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Bootable USB drive follies

A few months back I bought a Sandisk Cruzer Mini 256MB "pen drive". I use it off and on for transporting files and stuff when I don't feel like burning a CD-ROM. These little things are really handy.

Recently I was doing some research to find out if a bootable USB drive was possible. The answer: Yes it is, but it's not easy.

Long story short: I was able to boot from a USB pen drive and got a Windows 95 prompt. Couldn't believe it. It really does work. Then I got brave and tried to load Windows 98 completely on a pen drive to see if the operating system would actually work on it. It almost did but kept crashing right before the install completed.

After FDISK'ing the flash drive a few times I completely corrupted the data on it and I thought I hosed it for good. Windows XP would not read the pen drive any longer. I was bummed out about that.

As a last ditch effort I booted up my Stinkpad Thinkpad which has Windows 98 on it thinking I could reformat the drive from there, and voila - I was able to reformat the pen drive. Yay. (grin) I can still use it.

Lesson learned: If you're gonna FDISK a pen drive, make sure you have a computer with Windows 95 or 98 around somewhere, you may need it if you hose your pen drive. It might be the only way to get it working again. 🙂

050117

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