Friday, April 15, 2011

Booting an NTFS-formatted thumbdrive

There are times when you'd like to boot from a thumbdrive that is formatted for NTFS. You dutifully follow instructions for copying bootable code to the drive, but it refuses to boot. What's wrong?
Unless you set the boot sector to make the drive bootable, no amount of "diddling" the data on the drive will make a difference.

So: how do you get the boot sector set?

Check your workstation to see if you have a copy of "bootsect.exe" on your system. If you do, you're already set; if you don't, you'll need to grab a copy from your installation media.

Once you have it, format your thumbdrive with NTFS, then issue the following command on the drive letter for the thumbdrive:
bootsect /nt60 x:
where "x:" is the letter for the thumbdrive:

Add your custom files, and the thumbdrive should behave as you'd expect.

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