USB Image Tool 1.53

Version 1.53 comes with the new option to truncate oversize image files to write it to smaller flash drives. Before using this option, read the FAQ about the way it has to be done and be aware of the consequences if you do it without the method described. This definitely isn’t an “always-on” setting. The FAQ also adresses the “smaller image file on larger flash drive” and “changing partition size” questions, so please read there first.

Also it fixes some issues with the automatic file name generation (replaces “:” and “/” with “-“)  and makes the device mode the default selection, when available (see FAQ as well).


  • I didn’t realize it doesn’t support 16GB sticks?? I created a bootable thumb drive (OCZ Throttle 16GB). It has both USB and eSATA connectors.

    I’ve backed it up several times successfully, through the USB connector. I’ve just tried to restore a previous image and the restore appears to work fine from USB Image Tool (1.53). But when I attempt to boot to the thumb drive I get an error message “A disk read error occurred. Press Ctrl+Alt+Del to restart.”

    I get the same message when I try to boot to eSATA or USB.

    I would really like to boot to this device again and I’m guessing there must be an easy fix for this as it seems to be ALMOST there. Any help would be appreciated!

    • 16GiB should be working as well. I will go and buy one today and test it myself. Largest flash drive I have is 8GiB, but size should be a matter as all related variables are 64bit. This will cover up upto 16 Exabyte (quite a lot). When working with bootable drives make sure always to use the device mode in backup and restore.

  • I was successful at restoring a different image onto the 16GB drive.

    – Google OS image, worked perfectly!
    – Windows Server 2008 image doesn’t work. The image writes OK, but when I try to boot I get “A disk read error occurred.”. I can view the file structure properly on the USB drive, and everything looks fine.

    I made several images of the image at different stages of playing with the OS. None of the images will restore.

  • I was able to boot from it before, I was backing the images while I was playing around with Server adding/removing features, etc. And then I wanted to try out Google OS. After trying Google OS for a while I tried to restore my Windows Server image and that’s when I found out it wouldn’t work.

    I’m pretty sure I was using device mode, I will double check. And try one more time.

    Thanks again for the quick replies!

  • Still no luck, the backup and restore were done using device mode.

    I’ve compared the directory structure to another installation of Windows Server 2008 and it looks the same. I’ve run Error-checking on the drive and the files appear to be fine.

    After googling this error message, it appears that the Master Boot Record might be wrong? Any thoughts or advice on this?

    • Hm, the only reason I can think of (besides something out of USB Image Tool going wrong) is to mix up device and volume mode. You can check this by looking at the image. It should have the exact size, that is shown as the device size in USB Image Tool. Also, when you look at it with a hex editor, it should have the magic bytes 55 AA at 0x1FE. This is the same for device and volume mode, but a in your example device image should contain a valid partition table at 0x1BE. 0x1BE itself should contain the value 80 (hex) to mark a bootable partiton. If that’s not the case and you find boot code right arround this area (some text like “insert disk…”), you have just a bootsector here and no MBR. I don’t know if Windows will boot from there, but I guess not. Still this image might be viewable, as the file system itself is correct. The best option when would propably be to reformat itwith a valid MBR before and then restore the old image in device mode, but that’s just a guess.

      If it seems to be a valid device mode image, you can try to boot some MBR repair tools. Windows can do this in recovery mode at least for hard drives (search for chckdsk, fixboot, fixmbr), but I’m not sure about flash drives. I guess I will add a bootsector extraction in the next version, so I could more easy take a look at a bootsector myself.

  • Hey Alex, again thanks for your help… the byte sizes do not match. Looks like i must have used volume mode instead of device mode?

    File size of the .img is 16,135,454,720 bytes.
    Size of the OCZ Throttle is 16,135,487,488 bytes.

  • I just tried USB Image tool and did the following:

    1. Created a backup of an old 8GB flash drive.
    2. Formatted a new 16GB flash drive (following format 15GB are available to Windows).
    3. Restored the backup of old drive (8GB) to the new one (16GB).

    Now, the restore worked but following that the new usb drive is showing that it is an 8GB drive. Through Windows Disk Management, I can still still that the device is 16Gb. However the device has one partition of 8GB and the rest (8GB) are unallocated. The option to extend the 8GB partition through Disk Management is disabled so this is not possible! So I cannot use the unallocated space (Disk Management snapin does not even let me create a new partition).

    Can a future version of this great tool cater for this and offr to extend the partition to use all available space if new drive is larger than original one?

  • Hi Alex,

    I am running XP SP3 and USB Image Tool 1.53 is not detecting my Western Digital 500GB PassPort Portable !, any reason why?

    Also another external 200GB is not being detected.

    1- Does that mean the tool only support upto 16GB? What the max amount of GB that USBIT can detect?

    Thank you.

  • I used my usb drive for a patchstick for apple tv. I did not create a back up but was able to get a bootable disk image from the website that offered the patchstick. when I try to load the image backup i get a error code 32 so I safely remove the disk and remount it. No I am able to load the backup however I cam not able to recover all my hard disk space. I have a 2gb drive and only 218mb is usable, is there a way to fix this?

    I am using windows vista and looked at the disk management utility and saw that 25mb is unallocated as well as 1.86 gb.

    • When you reformat it after using it to flash your AppleTV, it should regain its original size. If it’s not letting you format it with the original size, use USB Image Tool to restore the empty bootsector, that is also available for download. After that, formatting should be possible again.

  • Hi Alex,

    I’ve tried different flash drives (sony micro vault tiny 2GB, Kingston Data Traveler 2GB, Kingston Data Traveler 4GB, Generics, etc.) and I can not change from Volume Mode to DEVICE MODE. (The pulldown menu is greyed out)

    I am using windows 7. UAC is DEFAULT.


  • for Ricardo: right click on USB tool.exe, properties, compatibility, run as XP compatibility mode…
    for Alex: just bought Paragon Partition Manager 10. It has a tool to create a bootable recovery media (CD, floppy, USB flash). It creates a bootable USB recovery tool, and to do this one of the options is to get it from the CD/DVD ROM or ISO!!! I tried to load many different bootable CDs and it would make a perfectly working bootable USB stick. No need to create image or ISO file first. Directly from the CD to USB 
    Also WinToFlash.exe can create a bootable USB stick you can use to install Windows from. You don’t need a CD/DVD at all. It uses the genuine Windows CD/DVD to directly create bootable USB installation stick. You can use nLite to make it (almost) unattended installation with some extra tweaks.
    But your tool is the final tool! After hours of playing with USB drive when you get it right, your tool is the most important tool – to preserve all the hard work and save it as an image somewhere safe.
    I hope you had a good xmas and all the best in 2010!

    • Thanks for all the praise. Im curious how the USB Recovery Tool of Paragon 10 makes these images bootable. Maybe it installs its own bootloader. I know that the isolinx bootloader supports hybrid images, that allows you to write ISOs of Linux LiveCDs to either a CD/DVD or a flash drive. Guess I have to do some more research on this.

  • …no idea, but this is a new feature. Previous version could only create a floppy (2) as a recovery disk. I had great difficulties making a bootable USB from those floppies. They would start in DOS 5 or something like that, but then the program would load its own OS to get the main recovery tool. Somewhere in between there is a hint of Linux . Paragon finally realised floppies are dinosaurs and in this latest version they made the tool to do it on USB. And when you copy CD or ISO to USB, it is bootable only if the original (CD or ISO) is. So, I don’t think it is installing its own boot loader… anyway, you have my e-mail. If you drop me your mail I will send you my copy of Paragon to test it. I think I can trust you 😉

    • They have an evaluation version available for download, so I think I will give it a try. If you see something about Linux it’s probably syslinux/isolinux. They are often used for recovery CDs/flash drives.

  • Hi Alex,

    I have got an embedded XP system running on a 16GB (industrial) compact flash. I made a image (.img) of the master compact flash and initially copied it to a few other compact flash cards which worked ok. I have since used the compact flash cards and I have tried to re-programme them using the master image I previously used, but this time round I have problems. Windows XP tries to boot up but during the boot sequence fails (blue screen of Death appears!). As far as I can tell nothing has change. Any ideas why it should start failing to image properly.

    Many thanks John

    • Maybe you can try to make a new image oft the not working flash drives and then make a file compare with the original image to see if there is a difference between the written data and the original image. If it has not changed, it’s probably not the image.

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