Friday, September 30, 2011

Installing BackTrack on a USB Drive

Okay, now we should have a USB drive with a FAT32 partition taking up most of the space of the drive and some empty unformatted space for our ext2 partition , which we'll create in linux.

First we'll install Backtrack on the partition we created, so that we can log in to BackTrack with it.

To begin, you must have a program that can open an .iso file to access the files. I use Winrar, which is an unzipping utility. There is trial version available at

Open the Backtrack iso file you downloaded a couple of posts ago, using Winrar or whatnot. You will see 2 folders, 'boot' and 'BT3'. Unzip this file to your FAT partition on your USB Drive.

Now if you go to to your drive, you should see 2 folders there. Great.

We need to make the drive bootable, meaning that when you turn on the computer, it should be able to boot an OS from that drive. To do that, we have to run a program.

Open to 'Boot' folder on your drive. You will see a file named 'bootinst.bat'. Double click on it to run it. It will warn you to make sure that you've selected the right drive. If you've done everything right until now, you should have nothing to worry about. Press Enter to run the program and then again to exit. The drive should be bootable now. I'm gonna go try, so we'll be in touch.

OOPS, tried to boot and got an error. I forgot one thing. Being that we're fooling Windows into thinking that our removable drive is a fixed drive, we have to edit the 'bootinst.bat' file with a tiny modification.

Go to the 'bootinst.bat' file, righ click on it, and select Edit.

Scroll down and look these lines:

\boot\syslinux\syslinux.exe -ma -d \boot\syslinux %DISK%:
goto setupDone

\boot\syslinux\ -ma -d \boot\syslinux %DISK%:

You have to add ' -f' (space dash f) to the 2 lines that start with '\boot' , after the letters -ma, so that the lines should look like this:
\boot\syslinux\syslinux.exe -ma -f -d \boot\syslinux %DISK%:
goto setupDone:setup95
\boot\syslinux\ -ma -f -d \boot\syslinux %DISK%:

Now run the program, and boot up. Good luck. I'm gonna try it out now.

COOL!! Now it worked and I'm editing this post from within BackTrack. It was quite a bit quicker loading up from USB Drive compared to loading off a CD.

As I posted in an earlier post, if you hibernated out of Windows you may have to take one step to boot. When the computer starts, you may not get any boot options, so that you can choose which drive to boot from. What you must do is let the computer start coming out of hibernation and then quickly hold the power button to shut the machine. The next time you turn it on, you'll be able to access the boot options by pressing ESC or DEL or F1, depending on your system.

If you don't have any regularly connected USB drives, you can edit the boot order so that, in the future, whenever the USB drive is connected is should boot from it. It can always be changed at a later date. Enjoy.

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