KACE Product Support Question

How to span or work past FAT32 size limits when using a single USB UEFI boot stick?

11/24/2014 4530 views
Hello all,

I am on a time restraint and the research here and on the Google have not helped. I am attempting to deploy new OptiPlex's with UEFI and secure boot enabled. We do scripted installed here from the K2000. I can make a boot-able USB with our KBE. But I need to make a USB with a captured WIM by the K2000, to have the ability to reimage the computers in the field if something breaks. I have followed the process listed here and else where to make a USB for UEFI, but it makes a FAT32 partition. The "KACE\hashstore\(bunch of numbers).1186033872" is what I believe is the WIM , but its over 10 gigs. This will not fit on a FAT32 volume. We can not partition the USB as Windows will only see one, because its a removable device. I tried converting the FAT32 to NTFS but this renders it unbootable. The USB stick we use is a Transcend 32 gig. I read that if you flip a firmware setting on the USB it would make it a "Fixed Disk" to Windows, but this would not work here.  I am looking into doing a scripted install from a USB but that process would be alot more involved from what I read. 

Any help would be greatly appreciated,

3 Comments   [ + ] Show comments


  • once you are booted to kace or the winpe env the usb stick can be removed and a different one inserted in its place. You can have a 4gig uefi boot and one large drive with all the remote images you need on it.
    • Thanks, SMal.tmcc. I have seen your efforts through out here. Unfortunately, We send these out to end users, so one stick solution is needed.
      • I am leaving today for TG so I will not be able to play with this till next Monday to see if I can come up with a single stick solution for you. If you do not have an answer from another ninja I will look into it then.
  • SMal.tmcc ,ok, well thanks for looking. Have a good Thanksgiving weekend.
  • I was able to configure an external hard drive with UEFI partitions to boot to WinPE, and with some diskpart scripting, it will recognize the additional NTFS partition on the drive where I store images. It's not your end solution, unless you want to buy external drives for everyone, but I believe you could replicate the same thing with a USB stick.
    • Hrmm....I am intrigued. WinPE will see the two partitions though? I know Windows wont. What did you use for the commands?
      • Formatting is screwed up in comments, I posted my answer in the Answer section.

Community Chosen Answer

Sorry I did not step in till now, I was busy and thought he had the answer for you.
This is on dell 7010 using UEFI secure boot,  notice the 17gig wim

Secure boot looks for ntfs permission if it is a ntfs volume.  do not create a the second volume as ntfs.

Use disk manager and create a 4gig fat32 partition:

then right cilick and choose

step thru till this screen and make these changes

use the adk commands like you did and copy the image to the second partition
Answered 12/03/2014 by: SMal.tmcc
Red Belt

  • SMal.tmcc , I just saw this. Thanks. Are you using one USB thumb drive or portable hard drive? As you can see below, I've found Windows will not look at anything other then the first partition on the USB thumb drive. As the one drive solution for imaging doesn't look good,

    I am trying to see if Scripted Install would work instead. Thanks again for the help. Hope you had a good Thanksgiving.
  • I am not able to reproduce these steps on a USB stick, I was able to create a smaller partition using diskpart but I could not format a second partition. Disk Management would not do anything except format the entire stick, I could not mess with the volume at all.
  • After some more research, it appears that in order for Windows to read multiple partitions from a disk, it has to be a fixed disk, and most USB drives are recognized as removable media. There are some open source utilities to convert disks to fixed disks but nothing officially supported by Microsoft.
    • Thanks , Nheyne. Yeah, I tried some of those tools and none work with the USB sticks we have here. I am now hoping to maybe get a scripted install on one as, their file sizes are within the limits of FAT32 structure. That , I am sure, will be another fun project,lol.
      • If you can get it figured out, please post a blog about it. I am sure other people would benefit from that info.

All Answers

I am mistaken, I didn't format the external drive with UEFI, but I incorporated UEFI scripting into the process.  So the drive isn't UEFI, but you can still apply UEFI partitions and images.  That is probably part of the confusion, you can deploy UEFI images without a UEFI boot environment.  The only thing that matters is that your image was captured from a UEFI system and you are creating the appropriate boot partitions on the computer you're imaging.

I have a bootable FAT32 partition setup on the external drive, like 1GB or so to hold WinPE.  I create this using Disk Management to size it and assign a letter, then I use the ADK to create WinPE on that drive (i.e. "copype amd64 C:\WinPE" | "makewinpemedia /ufd C:\WinPE e:").  I have a customized boot.wim that I copy over the default one, but at this point the drive is bootable.

Then I have a second partition where I store the images, also created with Disk Management.  The size doesn't matter here, you can just use the rest of the available space.  Then I have this little diskpart script incorporated into my startnet.cmd:

Select disk 1
Select partition 2
assign letter=I

This is probably the important part, since assigning a drive letter is what will allow you to deploy using DISM commands.  On most any systems, diskpart will detect the local hard drive as disk 0.  So by default your external drive will be disk 1.  If you have more than one hard drive you will need to adjust, but in most cases you are safe to assume that disk 1 is your external, or USB stick.  Also, we are selecting partition 2 because the first partition is the bootable WinPE partition, whereas the second partition is where the images reside.  In this instance I have assigned it letter "I" for "Images", but this can be any available letter.

Here is a sample of my actual imaging command:

diskpart /s UEFI.txt
Dism /Apply-Image /Imagefile:I:\uefi64.wim /index:1 /ApplyDir:S:\
Dism /Apply-Image /Imagefile:I:\install64.wim /index:1 /ApplyDir:C:\

Just like that, I have imaged a machine using a single external drive.  Hope this helps, e-mail me with any questions.
Answered 11/25/2014 by: nheyne
Red Belt

  • This helps alot, now I need to see how to apply this when using KACE exe to create a USB. I have one set that makes a KBE boot and another that is the image.
    • I haven't made a K2 USB stick in a while, but I believe you can just grab the boot.wim and copy it over just like I mention above.
      • Ah, would it work for UEFI and secure boot? what about the system image I made on the K2? The folder for it only gives a file that seems like the wim , as its 10gigs.
    • Yes it should work with SecureBoot. I am not sure about the system image, but if it's in WIM format you should be fine.
  • Thanks for helping. Have a good Thanksgiving weekend.
  • Nheyne, Would I use the boot.wim inside the KACE folders for making a boot USB? Also for the image WIM , it shows as a bunch of numbers dot numbers inside the hashstore of the image folders. If i rename it , to dot WIM and then use it in the example you have posted, would it work? Also, whats in your "UEFI.txt"?
    • Yes I believe you would use the boot.wim inside the KACE folders, however I have not created a USB K2 stick in a while. I don't know if renaming the image with the numbers will work or not, I don't use the K2 anymore for imaging and I never used the 3.6 version. The UEFI.txt is my diskpart script for creating the UEFI partitions.
      • I just tried this but I get "Virtural Disk Service Error: The operation is not supported on removable media" This was just running the "Diskpart" commands. It looks like it failed in assigning the drive letter. I am using the same Transcend 32 gig USB.
      • Then you definitely don't want to be formatting your USB stick, and that appears to be what you're doing. Let me go through the creation process and I'll document what I'm doing, then I'll e-mail it to you.
    • Can you show me what commands you ran?
      • Sure.

        "Select disk 1
        Convert gpt
        Create partition efi size=200
        Assign letter=s (This is where it failed)
        Format quick fs=FAT32
        Create partition msr size=128
        Create partition primary
        Assign letter=c
        Format quick fs=NTFS
    • Is "disk 1" the machine you're imaging, or the USB stick? You don't want to run that script on your USB stick, you only want to use diskpart to assign your existing partition(s) a letter.
      • Disk 1 is the USB. As I need to have both the KACE KBE and image on one stick. I as going to use your example to apply the boot wim to the "S" and then the Kace-image.wim to the "C" of those commands.
    • It looks like separate partitions on the USB stick won't work, that explains why you got the error about removable media. I am checking to see if you can do it all with one partition...
    • Ok I think this will work. I created a folder at the root of my USB stick called IMAGES. The USB stick was already mapped as the D drive. So the command to apply an image from this location would be: "Dism /Apply-Image /Imagefile:D:\IMAGES\image.wim /index:1 /ApplyDir:C:\"
      • Nheyne , This would be good but the partition is FAT32 and the image is a single file over 10gigs. If you know a way to have a scripted install from KACE on a single USB, this would be a solution for our needs as well.
    • Ah right, back to the original issue. I'm sorry but this might not be possible...
      • Nheyne, that is the consensus I am finding out. Windows is coded to not see anything other partition on a USB stick except for the 1st. So I guess this project is bust for now. Any suggestion how to get a scripted install,then,from KACE to one stick? lol
      • Thanks again for your time and effort on this.
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