USB drive not bootable

Discussion in 'PC Hardware' started by qofbored, Apr 25, 2019.

  1. qofbored

    qofbored MDL Novice

    Feb 6, 2013
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    Hi,

    I have 2 SanDisk USB sticks which for some reason cannot be made bootable anymore.
    Not even with the official MS Windows 7 USB/DVD Download tool.

    Reformatting the drive doesn't seem to help. But I know that some time ago I was able to use them for this purpose.
    I have since used them for printing jobs on public PCs at a local copy shop. I have also used them on other OS such as Linux.
    What could have gone bad with these drives in the mean time?
    Is there a way to troubleshoot the drive and bring it back to normal?
     
  2. QueenOfTech

    QueenOfTech MDL Junior Member

    Apr 2, 2019
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    What OS do you have installed on these USB sticks?
     
  3. qofbored

    qofbored MDL Novice

    Feb 6, 2013
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    Trying to put Win7 on them. By using Win10.
     
  4. coleoptere2007

    coleoptere2007 MDL Guru

    Apr 8, 2008
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    One solution is :
    run command prompt as admin. run diskpart. type list disk, then type select disk x (x corresponding to your usb drive). Type clean. Type create partition primary. Type format fs=ntfs or format fs=FAT32 depending on what you need (FAT32 limited to 4GB size). then type assign letter=X or another letter then type active. It should be OK you hav now a bootable key. if you're not familiar with command prompt use any soft than can do the job (rufus for exemple). :)
     
  5. Joe C

    Joe C MDL Guru

    Jan 12, 2012
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  6. QueenOfTech

    QueenOfTech MDL Junior Member

    Apr 2, 2019
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    FAT32 is limited to 4GB per file, just to clarify.
     
  7. pisthai

    pisthai Imperfect Human

    Jul 29, 2009
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  8. Ribot

    Ribot MDL Novice

    Jan 14, 2016
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    The problem is more likely to come from the machine's BIOS settings than from the memory stick, in case you have recently edited them. Try to reset the CMOS memory of your machine, if you don't mind having to re-enter your personal choices by hand later.
     
  9. Enthousiast

    Enthousiast MDL Tester

    Oct 30, 2009
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    In the past i did something similar, when the USB was unbootable because of using other preparation software, i used a tool that creates linux bootable usb's and after using that tool, other methods were working again.
     
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  10. pf100

    pf100 MDL Expert

    Oct 22, 2010
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    Yes, Windows built-in formatter doesn't seem to manipulate the drive's partition in any way (for good reason), nor do they include any utility to fix incorrect drive geometry (for no good reason).
    Any utility that makes sure a flash drive's partitions and geometry are correct has a good chance of fixing problems.
    Do you remember what utility fixed your drive?
     
  11. Enthousiast

    Enthousiast MDL Tester

    Oct 30, 2009
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    It has been a long time that i had these problems, since i only use FAT32 formatted USB's.

    I got the tool on those sites who offered all Linux distro's, can't remember the name anymore.
     
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  12. pluto7

    pluto7 MDL Novice

    Aug 23, 2013
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    #18 pluto7, May 7, 2019
    Last edited: May 7, 2019
    use rufus works very well and it is free.

    try this.

    1.Run CMD as Admin
    2.Launch DiskPart
    a.) list disk
    b.) select disk 1 (or 2 or whatever your USB drive disk number is)
    c.) clean
    d.) create partition primary
    e.) list partition
    f.) select partition 1
    g.) format fs=ntfs quick
    h.) active
    i.) exit
    3.Copy your bootable material to the now empty drive USB drive.
     
  13. LatinMcG

    LatinMcG Bios Borker

    Feb 27, 2011
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    2 ways to fix.. firmware of the flashdrive needs repair.. or the chip is going bad, partially desoldered from pcb
     
  14. John Sutherland

    John Sutherland MDL Addicted

    Oct 15, 2014
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    #20 John Sutherland, May 21, 2019
    Last edited: May 21, 2019
    This problem might not lie with the USB flash drives themselves. You also have to consider the machine's BIOS settings. If the machine's BIOS is set to use Legacy/CSM boot mode, then the flash drives can be formatted as either NTFS or FAT32. But, if the machine's BIOS is set to use UEFI boot mode, then the flash drives can only be formatted as FAT32. NTFS cannot be used.

    If your machine has the option of disabling Secure Boot when using UEFI mode, then try that as well. Secure Boot looks for a digitally signed bootloader file, and if it's not found, the machine won't boot. Also, on certain machines (but not all!), having Secure Boot enabled means the machine can only boot from a hard disk in the internal drive bay and not from an external device.

    Another thing to consider is how the USB flash drives were initialized. If they were initialized as MBR, then they should be compatible with a machine using BIOS boot, Legacy/CSM, or UEFI boot. But, if they were initialized as GPT, they will not be compatible with machines using BIOS boot or Legacy/CSM boot, because GPT does not create a separate area at the beginning of the disk to store the Master Boot Record.
     
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