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Booting with USB *UPDATED*

This forum is for discussions regarding all aspects of Motorola radio programming, including hardware, computers, installation and use of RSS/CPS, firmware upgrades, and troubleshooting. There are subforums for discussions of codeplugs, and also for software/firmware release notes and issues.

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wavetar
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Booting with USB *UPDATED*

Postby wavetar » Fri Mar 10, 2006 7:05 am

I had to do this recently & thought I'd share a few tips with everyone here.

Booting into DOS from a USB stick sounds easy, and it sort of is, but there are a few hurdles to overcome as well.

The first hurdle is the computer has to be capable of booting from a USB device. If it's not an option in the BIOS, it won't work, period. I confirmed our customer's computer was capable, and one of our work laptops was...so I was ready to test.

I bought an Apacer 256MB USB stick. The software that came with it had a "make bootable" option under the formatting section. I tried that first...it claimed to have made it bootable, but when I tried to boot the computer from it, I just got the "non-system disk, press any key to reboot" error.

After some surfing & reading, it turns out most manufacturer's software doesn't format bootable USB devices correctly...sectors are all out of whack & stuff. The one software everyone agreed was the best & worked nearly all of the time comes from HP...and it works on pretty much any USB device, even your USB camera. You can download the software here.

You will also need the files from a bootable DOS or Win98 floppy, copied into a folder on your hard drive. You can download the image files at http://www.bootdisk.com . Be aware these are self-executable programs which will write the files to a floppy. You can then copy the floppy files into a folder on your computer.

Once I installed & ran the HP formatting software, I chose "create DOS start-up disk" and pointed it to the folder I had the boot files copied to. It formatted the USB stick & copied over only the 3 required DOS boot files. I manually copied over the rest, to give myself some DOS editing commands & stuff in case I needed them.

Well, it worked! The computer booted up & gave me a "C" prompt...I was in good ol' DOS.

Next I manually dragged & dropped my MTSX folder & MTSX.bat file onto the USB stick & once again rebooted the computer from the stick. I typed MTSX at the "C" prompt & the program ran beautifully! I was able to read/write the radio, and save the archives into a folder on the USB stick.

UPDATE: I solved the problem of slow drive access by putting SMARTDRV.EXE on the USB stick, and adding the following line to my autoexec.bat file:

LH C:\smartdrv.exe


As always, the caveats about computer hardware & speed apply...the newer computers capable of booting from USB devices might very well be too fast to read/write a radio reliably. Make sure to read each model of radio you're dealing with 5 or 6 times without failure before you try writing to it.

Todd
Last edited by wavetar on Fri Jan 05, 2007 12:00 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Postby n5tbu » Fri Jan 05, 2007 11:32 am

The HP hyperlink is dead,,any ideas?
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Postby wavetar » Fri Jan 05, 2007 12:01 pm

Hey thanks for letting me know. I've changed the link location so that it works again.

Todd
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Postby n5tbu » Fri Jan 05, 2007 12:59 pm

Thanks Todd!
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Re: Booting with USB *UPDATED*

Postby smokeybehr » Wed Jun 20, 2007 5:48 pm

I had a friend turn me onto the USB method of booting, and yes, it does take a BIOS that will handle booting from USB. It also takes a USB drive that the BIOS will recognize. Here at work, we use USB external drives for imaging the computers, and a problem that we've run into is that some of the drives will be recognized by the computers, and others won't. "ThumbDrives" probably won't have this problem, so YMMV.
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Re: Booting with USB *UPDATED*

Postby wavetar » Sun Sep 28, 2008 5:46 am

As the demands from the computing world dictate, and the technology & processes become more refined, many different (and some easier) ways to accomplish USB booting have been identified. For further information, click on the link below:

http://www.bootdisk.com/pendrive.htm
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Re: Booting with USB *UPDATED*

Postby Jim2121 » Sun Sep 28, 2008 10:25 am

Nice presentation Todd! Jim
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Re: Booting with USB *UPDATED*

Postby 4n6inv » Sat Nov 07, 2009 7:25 pm

OK; I have an insane question... I've managed to make a USB flash drive to run Motorola DOS programs (using MS DOS 6.2x) and have a couple of laptops that will boot from USB. Works great; less filling...The insane question is; Has anyone been able to make an actual USB external hard drive bootable the same way? I have a MAXTOR 150GB external USB hard drive that I'd like to do the same with. Reason being - there are so many different versions of DOS RSS that I can't fit them all on a 2GB flash drive - much less - the codeplug archives. It would be cool as all get out to have all of this on one little wafer thin external HD to keep in my briefcase / laptop bag.

Another cool question is: I have a Dell Mini 9 that has no serial port. I have the IO Gear USB Serial adapter that I have used to program / flash a few of the windows based CPS programs via serial (ie: Astro Spectra, et al.) Is there any possible way to load a driver with the disk and/or flash drive to recognize the USB to serial adapter? Support at IO Gear is clueless. Anyone ever tried to do this madness?

Any ideas?

Thanks!

Jim

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Re: Booting with USB *UPDATED*

Postby Victor Xray » Sun Nov 08, 2009 6:12 am

4n6inv wrote: Has anyone been able to make an actual USB external hard drive bootable the same way?

Yes it works (assuming your laptop supports bootable USB). I use an Iomega eGo anti-drop external drive for some of my DOS RSS programs. It is partitioned, and the FAT32 side boots into DOS like a champ. I can even run Win98 from it.

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Re: Booting with USB *UPDATED*

Postby wavetar » Sun Nov 08, 2009 6:31 am

4n6inv wrote:Another cool question is: I have a Dell Mini 9 that has no serial port. I have the IO Gear USB Serial adapter that I have used to program / flash a few of the windows based CPS programs via serial (ie: Astro Spectra, et al.) Is there any possible way to load a driver with the disk and/or flash drive to recognize the USB to serial adapter? Support at IO Gear is clueless. Anyone ever tried to do this madness?


Hmmm. You can make DOS recognize USB ports, using the info in my other sticky post. However, unless someone has written DOS based drivers for your particular IO Gear adaptor, it won't play. I've never heard of DOS drivers for them. Quatech had a PCMCIA-to-serial product, the SSP-100, which had DOS drivers & worked great, but that's the closest I've seen.
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Re: Booting with USB *UPDATED*

Postby 4n6inv » Sun Nov 08, 2009 7:17 am

Then I'm probably SOL on the Mini 9, except that I can run the DOS based programs on it... It's a great little netbook for doing radio programming - assuming that the CPS is Windows based. Unfortunately; it doesn't have a PCMCIA adapter port. It just has a little funky card reader and three USB ports. I'd be hesitant to use anything but the IO Gear USB to serial because that's what Motorola recommends and I've never had a problem with it. I'm afraid that if I get too far out on the edge emulating DOS and USB drivers for an unproven USB to serial; I might brick a radio.

Thanks for the quick responses!

Jim

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Re: Booting with USB *UPDATED*

Postby grinthock » Wed Nov 18, 2009 4:58 am

I have a 4GB USB stick I setup as bootable with all the required stuff on it, and it works great.

Best part is - it works in any machine with a USB port (as long as it has a hard serial port)

Including my onboard PC in the truck, makes those "on the fly" re-programs a real breeze.

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Re: Booting with USB *UPDATED Aug 2012*

Postby wavetar » Sat Aug 18, 2012 8:55 am

I found another DOS / USB booting method during some browsing. This makes doing it a real breeze:

http://www.pendrivelinux.com/boot-dos-from-usb/
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Re: Booting with USB *UPDATED AUGUST 28 2012*

Postby williamray507 » Tue Aug 28, 2012 3:57 am

Just wanted to put my 2 cents in here. I have a Dell Latitude D430 Laptop that will boot from USB and I was able to boot from a DOS 6.22 Install Floppy with a SanDisk 4GB USB drive plugged in and install DOS to the usb stick. I then copied all of my radio programming software to the drive and successfully Read/Wrote to both a Saber 3 and a Spectra High Power VHF Radio.
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Re: Booting with USB *UPDATED*

Postby KE7JFF » Wed Dec 26, 2012 12:43 pm

What I have for the Toughbook is a custom made MS-DOS Boot CD with the Panasonic USB Mass Storage DOS driver that I pop in and it makes my USB stick the C: drive then I can program away on Spectras.

For all the radios like the MaxTrac with its 3 wire interface, I use DOSBOX with the modified serial driver to use under windows.
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