These days USB has become the integral part of our lifestyle, which is used to carry important data and files with us. USB gives us the option to easily move any type of data from one computer to another, and is the easiest way unlike a CD or DVD. Burning CD and DVD is a very time consuming process as well as a wasteful exercise. USB is a much cheaper option as one can reuse it millions of times without any hassles unlike CDs or DVDs where scratches are the prime reason for data lost.
I too’ve made the same mistake and faced the same problem. And if you’re our loyal reader, you must be well aware that we had already published many articles on bootable pen drive. Creating bootable pen drive is an easy task only when if you want to make bootable pen drive for a single OS. Pen drives with the multi – boot option takes longer time to create and you need to follow many steps for it. Yesterday, I received two pen drives from friends with a request to make them multi-boot for XP and Windows 7 but I didn’t want to follow all those lengthy procedures that I used last time to create multi-boot pen drive.
Finally, I decided to clone my multiboot pen drive to create identical copies in those two pen drives. After an extensive search I got one freeware utility which is capable of doing the known work easily. Normally we don’t need to create a clone because we can just copy and paste data from one Pen drive to another. But for bootable pen drive you can’t do the same because bootable pen drive contains the MBR (Master Boot Record) which contains bootable files. The MBR is a very important part as without it your pen drive or any other drive will never boot.
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ImageUSB is a free utility which lets you write an image concurrently to multiple USB Flash Drives. There are some other tools available on the internet to clone pen drives, but most of them failed to copy MBR and needless to say, bootable pen drive will not boot without MBR. ImageUSB can preserve all unused and slack space during the cloning process, including the Master Boot Record (MBR). So we can use ImageUSB application to create clone drive of any USB drive and use it as bootable or non-bootable pen drives.
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ImageUSB uses bin file to burn on USB flash drive though it has features to burn ISO files too. But I will not recommend it because it is always advisable to use original backup file (bin) and you can create bin file of bootable pen drive using the same application. In the next step, the details is listed on how you can create duplicate copy of your bootable pen drive. Before starting the process make sure that you have the same sized USB pen drive. For instance, my multiboot pen drive has a size of 4GB so I needed a similar pen drive with same space to create a clone. Normally we need a minimum of 4GB pen drive to create an XP and Windows 7 multiboot pen drive. I am using here my 4GB USB pen drive as a demo.
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#1. Download ImageUSB application from here. It is available in ZIP format so you can use any good Compression tool to extract ZIP files like WinZip or WinRAR.
#2. Now insert your working bootable pen drive which is fully functional and the one you want to clone onto the other slot available and start ImageUSB application from extracted ZIP file folder.
#3. ImageUSB will detect automatically both your pen drives. If for any reason your pen drive shows as not available, then click on refresh button to detect the pen drive.
#4. Now select your pen drive from the list and then click on Create from UFD option (You can see it as Step 2 on application). First we want to make a complete image of your pen drive and save them on the system. So we have to select Create from UFD option.
#5. Now browse the location where you want to save the image of your bootable pen drive and it will be saved it as .bin file on the system. Finally, click on Create image button and the application will start image creation process and save it on the computer. It will take a few minutes depending on the system speed and pen drive size.
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#6. Now you’ll have the full image of your multi bootable pen drive and now need to burn it to another pen drive to make it multi bootable identical to your cloned pen drive.
#7. Insert your new pen drive and click on Refresh Drives to detect your inserted pen drive (please remove your old one). Now you can see your pen drive in the list, select your pen drive from the list and then select option Write to UFD (on application you can see it as Step 2).
Note: Please back-up your pen drive data because image burning process will remove all data from the pen drive and will write an image file. So be careful before starting this process.
#8. Finally, browse image (bin file) which you have created using step 5 on this post and click on Write to UFD button to start image file burn process into new pen drive. Again, it will take few minutes and then your new pen drive will become a clone of your old working multi-boot pen drive.
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Now you have full image backup of your bootable USB pen drive and using this image you can make many bootable clone pen drives. Once you created the image from Bootable pen drive you will never have use any other application to create a bootable pen drive.
Note: On application you can see one more option Post Image Verification, you can use this application without selecting it. Just use it only for verification and sometimes for application shows verification failed, but pen drive will work well. So I think there is nothing to worry if the application shows verification failed error, you pen drive will 100% work in such cases as well.