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Format A partition on a USB Drive to a CDFS

Posted on 2006-06-23
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I want to format a partition on a USB Drive to having a CD file system. This should be a quick 500 points for someone.
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Question by:phpamble
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by:Callandor
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USB flash drives can be made bootable, but they cannot be formatted in CD format.  I think FAT and NTFS are the only formats available.
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by:Nerdx
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Yes, Callandor is right. Your question needs changing.

# Nerd
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by:phpamble
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I have a U3 smart drive that has two partitions. The first one shows up as a read only CD file system.
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by:Callandor
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U3 drives are specially made with a different firmware.  You can't take a non-U3 drive and make it into a U3 drive.  See http://www.experts-exchange.com/Storage/Q_21727554.html
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by:garycase
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The U3 drives actually load a small driver file that then emulate a CDFS system in the extra space reserved for that purpose.

If your goal here is simply to have a "CD" on the external drive (or multiple CD's) you can accomplish this easily by using a virtual CD program ==> it will make the system "think" it has an additional optical drive (or drives) and you can "load", "eject", etc. any CD's that you store ISO images of on the hard drive just as if they were actual CDs.   Works great -- I NEVER use "real" CDs anymore.

There are a variety of ways to do this:

(1)  This one's free, but will not work with any CDs that use copy protection methods:
http://www.softwarepatch.com/windows/xpvirtualcd.html

Note:  If you don't have a convenient way to create ISO files from your CDs, just use this:
http://isorecorder.alexfeinman.com/isorecorder.htm

(2)  These are not free, but have several additional options, and will work with just about any copy protected CD (note:  Alcohol 52 is all you need => as an emulator it does everything Alcohol 120 does; it just doesn't have the additional burning features):
http://www.alcohol-soft.com/

(3)  This is not free, but works perfectly, and the newer versions work with some copy protection techniques.   I've used this for several years, and it works perfectly -- but I haven't upgraded to the current version (I'm not a gamer, and don't need the copy-protection emulations):
http://www.virtualcd-online.com/vcd/apps/overview/original.cfm?lg=0


With any of these, you would just install the program, configure it to know that your "virtual" CDs were on the external drive, and you could then use the external drive to store all of your CDs ==> and since it would still be in a "normal" file format (NTFS or FAT32) you could still store other files there as well.
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by:phpamble
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Thank you for the comprehensive info garycase. My goal is to have a  CDFS that will allow an autorun.inf file to automatically start a menu program when the usb drive is plugged into a pc. Will an autorun.inf on an emulated cd then be treated in the same way, i.e. execute when the device is pluuged in?
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by:garycase
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No, that won't work like that.  But if all you want to do is autorun when the drive is connected, why do you want to use CDFS?   If autorun is enabled for removeable devices, it will run from your drive when it's inserted regardless of the file type.   ... but on PC's where autorun is NOT enabled it will not run, no matter what you do to the drive.  You can't make the DRIVE automatically run a program when connected -- the PC must be set to allow autorun.


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by:abarneslouortho
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are you wanting your u3 drive to automatically launch a program when you plug it in?
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by:phpamble
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What about the UDRW people. I believe there Flash Drives can be plugged into any computer without loading that particular driver on the PC. I have also come across another company called Walletex that promises this.

Are all these examples of Flash Drives that have had firmware specifically written for this purpose. (Thank you for the info Callandor)

I want the Flash Drive to open a menu when it is plugged in irrespective of what omputer it is plugged into. So in short I want a non U3 Flash Drive have this ability.

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by:garycase
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The U3 drives use special firmware that is OUTSIDE of the MSC (mass storage class) device specifications => that's why a U3 drive's extra partition does not show up in Disk Management as part of the "disk."   You can't emulate this with a standard MSC flash drive.   Also, if the autorun for removeable and optical drives is disabled, a U3 drive will NOT run it's menu program when plugged in to that computer.   There's simply no way to GUARANTEE a menu will appear from any flash drive when it's plugged in to an arbitrary machine.   You can configure it so it will USUALLY display a menu, but if the computer is configured differently than you expect, that won't happen.   (of course you can have a program on the flash drive that the user runs to generate the menu -- but that requires an action by the user; which I think you're trying to avoid)

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by:phpamble
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I have come across another company, viz. Walletex who claims to have a low-level program that can change their USB Flash Drive to have an autorun feature. The answer I have had from the company as to how they do this is that they have some program that can split the drive into 2 partitions with the autorun on on the smaller partition is of type CDFS. So in short it does seem that this can be done?
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by:phpamble
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Before the question is deleted I would like some response to the above.
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by:garycase
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It can be done --- as I said earlier, that's what the U3 drives do.   But the technology to do so is proprietary to U3 (and perhaps Walletex, although I see nothing about this on their web site; which only shows their credit-card-size flash drive).  U3 uses custom firmware on the drives, so you could not modify a standard drive to do this.   Do you have a link to what you said r.e. Walletex??
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by:phpamble
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Unfortunately I dont. How i came across it is that I have been doing some development for mobile applications to fit on Flash Drives. To this point we have been in talks with Walletex to use their drives. It was one of their staff that shared this information with us. I will see if I can get his name from one of my colleagues.
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garycase earned 500 total points
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... I suspect they are either licensing the technology from U3, or have a similar technology that does effectively the same thing.   You might want to talk with the U3 folks.  (http://www.u3.com/developers/default.aspx)

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by:phpamble
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Gary thanks for the quick responses I am awarding the points to you on this question.
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by:garycase
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You're welcome.
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