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Dual boot windows installs off a thumbdrive


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I know this can be done for linux, but I don't know about windows. I want to be able to install Vista or XP off the same thumb drive without changing anythign off the thumb drive. Just plug in and go. Any ideas?

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Microsoft Deployment Toolkit 2008 will allow you to create unattended XP and Vista installs that run from a USB stick. You can have both on one stick, for a time I had one that installed XP, Vista and 2008. You can also pre-install your drivers this way, along with applications etc. 100% scriptable, and unlike the hacker boot discs this is how Microsoft says you should do it, and its bloody brilliant.

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Will the microsoft tool allow me to have both of them on the drive and pick which one to boot?

Yes, it has a full gui and allows you to choose which OS to install, which applications to install, what the home page is etc. It then installs your choice of OS, then starts up a series of scripts which install applications and fully update the system. Its designed for use with WDS or SMS so you capture an image of your install to save time. And then (if Vista) you can install the same image, but add the updates to the install process so when you re-image its already up-to-date. You can pre-stage drivers, in groups, which is useful for things like depolying dells. But if you know your hardware you can just add what you need.

Nlite et al, they are good tools but this puts them all to shame.

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You create a Media depolyment point, and copy the contents onto a Fat32 formatted USB stick. PE2 should boot automatically.

To format a USB stick:

  1. diskpart
  2. select disk 1 (where disk 1 = usb stick)
  3. clean
  4. create partition primary
  5. select partition 1
  6. active
  7. format fs=fat32
  8. assign
  9. exit
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