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29 - Boot Hirens Boot CD as an ISO file from a USB drive (versions 13 & 14)

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Note: This also works with version 13.2 and 14.0 (14.0 uses a different menu entry)

Hiren's Boot CD is a heavily modified and illegal version of Microsoft Windows XP and contains some software which is not copyright free or distribution-right free (considered Warez). However, it is very prevalent on the internet and the ISO file can be easily downloaded. If you have a licence to run Windows XP on your computer (e.g. if your computer has a Windows XP, Windows Vista Business or Ultimate or Windows 7 Professional or Ultimate Certificate Of Authenticity label on it) then you can legally run XP (but only on that computer). As for the Warez software, I leave that up to your own conscience but strictly speaking it would be illegal to use that software.

Hiren's Boot CD 13.1 now even includes RMPrepUSB v2.1.617 (v13.2 includes RMPrepUSB v2.1.620), even though no permission was asked and the software is copyrighted and distribution is forbidden! However, in this case I will regard it as a form of flattery!

This tutorial describes how to include the HBCD ISO file on your grub4dos multi-boot USB drive so you can boot to a mini-XP on most PCs and Notebooks directly from the ISO file. For more information on what utilities are contained on HBCD please visit the web site here.

Note: If you want to extract the contents of the HBCD ISO file to your USB pen (i.e. format the USB drive, copy the files within the ISO onto it and then install grub4dos) you can simply add this menu entry to your existing grub4dos multiboot \menu.lst file, which will then use the /HBCD/menu.lst file that will be on the USB drive after you copy the HBCD contents over:

title Hiren's BootCD
find --set-root /HBCD/menu.lst
configfile /HBCD/menu.lst

See Tutorial 36 for details of this method of using the extracted files from HBCD. Tutorial 36 does not require the system to have 1GB of RAM and boots faster.

However, if you want to boot from the HBCD ISO file, here is how to do it...

Step 1 - select your USB drive

I assume that you already have a USB Flash memory drive or USB Hard disk. This drive should be prepared using RMPrepUSB and have grub4dos already installed. You should also have an existing menu.lst file. If you do not have such a drive already prepared, use RMPrepUSB to wipe it and make partition of 1GB or more using these RMPrepUSB settings:

    1 - MAX
    2 - HIRENS (or any name you like)
    3 - MSDOS
    4 - FAT16 + Boot as HDD  (or FAT32 + Boot as HDD if the drive is over 2GB)
    5 - leave unticked
    6 - click Prepare Drive

    then use the Install grub4dos button to install grub4dos and copy over the grldr file.

Step 2 - download Hiren's Boot CD

  1. Download the ZIP file for HBCD v13.1 from here. Click on the download link for the ZIP file (located 3/4 of the way down the page).

    The file is currently called - check the file size is correct after you have downloaded it!
  2. Now extract the contents of the ZIP file using 7Zip or your favourite unzip program. You should see a file called Hiren's.BootCD.13.1.iso.
  3. Copy this file to your USB drive. In this example I have an images folder on my USB drive which I keep all my ISO images in, so make an Images folder on your USB drive and copy the Hiren's.BootCD.13.1.iso file to there.
  4. Rename the ISO file to HirensBCD.13.1.iso

Step 3 - edit your menu.lst

Add the following entry to your menu.lst file on your USB drive using Notepad or your favourite text editor: 

title Hirens Boot CD 13.1 using  firadisk \nBoot to Hirens XP Boot CD in RAM 
find --set-root --ignore-floppies --ignore-cd /Images/HirensBCD.13.1.iso
map --mem /Images/firadisk.gz (fd0)
map --mem /Images/HirensBCD.13.1.iso (0xff)
map --hook
root (0xff)
chainloader (0xff)

#for version 14 use this menu entry

title Hirens Boot CD 14.0\nISO file must be contiguous
find --set-root --ignore-floppies --ignore-cd /Images/HirensBCD.14.0.iso
map /Images/HirensBCD.14.0.iso (0xff)
map --hook
root (0xff)
chainloader (0xff)

You can try booting from the USB drive either using an emulator like QEMU under Windows, or by using a real system and changing the BIOS boot order so that it boots from the USB drive. You should see your grub4dos menu. When selected you should then see the iso start to load into memory as shown below:

A little later you should see the Hirens Boot CD main menu:

Choose the Mini Windows Xp option, and a little later you should see the Hirens Boot CD Windows XP desktop as below:

HBCD Desktop with the HBCD Menu opened by the user.

Note that once booted, you can remove the USB boot drive as the whole copy of XP is running from RAM. 
You must have at least 512MB of RAM available in the system.
  • To set up networking, click on the Network Setup desktop icon. 
  • For wireless connectivity, first run Install all Hardware (HWPnP) and then run the Wireless Setup link. 
  • You can then run Opera by clicking on the blue Internet icon on the desktop. 
  • Click on the HBCD Menu icon to install and run more software from the WinTools folder, including RMPrepUSB (see screenshot above). 
  • To access the USB drive that you booted HBCD from, unplug it and re-insert it. 
  • Click on the EN icon in the system tray to change keyboard layout.

keywords: hirens, hiren, hiren's, 13.2, v13.2, iso

Updated on Aug 29, 2011 by Steve Si (Version 47)

Attachments (4)

hbcd_download link.jpg - on Feb 12, 2011 by Steve Si (Version 1)

hbcd_desktop.jpg - on Feb 12, 2011 by Steve Si (Version 1)

hbcd_menu1.jpg - on Feb 12, 2011 by Steve Si (Version 1)

hbcd_loading_to_memory.jpg - on Feb 12, 2011 by Steve Si (Version 1)