USB Image Tool 1.31 released

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.


  • Thx very much for this pretty neat program – very easy to use for making a bckup of bootable USB stick ! No frills, no thrills, it simply does what it needs to do 😛
    Great work !

  • how about using 7zip routine to pack?
    how does the tool work for saving USB-Sticks greater than 2 GB on FAT32 volumes? Is there a splitting mechanism?

  • Files greater than 4GB (32bit) won’t work on a FAT32 partition. This currently results in a write error and is caused by the FAT32 limitation in file size. Splitting images would be a good feature to add, regardless the target partition. I will take it into consideration for future versions. Thanks for the hint on 7zip SDK. I will take a look at it.

  • Really a usefull tool- thx for your great job. But is it possible to get a short description of the usbit32.dll? I would like to write a really simple and small gui without net framework.

  • Thanks for your interest in developing an alternative GUI for USB Image Tool, but I don’t want to release the header file for usbit32.dll at the moment. The reason is, that it’s not documented in a way to use it without further explanation and support from my side. I’m working as a software delevoper and doing this in my free time. I just don’t have the time to support a development API for the usbit32.dll. If you have suggestions for making the current interface more easy to use, you can of course post them. If it’s just about not using .net, you can try out the command line utility.

  • Hi Alex,
    it’s a pity about the description. Ok, I tried out the command line utility and wrote a little GUI for the usbitcmd.exe. It is not the best way but it works. I only miss a progress state while create a backup or restoring a backup. The main thing is I can use your great tool without .Net BUTwith my mouse :).

  • what do you think about an image explorer tool that will let explore the *.img file and give the posibility to extract files from that image?

  • @memilm: An image explorer tool would need to manually parse the file system in an image file. This could be anything from FAT to NTFS and various Linux file systems. I did some parsing of the FAT12 file system for my DiskXS tool (you can find it on my page, too). To add the feature would be a bigger task. Additionally there already exist tools, that can exactly do this (WinImage).

  • Hi Alex, thanks for sharing your work you do in your free time with everyone. Thanks for this great tool. It does a great job PERFECTLY! I don’t understand why people ask all those questions before they do some homework first. If you make an image of FAT USB key it will work even on bigger size keys. Eg: I loaded an image from 512 MB Sansa USB onto 8 GB Corsair Voyager and it works! You can not access more than 512MB on it but using a tool like Partition Magic it is easy to convert FAT to FAT32 and then into NTFS if you need to. Now I have a working 8 GB Voyager with FAT 32 thanks to your great tool. Personally I prefer FAT32 over NTFS for all USB drives (unless you need to store files bigger than 4 GB), because I found FAT 32 is more stable when you yenk out the drive from the USB port without properly dismounting it. And for image explorer, you can use any of available ISO image software (Magic Iso, Ultra ISO etc). I wouldn’t change too much on your GUI. Simplicity is my favourite. The only thing you should add maybe is the button for donations! You deserve to be rewarded not for giving us free software and a great tool but for a good work you do! Get a Pay Pal account and get rewarded.


    Peter (from Australia)

  • Hello,
    really nice tool, many thanks.
    But here are a few things I don’t understand:
    What are the differences between volume and device mode by restoring or making backups. Sometimes it works sometimes not. Thanks for help.

    Greetings from Germany/Bielefeld, cloudy 8 Deg.


  • In short, the device mode is intended for bootable USB sticks, as well as for devices, formatted in a file system unknown to windows or containing more than one partition. You should always backup an image in the mode, you created it. Device mode image files will be slightly larger, because they also contain the Master Boot Record. For futher information, please take a look at the FAQ.

  • Hello,
    many thanks for your help. I have another questions:

    If I want to bring images (direct mode for Linux-Bootstick) to different USB-Sticks e.g. 2GB -> 2GB. I guess it could be happen that the memory on the second stick will not be large enough to include the whole stick! Is it possible to reduce an image to be sure it will fit on every 2GB-stick?

    Many thanks for your help.

    Christian/ Germany

  • You will have to reduce the partition size on the old USB device before you make an image of it, because this area could contain valid data. You could do this with gparted (when using a Gnome desktop like Ubuntu). After that it would be save to copy a larger image file to a a smaller USB device. Currently you can’t do that with USB Image Tool, but I will think about adding the feature one of the next versions. Then you will be able to copy larger device image files to smaller USB devices. The unused data will then be discarded. This will only work with device mode. If you can split the image file manually (for example with Total Commander), you can do it already now. You just have to resize the partition on your old device, make an device image, split it to the new size using Total Commander and write it to the smaller device using USB Image Tool in device mode.

  • I am sorry, but this does not work. I used Gparted to reduce the partition on the USB-Stick. Then I have made the image with device-mode, the size was the same as I got before without reducing the partition.
    Then I have split the image with total commander. With starting the restore-process I got the message “… image is to large for the USB-device “.
    Do you have an another solution? I only want to be sure that every e.g. 2GB image will fit on every 2GB Stick. So I guess the image has to be a little bit smaller then 2GB.

    Many Thaks for your Help


  • The image size will still be the size in device mode, because the device itself will not get smaller. You have to use gparted to make sure there is no used data in the part you want to cut off. Then you have to reduce the size of the device image to the same (or smaller) size, USB Image Tool shows as the new pendrive device size. You have to cut it to this size. If you have followed these steps, it should work. I can’t currently check it myself, because I’m on a business trip. I will check myself, when I get back next weekend and eventually create a tutorial.

  • Thank you for this neat tool. I tried the USBImage.exe from Fujitsu Siemens, but your tool is much better. I am glad, that i found it and that it is portably usable.

  • Thank you very much for creating this useful tool. I am curious as to where the numbers of the usb-drives for the command-line utility come from. (“usbitcmd l”)
    I’m trying to create a script to automate this process (creating bootable images to distribute), and I’m wondering where your program grabs those numbers from.

    • The device number is assigned by the device driver (should be usbstor.sys), when the driver is loaded. It seems they are unique for a device on a machine, once it is plugged in into a computer, because Windows keeps information of plugged in USB device in the registry, even when the device gets unplugged, but it can be a different number on another PC. I’m using the IOCTL functions to get the device number (you can lookup IOCTL_STORAGE_GET_DEVICE_NUMBER in the MSDN).

  • I’m trying to use this to clone a 16GB USB SSD (Runcore), but in device mode it wont see the device (windows sees it, I can go into disk manager and see it). Its formatted HFS+ so I cant get to any files from inside windows. XP SP2.

  • USB Image Tool currently only works for removable devices. I will add some options with future versions. USB hard drives can’t be cloned for now, but maybe in the next version (1.40). I’m planning to release it in January or February 2009.

  • Hi Alex.

    I backup a USB drive to an image, but strangely the size went to 3.7GB, even though the contents of the USB drive is just about 2GB.

    When I try to restore it, the “image is too big” error came out. I tried to mount the image, then tried to burn it onto a CD, all failed. Is there any way I can do to extract the files from the image file?

    • You can use for example WinImage ( What I’m wondering is, how the image file could get larger than the actual drive. Did you use device or volume mode? How was the drive detected (the information on the first tab)?

  • I am able to make a backup, but when a try to restore it, I always get the message:
    Could not access the USB device (code: 32)!
    What is wrong?
    Thank you!

    • Code 32 means a sharing violation. Eventually you have an open explorer window for this device or you are accessing a file on this device.

  • Code 32 fix: If you run into a code 32 error, close the program and then right click the USB Image Tool.exe file and select “Run as Administrator”. This got me past the 32 error as well as enabling “Device Mode” which had been previously unavailable as an option.

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