Make USB key bootable

TimSharpe02118 used Ask the Experts™
I need to make a USB key bootable with DOS. We are using this with Ghost 7 to image a bunch of tablets and desktops. I know Ghost 7.5 is ancient but we are non profit and that is what we have. Anyway, I’ve tried a bunch of stuff and I am stuck. I downloaded the HP Drive Key Boot Utility and that just hangs when I try to run it. I also looked that the articles on and I get stuck on formatting the USB drive with FAT16. I can format it with FAT but not FAT16. I run the command “format e: /FS: FAT16” and I get the error “Format is not available for FAT16 drives”.
Anyway, I need and easy way to make the USB Drive bootable and transfer my Ghost files and dos drivers for the nic cards onto it. I already have a floppy that works for the PCs in question which I use with my 1 USB Floppy drive. I’d really just like to make a duplicate of that onto the USB flash drive.
Watch Question

Do more with

Expert Office
EXPERT OFFICE® is a registered trademark of EXPERTS EXCHANGE®
Most Valuable Expert 2015

Why use Ghost? PartedMagic is open-source and free, you can download a USB version. It includes ghost4unix so it should have no problems imaging your PC's. Also GParted which also comes with it can do some partition copying.
Here is my instructions how to build this multi-boot USB key:

You could create a multi-boot USB key. It's base on syslinux loader which will prompt you to select a proper Image of MS-DOS floppy. Ghost.exe is located on the USB key (but not included into floppy image). Everything loads very quickly and also certain models of computers might be using the same drivers (hereby you will need less images than HW models). For example with one image you could load the same NIC driver for Dell D400, D410, GX620, GX745. You will need the separate drivers for GX755 and E4x00.

Suggest you try the older version of syslinux:

Hope it helps


igor-1965, I followed your instructions and the tablet will not boot from the USB drive, I have the BIOS set to boot from USB fisrt. Also, your link to syslinux is invalid. I downloaded from another site.
Hmm... the link to syslinux is working just fine...

When you boot from USB, are you receiving any error message?


Igor - I was rtefering to the lonk in the previos post (( but since that question is closed I guess you cannot edit it.
When I boot with the USB nothing happens other than it boots to Windows as if there were no bootable USB. As I said the USB is first on the list in boot order in BIOS.
Sometimes in the BIOS, when you tell it that you want to boot from the USB, you have 2 steps. One, of course, put the USB in the boot order at the top.

Secondly, some BIOS have an option that says 'Boot from Removable Devices' - If this is disabled, it will simply ignore your USB.

You may also, depending on your situation, want to just start from the beginning with your USB stick. It could be that maybe it just didn't get configured to boot correctly.

Try this:
Could you re-download syslinux from the and retry to format USB, then install syslinux on it.
Let's say after formatting the USB appears on your computer as E: Drive:
From subfolder  \syslinux\win32 run the following command in command-prompt: syslinux -fm e:

Do more with

Expert Office
Submit tech questions to Ask the Experts™ at any time to receive solutions, advice, and new ideas from leading industry professionals.

Start 7-Day Free Trial