How do I use CAB SDK?

By Andros_Forever ยท 141 replies
May 28, 2008
  1. nobardin

    nobardin TS Rookie Posts: 256

    Sadly, The PC I had all the guides and how to's I had written on this topic is still in the States. However, I will post back asap with the directions on how to recompile the files.


    For the sake of this guide I have the extracted and unpacked/edited INF file in the following folder C:\Test will need to replace C:\Test with whatever directory you have the unpacked/edited files in that you want to repack.

    Ok, What you need to type to repack the inf file into the .IN_ format is

    cabarc n USB.IN_ C:\Test\USB.inf

    Note: There is a space between _ and C: ....This will recompile the file in the BIN folder of the directory where you have cabSDK tools at...example...I have my cabsdk tools in C:\CabSDK and it puts the recompiled file in C:\CabSDK\BIN
  2. trollsblood

    trollsblood TS Rookie


    first of all thanks for your efforts giving us the possibility to get a portable XP!
    (2nd it's apitty that you don't have your env at hand - I hope your reunion is coming soon)

    I tried to follow your guide but ended up witht he following error during the installation (after disk partitioning):
    * Error in the .SIF file Windows is porcessing:
    * Value 1 on the line in section [BusExtenders] with key "usbstor."

    I guess that must be the txtsetup.sif file, but there we did not edit the [BusExtenders] itself.

    In case it help, here is my version of the file zipped.

    Do you have any idea what did I mistype/forget/...?

    Thanks for your support!

    Attached Files:

  3. nobardin

    nobardin TS Rookie Posts: 256

    The reason I didn't upload the files to the site is, I wasn't sure if it violated any of the forums rules and/or microsofts rules. I will attempt to recreate the files then upload them here as soon as possible. I will start the process now and hopefully should have them up in the next day or 2. I wasn't being rude or trying to make it look like anyone else couldn't have them. I apologize and will do my best to get them up.

    Thanks for letting me know it is ok to upload them to the boards.


    Ok, for some reason when I post the zipped version then download it and try to unzip it I get an error message "No files to extract" ..I then tried the zip file trollsblood posted and it also gives an error message that it is corrupted...The one file TXTSETUP is to large to post not zipped. I know it isn't the zip file I created, because I can extract it with no problems from my computer when it isn't uploaded to the forums..Any ideas?
  4. kimsland

    kimsland Ex-TechSpotter Posts: 14,523

  5. nobardin

    nobardin TS Rookie Posts: 256

    Thank you kimsland.

    Here is the savefile link for the edited files.

    Please Note: Make sure to disconnect any internal hard drives before attempting to install to an external hard drive. Failure to do so can result in corruption of the internal hard drives Master Boot Record (MBR)

    If you have any issues with the install, please post back here and let us know which file(s) the install is having issues with. It took quite a few tries to get it right for Andros_Forever. I will do my best to correct any issues that are posted. I do hope they work without any issues though.
  6. kimsland

    kimsland Ex-TechSpotter Posts: 14,523

    Yep Download and extract works :grinthumb

    But this "free" server will only last 60 days, if there are no user downloads
    I'm unsure if the 60 day limit starts again, if someone downloads the file or not (I think yes)
    Maybe put a note on your calendar to come back in 59 days :)
  7. nobardin

    nobardin TS Rookie Posts: 256

    Will do, I appreciate your help. Thanks again. Hopefully this thread will help a lot of people who want to boot windows from an external drive.
  8. kimsland

    kimsland Ex-TechSpotter Posts: 14,523

    Actually you know what? I got lost in the definition of this thread
    It would be ideal of you to write up, what a user should do
    Maybe I should read the thread slowly or something :confused:
    And I love inf and Dos and editing files, done it for years
    I just got lost in what this thread was about and specifically what device
  9. nobardin

    nobardin TS Rookie Posts: 256

    Here are some of the directions...mainly how to put the edited files in the iso of the windows cd. I will get the rest of the directions on editing the files soon.

    1) Does your computer support booting from USB?

    Usually, if its an option in your BIOS boot sequence menu, the answer to this is yes. If its not there then the answer is probably no. However, proceed and see what happens ;-)

    2) Sorting out the "Bootability" of your USB-Drive

    Connect your USB drive to your computer, directly, without a Hub. Then, shut down your computer, disconnect any other hard disk drives from it, and insert your original Windows XP CD into the drive. Start the installation, and proceed to the section where you are allowed to pick a hard drive. If it goes beyond the partition selection, your drive is already fine for booting Windows XP. If not (seems to be the cases with many of the Freecom USB HDDs for example), you will get an error like "Windows is unable to find your drive, partition, data etc bla". This is usually not a big problem. All you need to do is "properly" format the drive with the NTFS file system. After this, the drives are recognized as valid installation devices by the Windows XP installer. There has been no success in using the FAT32 file system for such purposes.

    3) Dumping the original Windows CD into an ISO File
    Pretty easy one. Simply open WinISO or your program of choice, and select Actions -> Make ISO from CDROM, and save your CD image.

    4) Inject the changed files into the ISO which can be gotten from here for now,

    Open your Windows CD image (The iso file you created) with WinISO or your program of choice. Navigate to the I386 folder, and delete the following files from the ISO,


    saving the changes to the ISO afterwards.

    Just to be sure all is updated in the ISO, close and repoen the ISO in WinISO or your program of choice. Now, again go to the I386 folder and select "Add Files". Now add your changed files, Make sure you are adding the files to the I386 directory in the iso.


    Save the ISO then open it again and check to make sure the new files are in the correct directory...if so.. You are done with this portion of the procedure.

    5) Burn the ISO back to CD

    For burning iso's I use Alex Feinman's iso recorder which you can get here ...After you install ISO Recorder, no program group is created and there is no application to run. ISO Recorder is a Shell extension, which means it provides additional options in a file right-click menu. To create a CD with ISO Recorder right-click on a file with .iso extension and select "open with" then click "ISO Recorder" Once the burning has completed go to step 6

    6) Place the new windows cd in your cd drive,

    7) Shut down your computer. Disconnect ANY internal and external hard drives (Except the one you want to install windows on, so Windows cannot find them during installation and mess up their Master Boot Records.)

    Also, now connect your USB Hard drive directly to the computer, without any Hubs in between.

    Windows should install just fine, with the exceptions noted below.

    Issues you will encounter during installation:

    During driver installation, the USB drivers will prompt you, as they are "not certified" - This is normal. Our changes invalidated the checksum, and therefore the driver is no longer signed. Just press "yes" a couple of times.
    Upon completion of the install, the system will complain once on the first bootup that the pagefile does not exist. You can ignore this for now, as Windows will work fine without it. People are looking at fixing this issue, but its not critical for now.

    Once everything is up and running , shut down and reconnect all your drives.
  10. kimsland

    kimsland Ex-TechSpotter Posts: 14,523

    Oh I see

    So when you do the boot from the USB device (USB boot enabled as first bootable device) you are then able to run Windows (from the USB device) either with the actual Harddrives installed or not (pretty sure that's right)

    Once in Windows (again only using USB flash drive)
    You can then update drivers and Service packs; programs; activate? :confused: (I suppose yes)

    I also note that this flash OS drive concept, seems to be where all computers will eventually go to, as I've read.

    Another point of interest, is that if you boot from this flash drive in another computer with a different chipset to yours, then I suppose you will get the standard blue screen, unless you then Repair the installation (as per normal with any Windows installation)

    So therefore this USB drive will be only used (supposedly) on the computer it was first installed on. Therefore what exactly is it purpose? I suppose it would be an excellent data recovery tool, if your normal internal drive ever went down?? Or maybe it could be used for private work, that you do not want to go on the Internet with.

    Am I right so far?
  11. trollsblood

    trollsblood TS Rookie

    I have a company notebook.
    I'm not supposed to install any private stuff on it.
    So I'd like to externalize my private environment (not only data) to a USB drive (and yes, you are right I'll use it only on that only one machine).

    => I don't have to buy a full notebook myself, only an external drive.

  12. nobardin

    nobardin TS Rookie Posts: 256

    This thread started out being Andros_Forever asking how to use the cabsdk tools, but I was intrigued by the possibility of booting windows from a USB device and took it upon myself to help him get it working. I haven't installed windows to a USB device and tried it out as I don't have a flash drive big enough or a USB hard drive, or my own comuter at the moment (I was going to do it a while back, but then my wife and I moved to England, and that got put on hold as I don't have my PC around at the moment.) . I am using a laptop my wife and I share and it is not that great. Mainly it only works for browsing the internet and creating documents. It is the only computer we have at the moment and has all of our work related stuff on it, so if I break it or wipe the drive accidentally it's the dog house for me haha.

    So, in theory when you have the USB drive (flash or hard drive) connected and the other hard drives connected or if you don't have the other drives connected, as long as the USB drive is set to boot first then you should be able to run windows from the USB device.

    Yes you should be able to install drivers, service packs, programs and activate windows (as long as you have the space on the USB drive)

    Yes you are correct, If you boot another computer with a different chipset you will get the normal errors/blue screens unless you do a repair as with any internal drive with a windows installation.

    Yes the USB flash or USB hard drive installation will only work on the original computer it was installed on. The purpose of doing a USB installation is for backup reasons (If your internal drive fails or has failed) Or if you want to be able to show your friends..."Look what I can do" haha. I guess thoes would be really the only reasons fo installing to an external drive.

    Being able to boot from an external drive in my opinion is just a cool concept, and even though I haven't been able to try it out yet. I plan on doing so as soon as possible.
  13. kimsland

    kimsland Ex-TechSpotter Posts: 14,523

    Then I will wait for your test results ;)
    Or anyone else who would like to confirm, working, with no issues

    On a side note, for many years users have endeavored to place Windows on CD, which has actually worked, with limited success results.
    For this reason the Windows on CD concept was basically thrown out
    As the better alternative was to use live Linux (especially uBuntu open source- free!) boot CDs; that work perfectly (well close to perfect)

    You can download uBuntu live CD anytime you like, create the ISO disc, and then run it on just about all computers (although this is not Windows)
    But I wonder if "The purpose of doing a USB installation is for backup reasons" you would be best with the live CD

    But that's not the real point I suppose. The real issue, is that a USB flash drive holding Windows Xp and your data (in My Documents I might add) can be hung around your neck, (portable, and small) and if anyone tries to boot it up in their computer, it will normally corrupt. So I suppose that's the point. :)
  14. nobardin

    nobardin TS Rookie Posts: 256

    The live boot (rescue) cd's are a good thing to have, and work well to recover any data that may be lost due to a problem with an internal hard drive. However, like you stated "it's not windows" and being able to have your o/s on a small drive that you can stick in your pocket or hang it around your neck in the case of a usb flash drive is a very handy alternative to the rescue cd's.

    I did have a copy of what was called "puppy linux" a linux based rescue disc and it worked fairly well. I just couldn't get used to the UI, but I can see how they could make life a lot easier in the case of an internal drive failing.
  15. trollsblood

    trollsblood TS Rookie

    Talking about filesystem resque: the NTFS support of those Linux systems isn't always that reliable... :-(

    But we are a bit off topic now, aren't we?

    Just running the test with nobardin's uploaded files, will let you know the result...

  16. nobardin

    nobardin TS Rookie Posts: 256

    Hmmmm, I wonder if it worked...The usual saying is.."No news is good news"..wonder if that stands true in this case!?!?
  17. trollsblood

    trollsblood TS Rookie


    disappearing without a trace isn't my style...
    It's early Monday and I played around with my system during the weekend.

    So yes, it worked with all the predicated warnings (USB drivers) and missing pagefile.

    But the system is up&running now, I'll run some performance tests to see whether I can live with the USB disk bandwidth.

    Thanks for your support!

    Best regards,
  18. nobardin

    nobardin TS Rookie Posts: 256

    Yay!!! It works!!! hahaha. Thanks for letting us know the results. Just wondering if I should start a new thread and name it something like "How to boot windows xp from an external USB drive" or something of the sort?
  19. trollsblood

    trollsblood TS Rookie

    would be more talkative than this thread for sure...
  20. gsstyle4

    gsstyle4 TS Rookie

    seems ok but !

    i've been following this thread for some time now and finally decided to try it , yet it seems the only problem i have is i keep getting , while installing windows is " can't load plugin.ocx " <- woundering in what world did i make such an error , and how in the world do i go about fixing it
  21. nobardin

    nobardin TS Rookie Posts: 256

    Here is the link for the improved guide on how to install windows on a USB drive.

    Here is the link for the edited files incase you do not want to do the editing

    I haven't heard anything about a plugin.ocx error before. I will look into it and see if we can figure this out for you. Try the posted edited files and the guide on how to insert the files into the iso of your windows cd, and see if that works for you.
  22. gsstyle4

    gsstyle4 TS Rookie

    yes ! i have down loaded the files and even , used your posted final edit , i will look into the the new information you posted , here inabout 2 min , i'm doing all this on my acer laptop , at the moment i have it set up as dual boot ( vista /xp-pro ) , but i would like to have a XP-PRO / SuSe , flash bus drive , for when i want to play around some , i don't make radical changes to my main computer ! to much $$$ involved there and to many days getting it to run right , but heck now the laptop if i mess it up no biggie , it was on sale at best buy ,,

  23. gsstyle4

    gsstyle4 TS Rookie

    got past the plugin.ocx error , but now it says error on line three of the usbboot.inf , going to read over the forums and look for a anwser ..
  24. gsstyle4

    gsstyle4 TS Rookie

    ok , never mind i figured out the problem with line 3 for me , i was using an old XP-PRO , that i bought like 6 year ago or so , but it was way pre , SP1 . so i gave it some thought , and realized if i removed all enteries about "eUSB" in the .IN_ as well as the USBBOOT.INF , it would solve the problem ..
    well that problem is solved , and it was fun working it out , but now it says i have "" -- 8 gigs of page file for the system "" <-- so that might be a fun project to play around with another day . but i thought i would just put it to you in case anyone else has this issue they should check the entries for eUSB .. and decide if they want to enter it for them selves ..
  25. nobardin

    nobardin TS Rookie Posts: 256

    Thank you for letting us know about this issue and how you resolved it.
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