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Welcome to the home of RMPrepUSB

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RM'sPreparation utility for USB drives

Partition and format your USB drive and make it bootable with RMPrepUSB (a Windows utility)

RMPrepUSB and RMPartUSB are  freeware  utilities for private use only - no registration is required, and all versions are unlimited versions and do not contain any adware or viruses.

Please do not distribute these utilities without the authors permission as these utilities are not 'copyright free', 'free software', 'Open Source' or 'Open Licence' products, but are products which are made available for private use at zero cost.

Commercial use (i.e. selling it or included it in another product) and distribution is forbidden and you need to contact RM for licensing costs if you wish to include or re-distribute it as part of a commercial solution.
Email: support@rm.com for licence enquiries.
Please note: No licence is required for the internal use of RMPrepUSB by technicians/engineers within a company.


Portable: RMPrepUSB is portable and does not need to be installed, but it does write some settings to the Registry when you exit the application.
These settings are removed from the Registry when you uninstall RMPrepUSB.

http://sites.google.com/site/rmprepusb/_/rsrc/1314697416599/home/dwonarrow.jpg Download RMPrepUSB v2.1.620   
(current release)

- OR -                                                                                    

  http://sites.google.com/site/rmprepusb/_/rsrc/1314698379273/home/dwonarrowble.jpg     Download RMPrepUSB v2.1.627
                                                                          (latest version  with latest bug-fixes and new features - recommended)

 

      <<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<< Look - over 50 tutorials about how to make bootable USB drives!

RMPrepUSB was originally developed for  RM Education  customers, but RM Education plc have given permission for it to be publicly released - this website is maintained privately by the author to continue its development.

 


WebSite Objectives

  • To provide a 'free for private use' Windows utility for making bootable USB Flash drives which fixes some of the problems that the HP Format Tool has.  
  • This site is intended to provide users with the latest versions of RMPrepUSB and RMPartUSB and to continue their development and improvement.  
  • Users can contact the author via Reboot.pro or via the Contact Me page.  
  • To provide tutorials, links and How To articles to help you through your journey of discovery in USB Boot-Land!  
  • To provide a 'one-stop shop' for all Windows users for syslinux, grub4dos and bootable USB drive 'roll your own' solutions.

About RMPrepUSB

  • RMPrepUSB is a front end graphical user interface (see screenshot Fig. 1 below)  for the Windows command line program RMPartUSB.
  • RMPartUSB is a command line Windows program that can access USB storage devices, e.g. flash memory  (UFDs)  or USB hard disks or USB card readers, and partition and format them to make them bootable.
  • Supported Operating Systems that will run RMPrepUSB/RMPartUSB include: Windows XP, Vista, Server 2003, Server 2008, Windows 7. 32-bit and 64-bit versions are fully supported. WinPE v2 and v3 is also supported but the  Copy OS Files option may not work and you will need to type in the folder path instead.
  • Bootable Operating systems: You can make a USB pen that will boot to MS-DOS, FreeDOS, WinPE v1, v2 or v3, BartPE, XP, Vista, Win 7, linux (via grub4dos or syslinux boot loaders).
  • Portable - RMPartUSB andRMPrepUSB uses a vb6 DLL which is normally already present in Windows but is included in the download. The Installer version merely copies files and adds Desktop and Start Menu shortcuts, it includes an un-installer but you can just as easily simply delete the folder from your hard drive. These apps do NOT require .NET Framework support or WMI support.

Useful Terminology

  • USB - Universal Serial Bus - a specification to allow communication between a device and a host controller
  • USB Drive - a storage device that communicates via USB
  • USB Hard Disk - a hard disk that connects to a host controller (e.g. computer) using USB
  • USB Flash drive    - a flash memory dive that connects to a host controller (e.g. computer) using USB
  • UFD - USB Flash drive
  • Bootable UFD - a USB flash drive that a computer can boot from instead of a hard disk or CDROM/DVD
  • Pen drive - a nickname for a UFD
  • Thumb drive - a nickname for a UFD
  • Fake USB Flash drive - a USB flash drive that reports its capacity incorrectly and may also contain faulty flash memory.
  • PBR - Partition Boot Record, contains the boot code and filesystem tables. It is located at the start of a formatted partition and is typically used to boot an OS.
  • VBR - Volume Boot Record - see PBR - alternative name for PBR
  • MBR - 512 byte Master Boot Record, contains the initial boot code which determines which partition to boot to. A partition table within the MBR contains details of where the partitions are located and which one is bootable. Floppy disks do not have an MBR. ZIP disks do have an MBR but boot as large (super) floppy drives.
  • OS - Operating System such as Windows, MS-DOS, FreeDOS, linux, etc.

http://sites.google.com/site/rmprepusb/_/rsrc/1288519631210/home/USB.png

 


 

 

 

Fig 1. RMPrepUSB 2.1.620 Screenshot

 

 

Fig. 1a - Select one of 17 languages...

 

 

 

    Fig. 2 RMPrepUSB 2.1.620 Help window screenshot (includes F11 = Run QEMU emulator)

Use the 'Get Latest Version' button to check for the latest fully released version of RMPrepUSB.

  

RMPrepUSB is a user-friendly Windows graphical front-end which calls it's brother application  RMPartUSB (which does all the hard  work!).
RMPartUSB is a Windows command line utility and does not have a GUI and can be used in batch/script files (type RMPartUSB to see help/usage text in a Windows command console). RMPartUSB makes a partition of any size and is primarily intended for USB Flash Drive (UFD) memory sticks, although it can be used on USB hard drives or USB card readers to create a bootable partition or even non-USB drives.  RMPartUSB also places boot code on the USB device for either XP/WinPEv1 (ntldr), Vista/WinPEv2/Win7 (bootmgr), MS-DOS (io.sys) or FreeDos (kernel.sys).  RMPartUSB does not place any files on the UFD - you must copy these over yourself or set the Copy OS Files option in RMPrepUSB  to copy over the contents of a folder of your choice.

  

What do the buttons in RMPrepUSB actually  do?

  • Prepare - Runs RMPartUSB which will wipe, partition and format the selected USB drive using the preset options (set by items 1-5). Then copy over files from a preset folder (optional).
  • USB Info - shows partition info of the selected USB drive (displays any sector)
  • Quick Size Test - Checks the drive capacity in just a few minutes by writing and reading to  certain blocks. This test will DESTROY any  files on your USB drive and is not a thorough test, if it passes then use H2TESTW for a thorough test (which can take many hours!)
  • Speed Test - Reads and writes approx. 63MB of data sequentially to your USB drive to calculate the read and write speed. This test will not destroy any data on your USB drive, however if anything goes wrong you may lose all your drives contents! Results are appended to a CSV file every time it is run, so you can build up a speed library. Note that real life use of the USB drive when using a filesystem will always give slower results. Also, results will vary depending on what OS you have and the USB drivers and chipset used in the mainboard.
  • Install grub4dos - This installs grub4dos onto your USB drive. You can replace the version shipped with RMPrepUSB with a version of your own by replacing grubinst.exe and grldr in the RMPrepUSB folder, if you like. Grub4dos boot files normally contain a menu.lst file to  present the user with  menu boot options.  
  • Clean - wipes the first 100 sectors on the USB drive. If your system is having trouble accessing your USB drive, try this option and remove and re-insert the USB drive.
  • ImageTools
    • File -> USB - Reads the contents of a binary image file and write it to the USB drive
    • USB -> File - Reads the contents of the USB drive (sectors) and writes them to a file
      • Note: These two commands are quite powerful and can be used to save and restore USB drive images (or just partition images or even just single sectors). They can be used in a similar way to dd.exe but more safely. For instance you could replace just the MBR on a USB drive or write a bootrom file to a USB drive (e.g. PXE boot rom). If you are unsure what options to choose, use '0' or the suggested default. v2.1.625+ can also convert virtual drives to raw images and copy these to your USB drive.
    • File Info - Displays partition information about the MBR (or any sector) on the USB drive
  • Eject - Ejects the drive so you can safely remove it without causing any filesystem corruption. ALWAYS use this button (or the Windows Safely Remove Drive USB icon in the system tray) before pulling out the USB plug. As long as you do this you should never get a 'corrupted drive - format drive?' message from Windows ever again!
  • Refresh - re-detects USB drives (RMPrepUSB detects any new drives that are inserted after a few seconds automatically).
  • Install Syslinux  - runs the syslinux.exe command to install the syslinux boot code to the USB drive - does not wipe or format the USB drive.
  • Create Ext2 FS   - creates a file on the USB stick (e.g. casper-rw) of any name and size which can be recognised and mounted as an ext2 filesystem by linux OS's. Useful for persistent Live linux OS distros.
  • Test using QEMU Emulator (F11) - uses the QEMU emulator to boot your USB drive within Windows. You can boot to linux or WinPE or Windows within a QEMU emulator window. This does not change your system in any way. Useful to test out grub4dos or syslinux menus or check that your USB drive actually boots without needing to unplug it and plug it into another system every time.

There are some options that allow the UFD to boot either as a super-floppy (ZIP) drive or a Fixed disk (HDD). Thus DOS or FreeDos can boot from a UFD as either the A: drive or the C: drive depending on how you partition and format it using the options available. These options though are highly dependent on what BIOS you use when you boot the USB drive as there are no BIOS standards.

  

What do the  boot  options in RMPrepUSB actually do?

  • Set drive as non-bootable  - Does not set the Active flag on the first partition - useful if you just want to make a non-bootable UFD so that if left in a system, the system will not try to boot from it when you switch it on.  

Size  - by default the maximum size for the UFD will be used. If you want a smaller size then change this (e.g. 500)  
Volume Label  - change this text box to set the volume label (11 characters max).

  • NOTE: The FDD, ZIP and HDD options below are all BIOS dependant - the BIOS determines how a system boots and each BIOS has a slightly different way of interpreting these options!
  • Boot as FDD - No MBR or partition table is used, floppy disk drive number is used in PBR.  
  • Boot as ZIP - Changes some bytes in the Volume Boot Sector Bios Parameter Block table to indicate that the device is a floppy disk and not a hard disk and uses 64hd/32spt translation if possible.  
  • Boot as HDD (2PTNS)  - adds a second hidden very small partition to the partition table. Some BIOSes, when they see a UFD with two partitions, automatically assume that the device must be a hard disk (as ZIP removable devices are defined as having a single partition). Selecting this option increases the chances that any BIOS will boot the UFD as a fixed disk rather than as a ZIP disk. Many thanks to online for this discovery!  
  • Force use of LBA calls  - Use this option if you have problems booting on certain systems. This option sets the CHS values in the partition table to the maximum value and thus should help to ensure that a BIOS uses 255 heads x 63 sectors per track LBA translation values. If you have problems booting, try ticking or unticking this option. It may work for some systems but not for others.  
  • Use 64hd/32sec if poss.. - if the partition is not too large (<1GB) then RMPartUSB uses 64hds and 32 sectors per track for the partition table values, rather than the standard 255hds/63spt values used in modern LBA (Logical Block Address) systems. Selecting this option or the ZIP option (which also uses this 64/32 option) is often successful in booting a UFD as a ZIP device (A:). If the partition is larger than 1GB then the next translation up is used (e.g. if 1.5GB then 128hds/32spt is used).  

 

Want to know more? A large and detailed PDF is included with RMPrepUSB (just click on the Help - OK button) or it can be downloaded separately on the Downloads page in this website or visit the Manual page here.

 

 

Runs under Windows XP, BartPE, WinPE, Hirens miniXP, WinPE (32-bit), Vista and Windows 7 (32-bit & 64-bit)

 

The ideal utility for grub4dos geeks who like to make their own bootable USB drives!

Boot to MS-DOS, linux, FreeDos, Windows XP/Vista/7/SVR2K8, grub4dos, syslinux, etc.

Create a casper-rw persistent filesystem on your USB drive.

Press F11 and test booting from your USB drive inside Windows using the QEMU emulator.

 

 

Note: Quickly test your USB flash drive with RMPrepUSB Quick Size Test. See  here  for more details.


 

If your language is not currently supported in RMPrepUSB or you find some of the text missing/wrong,  
why not edit and send me your own version of the <language.ini> file?

You can make your own easily - just  edit  a .\Lang\xxxx.ini text file and test it yourself immediately - it's easy!

 

As seen in the German  com!  magazine  article  which features several uses of RMPrepUSB.   
To read the article, click  
here  and then click on the PDF button.

 

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