USB Image Tool 1.40 development status

I’m currently working on version 1.40 of USB Image Tool. I have removed the faulty XZip routines and already implemented an new gzip compatible compression based on zlib. For compatibility reasons I will also implement an extraction for the old zip based imz files (minizip). It’s also included in the zlib package and contributed by the author of WinImage (Gilles Vollant). I still have to modify the source a little bit to make it working nicely with my UNICODE based program, because I don’t want to do to much character set conversion. At least I want to have the the file access routines working with UNICODE functions.

Unfortunately both compression routines have issues with files larger than 4 GiB. Gzip files are valid, but the original file size is stored in a 32 bit integer, limiting it to 4 GiB. The files will unzip correctly, but file size checks will not work properly. Zip files were originaly limited to 4 GiB as well. For the new zip64 extension I couldn’t find any free library, that can implement it, although most compression programs (WinZip, TUGZip) can work with it. Eventually I will implement 7zip, but it’s not documented as nicely as zlib is.

I also want to add some new functions like boot sector import/export, image checksum creation and access to USB hard drives. Eventually I will implement some of this feature with later minor version changes.

Yesterday I tested USB Image Tool with the public beta of Windows 7. Everything in USB Image Tool seemed to be working so far. On the other hand, Microsoft changed some internal USB handling routines very late in the Windows Vista development progress. Hopefully this won’t happen with Windows 7 again.

Update: After looking a little bit into zlib and minizip sources, it seems, that both can already be used with UNICODE programs (fdopen can be used instead of fopen in gzio.c). I still have to check for minizip, but this could make things a lot easier.

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2 Responses to “USB Image Tool 1.40 development status”

  1. William Reichert Says:

    Your tool has been very handy for me – creating bootable flash drives for classroom work – I did donate through Paypal, however, your link to Paypal (in Germany, I guess) did not work – I had to use the U.S. paypal.
    A note, initially with bare flash drives, I had to use the two HP tools first – the more extensive one to be sure the device was seen as a Hard Disk, not a Removable Drive (create partitions and an MBR) and the 2nd tool to make the disk bootable. Once that was done ONCE on each flash drive, your image tool worked flawlessly on repeated images. The bootsector work you mention in your notes would be helpful.
    A Bootsector Tool I use now for copying Windows Volume Bytes on multiboot systems (hard drives, not flash drives), is MBRTOOL, where I can save the “Correct Drive Letters” (Volume Bytes) and restore them, making imaging any drive successful with Windows on logical drives even on drives 1, 2 3, 4, etc. that have been completely bare. I believe MBRTOOL was also developed in Germany.

    Bill Reichert

  2. Alex Says:

    Thank you very much for your support on USB Image Tool. Including the bootsector or MBR in an image was implemented with version 1.30 and its device mode. So if you create identical flash drives, you only would have to create one bootable flashdrive and then create an device image of it, that you can restore to the other flash drives. Another tool, you might find useful, is HDHacker (http://dimio.altervista.org/eng/).

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