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USB Boot Solution for Copying Files

Posted on 2016-10-14
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Last Modified: 2016-11-02
I am trying to find a simple solution for booting a PC from a USB Flash Drive just for the purpose of copying files off of the internal Hard Drive. I work for a school and sometimes kids come in with systems so screwed up I can't even boot them into safe mode, and for some reason several students choose not to use Google Drive like they are supposed to.

I don't need this solution to be able to do anything other than copy files to another USB drive but I want it to be quick and easy. CLI would be fine. I have tried other solutions but they don't always work well. I tried an Ubuntu live flash drive but it often gives me issues with reading the internal drive because of the improper shut down of Windows. Also, on one computer there was a problem that caused the system to freeze while booted to Ubuntu and it corrupted my Ubuntu, so a read-only drive would be best.

I really wish there was a solution like target disk mode like on a Mac, this makes everything easier. Also, I know I can pull the drive and plug it into another computer, which I often do, but I would rather not do that if it can be avoided. We are a BYOD environment so I do not like opening up the computers, which many models know have PCI Flash storage instead of regular hard drives, and being liable if any damages occur. Or, in which is the case most often, they have something that was already wrong but then try to claim I did it when I opened up the computer.
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Question by:Kevin Cranford
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Accepted Solution

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rindi earned 300 total points (awarded by participants)
ID: 41843899
I'd suggest using PCRepix for that. It is less resource hungry than Ubuntu, besides, it is designed for this type of use:

http://pcrepix.sourceforge.net/
https://sourceforge.net/projects/pcrepix/files/?source=navbar
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by:Kevin Cranford
ID: 41844056
PCREpix is definitely lighter than Ubuntu Live and doesn't try to make me install anything. It does seem to work but it still more than I would like. Ideally something that boots up and just asks what folder I want to copy and where I want to copy it would be great. I don't need a web browser, office apps, or anything else. Someone recommended Ultimate Boot CD so I am going to try that and see how it works.
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LVL 53

Assisted Solution

by:Joe Winograd, EE MVE
Joe Winograd, EE MVE earned 200 total points (awarded by participants)
ID: 41844103
Hi Kevin,
You could create a bootable WinPE environment on a USB flash drive and then write a simple script that just asks what folder you want to copy and where you want to copy it. My answer in this other EE thread outlines the approach:
https://www.experts-exchange.com/questions/28909948/Autoit-script-to-read-a-file-name-and-write-it-into-txt-ini-file.html#a41404432

The AutoHotkey script that I created for that question serves a different purpose, but it would be easy to create one that does what you want, and in whatever scripting language you prefer. Regards, Joe
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LVL 53

Expert Comment

by:Joe Winograd, EE MVE
ID: 41869862
Selecting rindi's post as the Accepted Solution, since the asker said that it does seem to work. Even though it is more than the asker would like in this particular case, other EE members with a similar requirement would be well-served to find this solution in the PAQ.

Selecting Joe Winograd's post as an Assisted Solution, since the method was shown to work in another EE thread and, once again, other EE members with a similar requirement would be well-served to find this solution in the PAQ.

Splitting the points between the two experts, with an edge to the Accepted Solution.
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