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Windows 7: Can't Boot from a 2GB USB flash drive

21 Dec 2010   #1
mjf

Windows 7x64 Home Premium SP1
 
 
Can't Boot from a 2GB USB flash drive

I have a problem booting from 2GB USB flash drives. I have no problem with
4 GB USBs. I've tried 3 different 2GB flash drives (2 brands Lexar, Toshiba)

Examples include the USB bootable system repair and the Hirens boot USB.
Both are under 500MB! Both are fine with 4GB USBs.

The computer's an Acer Aspire desktop.
I can't see anything obvious in the BIOS settings - I'm totally puzzled.


My System SpecsSystem Spec
.
21 Dec 2010   #2
Ageeb

Windows 7 Ultimate x64
 
 

does bios see it during POST?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
21 Dec 2010   #3
mjf

Windows 7x64 Home Premium SP1
 
 

The BIOS sees it. I'm bios booting with F12 (in my case) and selecting the USB.
I have an option in the bios which USBs under 2GB as floppies. I have changed this to view all USBs as HDD - still doesn't work. Do exactly the same thing with a 4GB and it always boots.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
.

21 Dec 2010   #4
Ageeb

Windows 7 Ultimate x64
 
 

I realize these are boring questions, but have you tried the created 2GB flash drives in another setup to verify they are actually bootable?

What else could be different between them? Are the 2GB drives being formatted as FAT16 vs 32 for the 4GB?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
21 Dec 2010   #5
mjf

Windows 7x64 Home Premium SP1
 
 

Ageeb,
No other (computer) system to try but I don't think it would prove that much.
Because these are live boot USBs the BIOS bypasses the windows disk MBR (& disk) all together. So the key elements are I think

BIOS---On board USB controller..................CPU+memory
...........................|
........................USB Flash drive

Still trying to figure it out. Anything windows (eg. System repair disk) works fine on 4GB USB although it only needs 200MB!
On the 2GB USB anything linux works. I have Linux Mint 9 Isadora (800MB) installed boots works perfectly.
Done the usual
Clean, create partition primary, select partition 1, active, format fs=ntfs
+ format fs=fat32.

Comes back with Disk read error occurred - Ctrl+alt+del to restart
(Probably a bios generated error message).
So it looks like something to do with the BIOS and USB controller????
My System SpecsSystem Spec
21 Dec 2010   #6
Golden
Microsoft MVP

Windows 7 Ult. x64
 
 

Hi Guys,

I think the reason is there is an insufficient amount of space on a 2GB USB for Windows 7 to "unpack" the installation files - it requires some temporary working space too.

As far as I am aware, to install from USB, the mimimum size is 4GB. See this tutorial Windows 7 USB/DVD Download Tool

Regards,
Golden
My System SpecsSystem Spec
21 Dec 2010   #7
Ageeb

Windows 7 Ultimate x64
 
 

I really can't think of what's not jiving. It would be interesting if you could repartition a spare 4GB as 1x 2GB active partition (rest whatever) and repeat procedure. I agree it has to be BIOS related.

Is there a legacy USB option in BIOS? is it Enabled/Disabled?

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Golden
Hi Guys,

I think the reason is there is an insufficient amount of space on a 2GB USB for Windows 7 to "unpack" the installation files - it requires some temporary working space too.

As far as I am aware, to install from USB, the mimimum size is 4GB. See this tutorial Windows 7 USB/DVD Download Tool

Regards,
Golden
I don't recall it being a specific problem to creating a windows 7 USB installer. Or I misunderstood something...

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by mjr
Examples include the USB bootable system repair and the Hirens boot USB.
Both are under 500MB! Both are fine with 4GB USBs.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
21 Dec 2010   #8
Golden
Microsoft MVP

Windows 7 Ult. x64
 
 

Perhaps I misunderstood, but in order to create a USB Windows 7 installer, there is a mimimum of 4GB required.

Quote:
What size USB flash drive is required?
Quote:
You need a USB flash drive with a minimum of 4 GB of free space.
See the FAQ in Microsoft Store: Windows 7 USB/DVD Download Tool Help
My System SpecsSystem Spec
21 Dec 2010   #9
mjf

Windows 7x64 Home Premium SP1
 
 

Golden,
The Windows 7 installer I think you're referring to is for the full deal - OS. I'm talking about the system repair dvd which you can install (for convenience) on a USB and is of the order of 200MB.

I used Partition Wizard to create a lot of unallocated space on the (system repair) bootable usb, leaving around 700MB. Booted fine. But then that's probably to be expected since a 4GB USB is still detected.

If I flip the bit on a 4GB USB it will change it to removable HDD which can be partitioned. But I don't think it's really proving much.

There is a setting in the (AMI) BIOS which treats a USB like a HDD or a floppy. In the auto mode (default) anything less than it 2GB treats like a floppy anything greater than 2GB is treated as a HDD. I changed this mode to HDD for all sizes before posting the problem.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
21 Dec 2010   #10
Golden
Microsoft MVP

Windows 7 Ult. x64
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by mjf View Post
The Windows 7 installer I think you're referring to is for the full deal - OS. I'm talking about the system repair dvd which you can install (for convenience) on a USB and is of the order of 200MB.
Ah OK, I misunderstood you since I was indeed referring to the full installer. Were you able to get it sorted?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
Reply

 Can't Boot from a 2GB USB flash drive




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