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How-To Guide: Install AROS on a USB Pen Drive (in Windows XP) + How to Make a VMDK Association in VB

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How to Install IC-AROS On A Pen-Drive in Windows XP
By: ‘The Timelord’; 7th August 2011

After various forms of testing, I found a single, reliable solution to the somewhat convoluted process of installing AROS onto a pen-drive (e.g. USB flash drive / ‘thumb drive’, etc.) Initially, I had hoped for a clean, simple, easy-boot solution via tools such as UNetbootin, only to find that this was not possible; UNetbootin does not physically emulate an ISO-9660 filesystem, but rather it generates a start-up script with the information from a CD/DVD image stored in a FAT-32 filesystem.

This isn’t a problem for Linux, but unfortunately, as AROS doesn’t support bootstrapping from FAT16/32 partitions, this potentially elegant solution is impossible (at least, for the present). Further compound this with the fact that it is impossible to partition a pen drive under Windows XP with Diskpart as detailed in the IC-AROS user manual, and you can see the fumes of frustration forming in the aether.

You can use the tool, Bootice to create different partition maps on such devices in Windows XP, but even with that programme, it remains impossible to add un-partitioned space to the device. This is due to how Windows XP handles USB pen drives, and all devices that the OS tags as removable media. What a lovely predicament, all thanks to ‘Microsoft knowing-best’.


Overcoming the Obstacles

My first thought was to use the enclosed emulator, QEMU to bootstrap the image and to format the pen drive, but this didn’t want to behave. Loading AROS from the ISO image with the pen drive attached (using QMAN60) caused AROS to crash before it could even complete loading the Wanderer Screen.

There is, however, a way to do this...


Visiting The Oracle

Oracle’s VirtualBox (Current Version, 4.1) does exactly what you will need to complete this operation! Therefore, you must download and install it before you can proceed: The installation will take a while, and will halt to ask for your approval for each of the unsigned drivers--Microsoft deems them ‘Non-Windows-Logo-Approved’—and you should not do anything else with the system whatsoever while the installation is in progress.

I found that if I switched into another application while installing VirtualBox, it would cause my entire system to hang in one horrifying beep of death requiring a power-cycle reboot. After installing, you will need to configure a VM:

* When you are asked for a hard drive, select ‘None’ and click ‘OK” when it tells you that you may not be able to boot the virtual system without one.
* Once it loads, click the gold seal icon to create a new system, and set the system as follows:

* Leave all preferences as standard/factory, except:
* Operating System: Linux
* Version: Other Linux
* Storage: No HDD; CD/DVD-ROM Image (Select AROS Live, or other distro ISO file)
* Save the system; do not start it yet.

* Go to FILE-->Preferences (or press CTL-G)
* Select ‘Input’
* Change the hotkey to one that you actually have. Many netbook systems do not have a right control key…
* Turn off ‘auto-capture keyboard’.
* Click ‘OK’ to save.

* Insert your pen drive, if it is not already.
You do not need to modify its partitions at all! Remove all USB drives from the system aside from the one you are going to format in AROS. (I was able to safely use an external drive to load the ISO and AROS wouldn’t format it, but don’ put your faith in my dumb luck...)

* Start the emulator.

* As soon as the emulator starts, pause it by selecting Machine-->Pause, which you will find in the menus for that VM window.
* Then select Devices-->USB Devices-->USB 2.0 Flash Drive 0100
Windows will need to install the driver for the VirtualBox USB link. Let it find the driver, and as before (when installing VirtualBox), do not do anything else when it is installing. It will ask you for permission to configure it, as this driver is also unsigned and ‘Not Windows-Logo-Approved’. You’ll get around one-dozen of these warnings and will have to approve each one. If this bothers you, then you’re on your own as to finding another option… You can always run VirtualBox on a VirtualPC image, if you’re terrified, but I don’t want to think of how brilliant that would be to attempt.
* Once the driver has settled into place, you can un-pause the emulator: This allows AROS to ‘see’ your USB device.

* When AROS loads, launch the ‘Install AROS’ script as outlined in the ’AROS User Manual’, on Page-13.
* Similar to the instructions in the manual, you need to change the device-type from ‘IDE/SATA’ to ‘USB’.
* You also need to select the button option ‘Wipe Disk’.

* Proceed with the installation as normal from this point.

The result of this will be a pen drive that bootstraps directly into AROS, and had no other partitions. I advise using a 4GB pen drive for the process, as you can always use another drive (FAT-16) for file-sharing, and AROS only needs a tad-more than 2GB for a full-install (from the ’IC-AROS Live!’ ISO image).

If you are using ’IC-AROS Light’, or a similar small distro (e.g. ‘AspireOS’) you can install to a 1GB pen drive. It is possible of course to do a bare-bones install to even small devices I’m fairly certain you can even do this with a 256MB pen drive if you desire, but 4GB pen drives are inexpensive and plentiful. I used a PNY-branded pen drive, but almost any will suffice.

I do advise copying the 'adstuff' drawer and its contents from the CD/DVD ISO image to your new pen drive. You will need to use the menu option View-->All o display it, as it doesn't have a .info file on the installer disc; this is very useful as it allows you to install AROS on additional devices without running it in a VM.

That means you can install AROS on another drive--even another USB pen drive--from within your new bootable AROS installation, on your USB pen drive device. If you fail to copy this now, you will find making additional AROS systems just a tad more difficult: For one thing, HDToolbox is quite the mischief, and the installer makes creating a volume on a pen drive and formatting it, one streamlined process.

Once you have installed AROS onto your pen drive, you can close the emulator, exit Windows, reboot and load AROS from your pen drive by entering your boot-options screen and opting for Boot from USB-Device, or whatever term your system BIOS deems it.

The exact method for entering this screen varies from system to system, but is generally 0, F1, F10, F12, DEL, or something along those lines. If you don’t know how to do this, consult your system manual.

Note: The USB pen drive made using this tutorial is for booting on real hardware: The drive is now a pure SFS filesystem device, so it will not be accessible in Windows or Linux, though you can still attach it as normal, and it will display as an attached device with an unknown file system; it is bootable only via your USB-Boot BIOS screen, or possibly via other bootstrapping software, or via VM configuration. (VirtualBox declares it as: 'Not a bootable device' if you simly try to re-boot with it in USB-mode; this is normal.)

If you want to boot your pen drive in Virtual Box, you will need to add a VMDK definition for it. To do this, first locate your \.Virtualbox\ directory. You will need to know where this is. Chances are it is at:
"C:\Documents and Settings\User\.VirtualBox"
You will also need to know the path to your VirtualBox installation; that is, the directory containing VirtualBox.exe. This should be the easy part to find.

To create the VMDK, first:
* Click Start-->Run-->diskmgmt.msc-->(Enter)
* Locate the drive or partition that you wish to use, and note its disk number.
* Click Start-->Run-->CMD-->(Enter)
* CD to the directory containing VirtualBox.exe and input the following command, changing ## to your drive number:
VBoxManage internalcommands createrawvmdk -filename C:"Documents and Settings"user.VirtualBoxusb.vmdk -rawdisk \.PhysicalDrive##
Where ## is the drive number.

You will need to specify the correct path to your .Virtualbox directorythis is the examplefrom my own configuration:

VBoxManage internalcommands createrawvmdk -filename "D:Documents and Settingsuser.VirtualBoxusb.vmdk" -rawdisk \.PhysicalDrive2



If the path to your \.VirtualBox\ directory is other than the one above, you will need to change it to represent the true path to your \.VirtualBox\ directory. This is where VirtualBox stores all internal definitions files.

You can change the name of the VMDK file by changing 'USB.vmdk' to 'FILENAME.vmdk', where FILENAME is whateer you desire.

Once you have made the VMDK file, you may switch to VirtualBox and add it to either an existing or new system. The VMDK definition will now be listed when you do the following:
* Select a system in the left pane.
* Click the 'Settings' (Gear) button.
* Click the 'Storage' option.
* Click the 'Add Attachment. button-->'Add Hard Disk'
* Click 'Choose existing disk"
* Select the desired VMDK association file and click 'Open"
* You are now back in the settings pane: Click 'OK' to save your new settings.
You may also do much the same when creating a virtual machine. if you want to make a VM that uses a real drive to boot, you should make the VMDK definitions file first.

Please Note: If you exit VirtualBox and eject/remove the device, the next time you attach the device to your system its Drive Number may change. You may need to update its associations either by creating a new VMDK file (the slow way) or by opening the VMDK file in a text editor and changing the drive number, then saving.

The VMDK file will contain the following:
# Disk DescriptorFile
version=1
CID
=b70c9c57
parentCID
=ffffffff
createType
="fullDevice"

# Extent description
RW 7892992 FLAT "\.PhysicalDrive2" 0

# The disk Data Base 
#DDB


Simply re-open Disk Management by:
* Click Start-->Run-->diskmgmt.msc-->(Enter)
* FInd the new drive number
* Update the associated drive number in the VMDK file
* Save the file.
You need to do this when VirtualBox is not reading the file, else you will not be able to modify it. Sadly, Windows doesn't allow multiple programmes to open one file.

WARNING: Do not edit VMDK file for one drive to use it for mounting a different drive by changing the drive number. The VMDK file also contains information on the physical characteristics of the disk, and doing this may cause failure or corruption of your media, either in VirtualBox, or in reality. You should only update the drive number when you need to do so for the same volume that you initially used to make the VMDK file.
________________________________________________________

If VirtualBox crashes and you receive the error:
Failed to create the VirtualBox COM Object

You need to fix a registry value (very easy, in this case) by opening a shell window:
Start-->Run-->CMD (Enter), then type these commands:
CD (to VirtualBox directory)
VBoxSVC.exe /ReRegServer
regsvr32 VBoxC.dll

This will restore VirtualBox operations.
________________________________________________________

Moderator/Administrator: If there is a more appropriate section (e.g. FAQs, Installation, Tutorials, etc.) where you would prefer this, please move it. I posted it here due to the other, similar threads on the subject that are also in this section of the forum.
________________________________________________________

I may follow-up with How-To guides on making a AROS pen drive using other tools, assuming I find another way. VirtualBox is rather fidgety, and 'tisn't my VM-tool of choice... If I can find out how to mount a pen drive under QEMU without crashing AROS, I will write another guide for that, and I may write one for Linux users as well, although the Linux-hosted power of VirtualBox should be identical and would use very similar directions to this guide.
________________________________________________________

Permission is granted to re-publish this How-To Guide on other websites, as long as none of its content, including this notice, is edited, removed, or in any way changed. Above all, the byline must remain intact, and credit should also be given that it is from an original guide on the AROS-Exec forum.

Posted on: 2011/8/7 3:32

Edited by Timelord on 2011/8/7 5:57:38
Edited by Timelord on 2011/8/7 6:22:01
Edited by Timelord on 2011/8/7 6:23:52
Edited by Timelord on 2011/8/9 18:17:42
Edited by Timelord on 2011/8/9 18:19:23
Edited by Timelord on 2011/8/9 18:42:50
Edited by Timelord on 2011/8/10 7:08:37
Edited by Timelord on 2011/8/15 5:44:21
Edited by Timelord on 2011/8/15 5:47:22
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Re: How-To Guide: Install AROS on a USB Pen Drive (in Windows XP) + How to Make a VMDK Association in VB

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Could you please update the paths of installation in VirtualBox for version 4.2.6?

Some of the paths or steps in your very detailed method do not longer apply. I'm trying to install Icaros in a USB but I can't get it to work, since some of the steps are not the same any more.

Thanks.

Posted on: 2012/12/28 22:48
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Re: How-To Guide: Install AROS on a USB Pen Drive (in Windows XP) + How to Make a VMDK Association in VB

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I used the method described in this thread. Make sure you use the correct unit number. Your device might not be unit 0. Run HDToolBox and check usbscsi.device for your device number.

Posted on: 2012/12/29 0:22
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Re: How-To Guide: Install AROS on a USB Pen Drive (in Windows XP) + How to Make a VMDK Association in VB

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Quote:

BSzili wrote:
I used the method described in this thread. Make sure you use the correct unit number. Your device might not be unit 0. Run HDToolBox and check usbscsi.device for your device number.


The thing is that I'm not getting there yet. When I try to install AROS in the USB, the computer goes into an eternal loop looking for "VitualBox US"; this is after I pause and select USB under "Devices."

On the other hand, when I try to install directly in the VirtualBox, I get the first 2 initial screens and select the screen mode, but after that I get a grey screen an error message saying: Invalid argument; can't find PIPEF5 or something like that.

I'm stuck in dead water.

Posted on: 2012/12/30 17:34
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Re: How-To Guide: Install AROS on a USB Pen Drive (in Windows XP) + How to Make a VMDK Association in VB

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Quote:

BSzili wrote:
I used the method described in this thread. Make sure you use the correct unit number. Your device might not be unit 0. Run HDToolBox and check usbscsi.device for your device number.


The thing is that I'm not getting there yet. When I try to install AROS in the USB, the computer goes into an eternal loop looking for "VitualBox US"; this is after I pause and select USB under "Devices."

On the other hand, when I try to install directly in the VirtualBox, I get the first 2 initial screens and select the screen mode, but after that I get a grey screen an error message saying: Invalid argument; can't find PIPEF5 or something like that.

I'm stuck in dead water.

Posted on: 2012/12/30 17:34
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Re: How-To Guide: Install AROS on a USB Pen Drive (in Windows XP) + How to Make a VMDK Association in VB

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Quote:

The thing is that I'm not getting there yet. When I try to install AROS in the USB, the computer goes into an eternal loop looking for "VitualBox US"; this is after I pause and select USB under "Devices."


In order to use USB under VirtualBox you need to install extensions which are donwloadable from the virtualbox website. Did you install these extensions ?

greets,
Staf.

Posted on: 2012/12/31 2:41
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Re: How-To Guide: Install AROS on a USB Pen Drive (in Windows XP) + How to Make a VMDK Association in VB

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IIRC, USB1.1 can be accessed without installing VBox Extensions, while USB2.0 speed is activated only after installing them. Moreover, AROS has problems with USB 2.0 coming from virtuality vendors, so using default 1.1 speed is a wiser choice, even if it takes more time than normally needed.

Anyway, I am not fond at all of VirtualBox and I frankly suggest Windows and Linux users to choose VMware Player 4 or 5 instead, which is more reliable and robust than VirtualBox. I am even considering placing a pre-made virtual machine on icarosdesktop.org to facilitate ISO -> USB conversions.

Posted on: 2012/12/31 3:14
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Re: How-To Guide: Install AROS on a USB Pen Drive (in Windows XP) + How to Make a VMDK Association in VB

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It would seem that there is some need for Aros2usb app running on windows. That prog would need to be able to read ISO image and write it back to usb in SFS filesystem. +boot sector

Posted on: 2012/12/31 4:48
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Re: How-To Guide: Install AROS on a USB Pen Drive (in Windows XP) + How to Make a VMDK Association in VB

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Quote:
It would seem that there is some need for Aros2usb app running on windows.

It seems that way...

Quote:
That prog would need to be able to read ISO image and write it back to usb in SFS filesystem. +boot sector

Reading an iso-image should be fairly easy. Writing back to usb with sfs gives headaches.

because isn't it so that you have two opions for that ?:

One would require a real proper sfs driver, which would mean an usb driver with proper licenceing. If not then the end-user should fallback to safe-modus in which driver verificatin is turned off.
Either way it would also (in relation to existing solutions) require a user to know what he/she is doing. Another option (w/c)ould be to use libUSB, which circumvents the use of proper driver-signing.

Secondly writing to sfs could be done using a raw method. In that case it would require admin rights (no elevating) which also put some responsibility at user's hand.

Imo it is just as hard installing a virtual machine and using that to prepare an usb-pendrive then it is to use whatever other utility.

In that regards i also seem to have better experience with virtualbox then paolone seem to have (had).

Ofcourse i might have overlooked something that would make it easier, in that case please don't hesitate to share.

regards,

Posted on: 2012/12/31 6:54
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Re: How-To Guide: Install AROS on a USB Pen Drive (in Windows XP) + How to Make a VMDK Association in VB

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SFS driver... what if you make a RAW write/copy.. than you don't care what the filesystem is you just copy 0 and 1...

http://www.roadkil.net/program.php/P22/Raw%20Copy


1. Make an AROS USB stick as usual
2. Make a raw copy of the stick
3. Offer the image for download
4. Write the image to any USB stick you like.

A additional task for a maintainer ; )

Posted on: 2012/12/31 7:01
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