How to make a bootable USB thumb drive with Windows, Linux or some other operating system or utility

This is a repost of a post from an old blog, made on December 16, 2012, that used to be on:

Original post:

In one of my previous posts I wrote how to put a Windows 7/8 installation on a USB stick with Windows 7 USB/DVD download tool.

Now I present you Universal USB installer.
It is a tool for an automatic creation of bootable USB installations or Live Linux distributions.
It supports a wide array of different Linux distributions and operating systems like Ubuntu, Mint, Debian, Backtrack, Fedora, OpenSUSE, CentOS, Windows Vista/7/8 and some rescue software and utilities like Hiren’s Boot CD, Ultimate Boot CD, DBAN and many others.

The program is very easy to use, you simply plug your USB stick in the computer, run the program, select the desired operating system or utility, select the location of the ISO file (you can also select to automatically download the unnecessary ISO file if you don’t have it) and select the drive letter of the USB stick which you want to make bootable.
With some OS like Ubuntu you will also have a option of setting the size of the persistence file so you can store changes you make to your OS.

Program by default only shows you drive letters for external storage, but If you plug your USB stick after you have run the program, you won’t have the option of selecting it from drop-down menu in step 3, in that case you will either have to mark show all Drives option (be careful not to select the wrong letter), or start the program again.

You can download the program from here.

How to install Windows 7 or Windows 8 from a USB stick

This is a repost of a post from an old blog, made on August 19, 2012, that used to be on:

Original post:

Here is a small guide how to make a bootable USB pen drive, from a ISO image of Windows setup disk, which you can use to install Windows 7 or Windows 8 on your computer that doesn’t have a DVD drive. The USB stick that is going to be used needs to be at least 4 GB and all the data on it will be erased in the process.

First thing you going to need is Windows 7 USB/DVD download tool that can be downloaded from here. Download the file and install it on your computer.

Run the program and point it to the location of your ISO file, I used the Windows 8 RTM evaluation ISO here.
(If you have a .img file you can just rename the .img extension to .iso, or use a converter like ISOBuddy or MagicISO to convert from some other image format to ISO file)


On step 2 choose USB device as the media type.

In step 3 select the drive in which your USB stick is plugged in, press Begin copying and wait for the process to finish.

The tool will reformat your USB stick and put Windows setup files on it.
After it is done you can unplug your stick and install windows on any computer that can boot from a USB ( if a computer is not starting the Windows setup, check your BIOS if it is set to boot from USB before the hard drive).

If you get “We were unable to copy your files. Please check your USB device and the selected ISO file and try again.” error check this post

Besides Windows 7 USB/Download tool you can also try to use Universal USB Installer

Windows 7 USB/DVD Download Tool error: We were unable to copy your files. Please check your USB device and the selected ISO file and try again

This is a repost of a post from an old blog, made on December 19, 2012, that used to be on:

Original post:

I have written about how to make a bootable USB installer for Windows 7 and 8 by using the Windows 7 USB/DVD Download Tool. Sometimes if your USB stick has something in its MBR you might get the error

We were unable to copy your files. Please check your USB device and the selected ISO file and try again.

I found the solution to that problem in this post.

You have to start command prompt as an Administrator (On Windows 7 that means right clicking the cmd and selecting Run as Administrator) and use the diskpart utility.

  1. Start command prompt as Administrator and type  diskpart
  2. type  list disk
  3. type select disk  and number of your USB disk ( like select disk 1 )
  4. type  clean
  5. type  create partition primary
  6. type  select partition 1
  7. type  active
  8. type  format quick fs=fat32
  9. type  assign
  10. type exit  to exit the diskpart utility
  11. type exit  to close command prompt

How to map client certificates in IIS 7 through graphical user interface

This is a repost of a post from an old blog, made on July 20, 2012, that used to be on:

Original post:

As you may know if you want to map client certificates to IIS 7 for authentication purposes, you must use the editor by default, as described in this blog.

If you want to have the IIS 6 like option of mapping the certificates through UI, you cam checkout this blog, and download the ClientCertificateMapping extension for IIS 7.

After installing the extension you will get new Client Certificates option in the IIS right side window


which will open a window like this one


How to schedule SQL Server Express backups…

This is a repost of a post from an old blog, made on March 7, 2012, that used to be on:

Original post:

…or how to backup your Microsoft SQL Server databases when you don’t have any access to the db machine and db servers local storage.

I had to made and automate a backup of one of the databases that I use on my job today, but the problem was that the only acces I had to the database was with using a sql server authentication and I didn’t have all the permissions on the base or the server. So here are the steps how to backup your MS SQL database without the use of third party tools or SQL agent (which you can’t use in Express editions of SQL Server).

This will be accomplished using the sqlcmd utility which is a free tools that you get with your Server of Management Studio installation.

  1.  Create a sql script for backup using the BACKUP DATABASE statement, my script looks something like this:
    DECLARE @name NVARCHAR(256);
    set @name='\\server\shared_folder\your_db_' + CONVERT(VARCHAR(8), GETDATE(), 112) + '.bak'
    Backup Database your_db To Disk = @name;

    this will create backup file in format of your_db_YYYYMMDD.bak
    If you would like a different format of the date check this link for date formats.

  2. Create a bat file that you can put in Task Scheduler, you can put something like this in bat file:
    sqlcmd -S your_server -U username -P password -i C:\some_folder\your_sql_backup_script.sql

    Remember that if you’re using SQL Express you need to use your_server\instance_id to connect to the server.
    You can also use some other switches if you like:

    Microsoft (R) SQL Server Command Line Tool
    Version 10.50.1600.1 NT x64
    Copyright (c) Microsoft Corporation.  All rights reserved.
    usage: Sqlcmd            [-U login id]          [-P password]
      [-S server]            [-H hostname]          [-E trusted connection]
      [-N Encrypt Connection][-C Trust Server Certificate]
      [-d use database name] [-l login timeout]     [-t query timeout]
      [-h headers]           [-s colseparator]      [-w screen width]
      [-a packetsize]        [-e echo input]        [-I Enable Quoted Identifiers]
      [-c cmdend]            [-L[c] list servers[clean output]]
      [-q "cmdline query"]   [-Q "cmdline query" and exit]
      [-m errorlevel]        [-V severitylevel]     [-W remove trailing spaces]
      [-u unicode output]    [-r[0|1] msgs to stderr]
      [-i inputfile]         [-o outputfile]        [-z new password]
      [-f <codepage> | i:<codepage>[,o:<codepage>]] [-Z new password and exit]
      [-k[1|2] remove[replace] control characters]
      [-y variable length type display width]
      [-Y fixed length type display width]
      [-p[1] print statistics[colon format]]
      [-R use client regional setting]
      [-b On error batch abort]
      [-v var = "value"...]  [-A dedicated admin connection]
      [-X[1] disable commands, startup script, enviroment variables [and exit]]
      [-x disable variable substitution]
      [-? show syntax summary]
  3.  Put you bat file in Task Scheduler to run automatically.