Archive for the ‘Software’ Category

USB Image Tool 1.42 released

Sunday, March 29th, 2009

Version 1.42 can create MD5 checksums of image files during the backup process. This feature can be activated on the “Options” tab.

Next version will probably be 1.50. With this, I want to make the core I/O functions thread-safe, so you can work on multiple USB device at the same time. This would also allow a batch restore mode to write an image to multiple USB devices.

USB Image Tool 1.41

Wednesday, February 25th, 2009

This version fixes the “Error reading settings!” message, that appeared at the start of the 1.40 version. It can be downloaded from the dowwnload page on the right menu bar.

AutoplayMM 1.11 released

Tuesday, February 24th, 2009

This version fixes a bug, that caused the window to close, when using the dialog window style.

USB Image Tool 1.40 released

Tuesday, February 24th, 2009

The new version comes with completely replaced compression routines, that additionally provide gzip support (intended for large images). Also the device mode doesn’t require unplugging and resetting the device anymore. Major parts of the I/O code have been redesigned to be prepared for future development. You can find the new version on the download page.

If you want to give feedback, please note, that I will be on holiday for 2 weeks, starting from Tuesday, so I eventually won’t be able to check my mail and approve comments everyday.

USB Image Tool 1.40 status

Thursday, January 29th, 2009

It has been a successful week for USB Image Tool. I was able to replace all compression routines by the new ones. I modified minizip to work with UNICODE file functions. I get a lot of referers to my page from asian websites (Korean and Vietnamese especially), so I consider this important.

Additionally I was able to get the Restore in device mode working without resetting und unplugging it before writing to the USB flash drive (the 3 step message box). All that was to do was to perform the correct Locking and Dismounting on the volume handle, not on the device handle. Updating the disk properties must be done on the device handle, though. I found some forum topics, that were dealing with it about the time (summer 2008), I was trying to get it running, too. Some keywords are:

FSCTL_LOCK_VOLUME
FSCTL_DISMOUNT_VOLUME
FSCTL_UNLOCK_VOLUME
IOCTL_UPDATE_DISK_PROPERTIES

All that is to do for the version 1.40 is to add some checks on image sizes and zip files and some testing. I’m thinking about releasing a beta version, because some of the changes were major ones, so if you want to help in the development progress, keep an eye on this page.

USB Image Tool 1.40 development status

Tuesday, January 13th, 2009

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.

USB Image Tool 1.31 released

Sunday, October 12th, 2008

Version 1.31 includes bugfixes for the user interface and compression routines. The zip compression routines, used by USB Image Tool (XZip based on Info-ZIP/zlib 1.1.3), may lead to corrupted images. When creating a compressed backup, USB Image Tool now checks the compressed image to ensure it is not corrupted. I’m assuming it has to be connected with the compressed image exceeding the 2GB limit. Raw images are not affected by this problem. If you encounter this problem, I recommend to backup your USB device as a raw image and manually compress/decompress it with the compression tool of your choice.

Because XZip is not being maintained frequently anymore, I think I have to switch to new compression routines. Any recommendations for an easy-to-use zlib wrapper or any other PKZIP compatible compression library are welcome. Requirements are either a static library (no DLL) with support for cancelletion and progress reporting, or a modifiable source code. Also its copyright should allow usage in closed-source freeware application.

USB Image Tool 1.30 released

Saturday, October 4th, 2008

The new version introduces the device mode, which is intended for bootable devices and USB devices, formatted with a file system unknown to windows. If you want to clone a pendrive Linux, you have to use the device mode to make the new USB device bootable. Also a small error in the command line utility has been fixed, that made the application crash when creating compressed images with just specifying a file name.

Version 1.30 delayed

Tuesday, September 9th, 2008

Due to some issues with Windows Vista again, I have to postpone the release of USB Image Tool 1.30. I had everything working fine on Windows XP, but when I tested it on Windows Vista, restoring device images didn’t work. After some research I found out, that Vista prevents writing special sectors to fix a security leak. It seems like you can poison other processes memory by modifying the pagefile and overwriting its sectors directly on the disk. For people, who are interested in the technical details, I can recommend Joanna Rutkowska’s blog entry.

As a workaround for this behaviour on Vista I have to split the restore funtionality for the device mode into 2 steps. The first step zeroes the old MBR. After reinserting the USB device it becomes completely writable for the device mode. I hope I can get the version ready by the end of September.

Version 1.30 on the way

Wednesday, August 27th, 2008

I’m planning to release version 1.30 during the first week of September. I just need to implement¬† the device mode for the restore function. Backup already works fine. With it you can clone identical USB sticks as well as bootable USB sticks, because the device mode copies the boot sector as well.