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Create Bootable ultility partition

Posted on 2009-05-10
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Last Modified: 2013-12-14
I have a small network and none of the clients contain cd-roms / floppy disks.

I would like to create a partition on all the clients which can boot straight into the ultimate boot cd. But without the CD.  i.e like a recovery partition.

I can put each of the hard disks into another pc to partition them / prepare them.


how can I create a partition put the ultimate boot cd files on and make it bootable?


I have so far managed to create EISA partitions using diskpart.exe and I have played around with my boot.ini to try and get the partition booting but with no success.


What I want to be able to do is boot with the ultimate boot cd rom on a hidden partition and then I can connect over my network share and run the windows xp setup. So it makes it easy for me to re-install the clients. Also I want the ability to use the tools included with the boot cd in event of virus attacks etc.



Any help would be appreciated
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Question by:The_King
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by:khr2003
ID: 24348250
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by:The_King
ID: 24348260
I dont want to install and backup though.

I want to be able to boot from the ultimate boot cd (without having a cd) by putting it in a partition on the hard disk and making it bootable.

This will then allow me to run windows setup over my network share.

I can also use all the utilities that come with the ultimate boot cd if needed.
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by:techxperts
ID: 24349387
so you want to extract the ultimate boot iso to a partition then add it to the boot menu to make it an option to boot from?

i think daemon tools will allow u to dump the iso to a partition
http://www.daemon-tools.cc/eng/downloads

use diskpart or partition magic to make the partition bootable
edit the boot.ini file on the primary partition to add the boot option for the new partition

strongly recommend working this out on a test system as altering partition tables can result in loss of data


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by:techxperts
ID: 24349391
also check out unetbootin i know u can use this to push an os to a usb drive or other so maybe you can push your iso to a partition with it

http://unetbootin.sourceforge.net/
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by:noxcho
ID: 24362904
You need to use loader (boot manager) that would run any boot environment from the partition (hidden one). I know that Paragon makes secure zone on HDD (at the end of it) that is called Backup Capsule. Then you can make it bootable putting their own loader into MBR that boots system to Linux or DOS and let you perform recovery tasks.
Reinstallation and virus attack cleaning works are very simple with this configuration.
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by:The_King
ID: 24379348
Yes along the right lines.

However if I have to rely on the mbr and boot.ini on the main partition it will become unbootable if it develops a problem.

What I want to be able to do is boot the machine using the ultimate boot cd on the 'hidden' partition (although I dont mind if its not hidden) which will allow me to fix problems with windows on the other partition / reinstall windows easily over the network / check for viruses etc.

I have got to the thinking I obviously need an Operating system on the both partitions but I am under the belief that 'ultimate boot cd' is a windows PE operating system which can run without using hard disk i.e. from CD

Therefore By copying the files to the hard disk which I have done with ISO Buster In theory there should be a way to boot from them.

However a CDROM boot image is different to the MBR of a hard disk and I have no way of converting the boot sector from the cdrom to the harddisk.

So what I need is a 'boot loader' written in the MBR of the 'hidden disk' which allows me to boot on that disk and passes control to the relevant place of the ultimate boot cd OR allows me to boot from the 2nd partition and passes control to the windows XP installation.

You see the problem I face is I have 5 kids and a network of 6 pc's and the kids are permanantly downloading and installing stuff and their machines get riddles with spyware / adware / viruses constantly. No virus protection / spyware protection can keep them 100% clean and educating kids who some are at the age they can barley read is impossible so I find myself re-installing there machines regularly and without a CDROM in it becomes a task and a half and I put it off for ages leaving them without comps waiting for me.

Hence the plan to put the ultimate boot cd on 1 partition so I can easily access its tools / add more tools if needed but the boot loader / MBR MUST be on this partition otherwise if I format the windows partition and reboot I have no boot.ini and wont be able to boot into ultimate boot cd again.

Structure wanted is as follows

R:\ Disk(0)Partition(0) - Active bootable partition with boot loader / MBR and ultimate CD Tools installed.

C:\ Disk(0)Partition(1) - bootable partition without the boot loader / MBR with windows XP installed (ran by the boot loader on the R:)


I have put the hard disk from one of the other comps in my main comp to play around with and try to get it working. Therefore I am not concerned at data loss etc.



Thank you both for your input and your on the right tracks but I can't seem to quite fine tune it and get it working.


Can you recommend a good Boot Loader which can do this well?
Can you explain how I get the Boot Loader to load ultimate boot CD?

Thanks Again
   The_King
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by:techxperts
ID: 24379424
theres only 1 MBR on a DRIVE youre referring to partitions here for your restore media. i THINK youd be better off with a different solution

look at steadystate from microsoft. lock down those PCs...its free for xp and vista

http://www.microsoft.com/windows/products/winfamily/sharedaccess/default.mspx
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by:noxcho
ID: 24379534
Hi The_King, you are missing some point here. Boot Loader can be located on Hard Drive only and one HDD has only one MBR that could contain only one loader. Even if you manager to hide Ultimate CD into hidden partition you need someone (boot loader here) to pass the order to ultimate CD. On the opposite if you boot from CD directly then you do not need Boot Loader as BIOS will start the machine from CD-ROM. Reading your problem through I came to idea that you need bootable backup capsule on your kid machines. I use similar configuration for my customers and let me explain how it works.
Using Hard Disk Manager 2009 I created Backup Capsules on every workstation and then took image of system partition directly to this Backup Capsule.
Then made the Backup Capsule bootable (again using boot loader that comes with HDM2009 installed into MBR). Since then during machine launch user can see F key request for short time (3-5 seconds). If F key is pressed the recovery environment is loaded and one need to use Simple Restore Wizard to roll the machine back to previous good state. Happens the MBR is corrupted or Boot Loader is removed from system I boot from Bootable USB stick that is made with the same HDM2009 and get to the same recovery environment that allows me to restore the machine to working state in 5-10 minutes. Happens I need to copy out some fresh data from drive before roll back operation - I can use File Transfer Wizard and copy necessary files to external drive.
The same environment allows to defragment, format, repartition, backup, restore, copy etc etc.
Have a look on it: http://www.paragon-software.com/home/hdm-personal/features.html
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by:The_King
ID: 24379568
Oh I see the MBR is before the partitions and the boot loader code is located in the MBR like :

0x0000 to 0x01BD - First 446 bytes (boot loader code)
0x01BE to 0x01CD - Partition entry 1
0x01CE to 0x01DD - Partition entry 2
0x01DE to 0x01ED - Partition entry 3
0x01EE to 0x01FD - Partition entry 4
0x01FE to 0x01FF - Boot signature (55 AA)


So a good boot loader will be able to load either operating system independant of partitions so If I develop a problem with either partition it will still be able to load the alternate partition.

So may only question is then

What is a good boot loader? any recommendations?
and I think I can work out how to get it to load windows XP
but
How do I tell it to load Ultimate Boot CD?


I have though about different solutions i.e locking down the comps but I feel they learn more having unrestricted access and administrator rights on their own machines. The older kids prove this with their abilities and what they have learnt. However when it all goes wrong they dont have the knowledge to sort and I sometimes repair or sometimes re-install depending on what they have on there. The most recent problem was something screwing with the LSP and however many time I repaired the winsock it came straight back and using malware bytes / hijack this etc I have been unable to locate the problems. It seems hook the open file API and attaches itself to all running services. When the machine came on the winsock was flooding my network so re-install turned out the fastest best way.

I keep all data files on a network share so formating is not a prob just a pain without the CDROMS and ultimate boot cd can often help fix these things easy as no infected files run like when you boot into windows.
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Assisted Solution

by:techxperts
techxperts earned 500 total points
ID: 24379604
steadystate still can give them the admin rights on the machine to install etc but allows on a reboot to reset to the stock settings. u can disable it temporarily to install a new program to 'update' the stock configuration then reenable it so its reset on reboots

its really a pretty powerful tool for managing shared systems and allows for exporting profiles and importing to other machines so its the same everywhere. Dont discount it too quickly

Otherwise, u could use GRUB i guess and have it default to the xp install with an option to boot the other partition. heres a walkthrough on grub with multiple OSes
http://www.dedoimedo.com/computers/grub.html
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Expert Comment

by:noxcho
ID: 24379616
How do I tell it to load Ultimate Boot CD? - No way to tell it load CD. Bootable files must be on Partition. Try that HDM.
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by:The_King
ID: 24379651
thanks noxcho.

I see your point but the problem with imaging the disk I face are as follows

1. static IP addresses/machine names will conflict and need changing
2. currently all pc's = identical hardware but not necessarily going to be the case going forwards
3. I maintain the windows installation files slipstreamed with service pack 3 and other progs on my network share for easier install and after making an image I will need to reinstall to make any changes .i.e. slipstream a later anti virus version etc.

Although it may end up my only way.


I dont mind if kids can see boot loader.
I dont mind if kids can see hidden drive (but better hidden from windows to keep viri etc away


So what I think I need is

Disk 0
MBR with good boot loader
partition 0 - ultimate boot cd but I dont know how to get a boot loader to load this
partition 1 - windows xp which I will have installed by running winnt over the network share afetr booting on ultimate boot cd

I can worry about hiding etc later .. I have managed to make an EISA partition using diskpart which is hidden to windows with no drive letter etc but I havent worked out how to put files on it with it being hidden ... lol

So to simplify things I will do it with normal partitions not hidden until I got it working then will worry about hiding.
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by:The_King
ID: 24379662
what I mean by tell it to load ultimate boot cd is after copying the files onto the partition.

How do I tell a boot loader to load them.

where do you point it?
what file do you tell it to pass control to?

thanks
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Accepted Solution

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techxperts earned 500 total points
ID: 24379670
i think u can use unetbootin utility to extract an iso to a drive....maybe try that then  grub bootloader to add it as a bootable option?
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by:The_King
ID: 24379748
I do like the sound of steadystate though

I will go and check it out.


I will also go and look at GRUB is this a boot loader?

although I still think with steadystate it may be good etc but when viri get used to it they will soon learn to add themselves into its restore.

i.e a clever virus not long ago wouldn't let me run combofix it was patching the file on the fly to prevent the crc check from verifying so it would refuse to run and delete itself. It wont be long until they attack steadystate aswell.

whereas with the method I am trying to implement.
1 kids get full access to their machine
2 they get used to normal software you see everywhere so dont come unstuck at school / mates house when they cant find steadystate
3 virus needs to screw whole disk / other partitions (maybe even partitions windows cant see - or maybe even windows cant access)

and if all goes completley wrong I can image one of the other disks over setting my mbr / partitions correct again with ease at which case I can re-install again using my latest slipstream install.
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by:The_King
ID: 24379842
a frugal install using unetbootin
and loaded with grub / lilo

let me get this straight

the frugal install will put the linux kernal / ultimate boot cd files onto a hard disk
grub / lilo will allow me to choose to boot from either hard disk.

is it therefore not possible to just tell grub / lilo to boot from the hard disk with the ultimate boot cd files? by simply copying them on?

do I need the linux kernal as ultimate boot cd can boot from cd so it must have the correct files to boot without the linux kernal. can it not do this from the HDD?



because my ideal solution would be something like
create partitions
copy ultimate boot cd files onto first partition
put on grub / lilo bootloader and tell them how to boot files on first partition

boot in and use ultimate boot cd to install windows over network share
add windows xp into bootloader menu

bingo.

is that possible and if so can you advise on best way to do it?


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Author Comment

by:The_King
ID: 24379857
and when I say boot in and use ultimate boot cd I mean boot into ultimate boot cd located on the hard disk I just setup.

sorry but it sound confusing saying ultimate boot cd (but thats just its name)

I should call it ultimate boot HDD partition :)

thanks
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Author Comment

by:The_King
ID: 24379876
p.s. texperts and noxcho.

thanks for helping and thanks for your patience.

just a shame I cant give you both 500 points :(
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by:The_King
ID: 24379985
although exploring the cd it does appear to have linux on it

a folder called isolinux
and a folder called syslinux

does suggest it boots from a linux kernal!


So if I format the drive in partition magic or similar to a correct file system wether it is fat32 or whatever
then copy the cd onto hard disk in its etirity (but obviously missing its boot sector)
install grub

can I tell grub to boot from that hard disk? and how do I do that? what would grub want pointing to? a sector?a file?a folder?

and which one do I need to pick?

sorry for my lack of underatanding and my many questions but as you can appreciate I need to understand before I try again as I have to shut down and put the hdd disk back in my comp then try it and will have to reboot many times I will struggle to ask questions at the same time as trying so need to build as bigger understanding as possible.
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Author Closing Comment

by:The_King
ID: 31579909
I will go and give it another try using methods you have suggested.

Thanks for you help!

I think I have enough to have a search around and get what I want going

thanks again!
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Author Comment

by:The_King
ID: 24380165
oops meant to split the points!

sorry noxchoo  :(
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by:techxperts
ID: 24380332
if its a linux disc then unetbootin should be all u need...run that from your windows machine with access to the iso you want in the other partition in unetbootin point to the iso then select the drive letter of the other partition in the dropdown and go it should extract the files there and a bootloader. check the site too im sure someone has done this there
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by:techxperts
ID: 24380336
also keep in mind steady state is not system restore its different technology so as far as i know virii etc dont preserve themselves as the do in system restore (for now)
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