The easiest guide to a bootable USB flash drive ever
People often inquire how to make a flash drive bootable. There are many tutorials out there, some to greater success than others, but Icrontic is here to give you the definitive answer. All that’s required are two programs, and an arsenal of floppy images that you’ll want to put on the flash drive. When all is said and done, you’ll be able to boot into a spiffy menu that will give you the option to launch any one of the utilities you have selected with the touch of a button. Best of all, your USB key will still be usable in Windows, Linux, or anywhere else you desire.
The first task is to get all of our utilities installed and ready before we move on. First we’re going to download and install HP’s amazing USB key utility. It formats your drive completely (So make sure any important data is saved!) and installs a very small distribution of Linux, and a boot record so a PC can start your flash drive as it would a hard drive. The small distribution of Linux allows you to launch multiple bootable DOS applications from a single menu, which the HP utility will help you do.
The down side to the HP utility is that it can only add a bootable DOS app to the menu if that application has been installed to a floppy disk already. The utility makes 1:1 image of the contents of the floppy and stores it on your flash drive, so we’ll need a floppy drive of some sort. As most people don’t have a floppy drive to their name, we’ll be using a virtual floppy drive that Windows will identify as it would a normal floppy drive. A utility called “Virtual Floppy Disk” will provide us with this functionality, and will stand in for the clunky real McCoy.