPE are usually not flexible. They are supposed to be in a certain place and that's the only place it looks. While you may think that there is no difference between booting VistaPE from a CD and a flash drive, they are very different.

I think I still have my VistaPE files. I could probably zip them up for you and send you a link if want. I used Mustang's plugins (purchased) with my builds so I don't know exactly how the plain Acronis plugins compare when it comes to shortcuts and menu items. If I remember correctly, VistaPE requires a Vista DVD to create the build so this probably wouldn't work for you either since you don't have one.

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Tony2012
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Thank you MudCrab for your message.

I don't have an XP CD. Never owned XP, so that's why I initially used VistaPE to create the Acronis Boot CD. So I cannot use BartPE.

I am using version 11, build 8101.

When I run the USB stick, Acronis is nowhere to be found, not anywhere! I looked through the whole menus and hard disk, and the only place Acronis shows up is on my C: drive, but it fails to load from there when booting into the USB stick. It's very strange, that the Acronis on the USB stick is nowhere to be found when booting into VistaPE from the USB stick. Very strange and I cannot understand it!?!

I created the VistaPE boot CD without needing a Vista CD. I used WAIK instead and VistaPE works with that. I just pointed to the Windows AIK folder, and VistaPE worked perfectly with that.

So MudCrab, what can I do now? What VistaPE files do you have that I could use and what will they enable me to do?

Thank you.

MudCrab
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It's odd that you can't see the flash drive. It should have been detected and assigned a letter. Did you browse every drive that showed up?

I sent you a PM with the VistaPE files link.

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Tony2012
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Sorry if I said wrong or there was a misunderstanding. I do SEE the USB stick, it's actually X:, but nowhere on it is Acronis to be found.

MudCrab, I am going to create a new VistaPE using Winbuilder.

Can you please tell me the steps I need to do in WinBuilder, version 074, the one you sent me, to create a bootable CD VistaPE that is created properly with Acronis BartPE plugin, so when I use your Grub4DOS guide that it will actually load Acronis?

How exactly do I add my Acronis BartPE plugin?
I don't see Acronis anywhere in Winbuilder and I don't recall how to add it?

And which servers should I choose? Just the vistape.net/project and updates.bootland.net servers?

Thank you.

MudCrab
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X: should be the RAM drive, not the flash drive. The flash drive should be assigned a normal lower drive letter (like F: or H:). Basically, you're looking for the drive that looks exactly like what the flash drive looks like if you plug into a running Windows system.

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Tony2012
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I been using the Winbuilder you sent me and pointed to my Bartpe files folder, but Winbuilder is refusing to work giving me 1600 errors.

Not sure what to do now. I may have to give up trying to create the USB ATI boot disk, I just don't know what I am doing :(

The Winbuilder has 2 things selected, called VistaPe multiboot + VistaPe core 12. Is that right?

Tony2012
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I looked at every single drive on the Usb stick when loaded, yet I could not see Acronis TI anywhere.

So what's why I was hoping to create a New ISO that solves the problem, but I cannot create the ISO, I keep getting errors in Winbuilder :(

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You can't use BartPE scripts without converting them or rewriting them (they're not compatible with each other). I would have to look and see if I can find anything.

If you unplug the flash drive after booting into VistaPE, which drive disappears or becomes unavailable?

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Tony2012
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Thanks for all your help and patience MudCrab, but it looks like I need to throw in the white flag, because this is very complicated for a noob like me. I have no idea how I figured this out a couple of years ago lol. Now I am getting so many errors it's not funny, from not finding "source" errors to not finding bcdedit.exe errors etc. The list goes on and on :(

Oh well, I guess I need to stick with the boot CD. It's a shame, having an USB stick working would have been so good.

Thank you MudCrab for all your help, I really appreciate it.

I wish Acronis could create a bootable windows based driver USB stick rescue ISO and allow us to burn it. That would have been great. Oh well.

Mark Wharton
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Tony:

The capability to create a Windows PE boot ISO was added to TI 2011 and TI 2012. It's part of the Plus Pack.

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Tony2012
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I tried using the latest Winbuilder, but it gives me this error:

FileCopy - Failed to copy [%BaseDir%\Temp\VistaPE-CAPI\BootWimSrc\windows\System32\cscapi.dll] to: [%BaseDir%\Target\VistaPE-CAPI\Windows\System32\cscapi.dll]: The system cannot find the file specified.

Tony2012
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Well I only paid for version 11, build 8101, so that means I cannot get a Windows PE Boot ISO :(

Oh well. Seems like I won't be able to get a working USB version :(

Tony2012
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Ok thanks everyone for trying to help, but I guess this thread can now close. I was unable to create a window based driver rescue boot USB stick. Couldn't figure out how to do it in Winbuilder or any other method.

Thanks anyway for your efforts and trying.