Running Hiren’s BootCD from hard drive

Update: Running Hiren’s BootCD from hard drive has become much simpler in its recent releases (at least version 10.0 and above). Please use the following method instead to boot it from your hard drive:

  1. make sure the partition is FAT32 not NTFS (let’s assume its C: from this point on)
  2. in the HBCD directory of the ISO image, find the two files menu.lst and grldr, and copy them to C:
  3. copy the entire directory HBCD to C:
  4. download grub4dos, extract grub.exe to C:
  5. modify boot.ini file for XP, and add C:GRLDR=”Hiren” to it

Now reboot the system and choose Hiren in the menu. You are good to go. As a side note, Hiren should include the NTFS support into boot.gz image. If you feel adventurous, you can try to do it yourself, thus enabling booting Hiren from a NTFS partition.

The following is the old method, and only use it for the old version of Hiren BootCD.

Hiren’s BootCD is easily rankings itself among the best boot cds and system maintenance tools. I have configured it to run both from my USB stick or directly from hard disk. Here is how to boot Hiren’s BootCD from the hard disk using grub for dos (grub4dos).

    1. The first step is getting grub4dos and release the GRLDR, grub.exe and MENU.lst to the root directory of C:
    2. Open the ISO file of Hiren’s BootCD using Daemon Tools or Winimage and extract the directory HBCD to the root directory of C:
    3. Edit MENU.lst and put the following code into it:
timeout 30
default 0

title Start Hiren's BootCD
find --set-root /HBCD/boot.gz
map --mem /HBCD/boot.gz (fd0)
map --hook
chainloader (fd0)+1
rootnoverify (fd0)
map --floppies=1
boot
    1. Edit the boot.ini file under C: and put the following line into it. This will make Windows load grub4dos, and then grub4dos will load Hiren’s boot file to boot it.
C:GRLDR="Hiren"
    1. You can also boot the mini WinXP in the HBCD directory by adding the following code into the MENU.lst file.
title Mini Windows Xp
find --set-root /HBCD/XPLOADER.BIN
chainloader /HBCD/XPLOADER.BIN

After the modifications, reboot the system to use your Hiren’s BootCD from the hard disk. Becaues the boot.gz under HBCD does does not come with ntfs drivers, this method only works when C: is in FAT32 format.

36 Replies to “Running Hiren’s BootCD from hard drive”

    1. I would say this is the best BootCD out there. Now it comes with a license warning and you have to acknowledge it before proceeding to use the proprietary tools. Definitely worth trying and it comes handy when I boot it from my USB stick.

  1. Hello thinkweird, your post about booting Hiren’s from HDD is very interesting, because that’s exactly what I have been trying to do. Could you please give more details? Firstly: I cannot find text4dos or any info about it anywhere on the net. What is it – an alternative DOS shell? Secondly: What version of Hiren’s do you use? Thirdly. When you say edit menu.lst/boot.ini, do you meen overwrite completely? Thank you very much.

  2. 1. I think I made a typo. It is not ‘text4dos’, it is grub4dos.
    2. I think this method applies to Hiren BootCD from version 9 plus.
    3. Don’t overwrite. Just insert the code into those two files.

    Tell me if you have luck with this method.

  3. Hello, thank you for your time and the quick reply. I very much appreciate it.

    Here’s my situation: I would like to use Hiren’s HDD boot as a sort of a “Service partition” on my HDD.

    It’s a Primary partition (250MB) at the beginning of a 320GB HDD.

    I formatted it to FAT32, set it active, extracted GRLDR, grub.exe and MENU.lst from grub4dos v0.4.4.

    I inserted your code at the end of MENU.lst.

    I extracted HBCD folder from the Hiren’s 10.4 ISO to the drive root.

    There is no BOOT.INI to edit, so I created an empty file and put your single line to it (here might be the problem I think).

    I try to boot the partition, it freezes, black screen, no output.

    What do I do wrong?

    Thanx, pabloroy

  4. Hi, I am kinda busy now. So this reply is brief, but I will write a longer one.

    It appears that you does not have a working mbr (master boot record) to either load boot.ini or menu.lst.

    It would be easier if you put HBCD into C: drive which already has a boot record, and for XP, the lines in the boot.ini will work.

    Or you can install grub boot information into that partition you mentioned and boot from that partition. I believe this link will help you:

    http://www.hiren.info/pages/bootcd-on-usb-disk

    good luck and write back please.

  5. Hello, that was it! Thank You! I used the SW in your link to make the partition boot GRUB and it works! Well it partly works, anyways. Mini WinXP boots perfectly, DOS BootCD starts as well, but when trying to run any tool from the menu (i.e. Ghost or Partition Magic) it ends up with “HBCD folder not found”. I tried to Google it up and it appears that same thing happens to a lot of people with Hiren USB flashdisk. It probably has something to do with BIOS abilities and setup. My computer is an Acer Timeline notebook so BIOS is not much configurable. Interesting thing is that when I boot the exact configuration from USB flashdisk, the DOS apps work perfectly. Any idea? But even if it’s only Mini WinXP it’s already wonderful! Thanks again.
    pabloroy

  6. Can you post your menu.lst in the hard disk partition here? My configuration works perfectly so I guess it is the problem of the default menu.lst.

  7. Here goes my menu.lst (I left out redundant entries and kept only MiniXP, Dos BootCD and Alternative Dos Boot CD).
    Thanx, p.

    default /default

    title Mini Windows XpnRun Antivirus and other windows programs
    find –set-root /HBCD/XPLOADER.BIN
    chainloader /HBCD/XPLOADER.BIN

    title Dos BootCDnRun Dos Programs
    find –set-root /HBCD/boot.gz
    kernel /HBCD/memdisk
    initrd /HBCD/boot.gz

    title Start Hiren’s BootCD (Alternative Boot Method)n Using Grub4Dos map
    find –set-root /HBCD/boot.gz
    map –mem /HBCD/boot.gz (fd0)
    map –hook
    chainloader (fd0)+1
    rootnoverify (fd0)
    map –floppies=1
    boot

    1. What is the format of your hard drive partition? My guess is that if it is NTFS, the Hiren will not load correctly because it can’t read from NTFS on initial boot.

  8. I have the same issue, with same entries in menu.lst
    Hiren’s boots to the menu fine, but when trying to load any tools that attempt to load “CD” Drivers I get the “HBCD” folder not found error.I get this on multiple computers. (I get the same error on my Cruzer 4.0GB drives and my Lexar 16 GB Drive.
    I haven’t tried my Kingston 8GB yet, although some people seem to think it has to do with the actual usb unit itself.

  9. Just REDID my Lexar w/ the same image on the cruzer, and all functions now work. So it may really be the USB Flash device, but I think it’s a combination of certain BIOS/USB device mismatches. (Or it may be if the USB device is larger than 4GB it flags the USB device as an HD in bios, however, every machine I plug the cruzer into shows the cruzer as an HD in the Boot menu, not a floppy, removable device or other such rot…) At any rate, I suggest trying a different brand/size USB stick.

    1. I am almost certain that if the usb disk or the hard drive is NTFS format, the error will occur. Try changing it to Fat32 and see if it works.

  10. Hi, my HDD is FAT32 of course, so is my USB stick. No problems with USB, only HDD. I guess it is as ntrcessor says, some mismatch between BIOS and device. As long as the MiniXP works I’m fine. Thanx for all your help. Cheers, P.

  11. can i make my hiren boot from other partition, eg. E: ?
    My C: is wondows XP
    My D: is Windows Seven

    I want my E: is hiren boot CD.

    is it possible?

    1. As long as your partition, which is your case partition E:, is not formatted in NTFS, I see no reason why you can’t run Hiren’s Boot CD from that partition. Grub is very versatile and I am sure it can handle booting from other partitions.

  12. Err, unfortunately not. Hiren’s 10.2 which I got a while back has grub4dos packed in a uha archive called **** and is unpacked to D: (Ramdisk I guess) by Grub4DosInstaller.bat. That does this:
    @echo off
    ..uharc.exe x -t”%temp%” -y+ filesUSBGrub.uha grub*
    start “” /D”%temp%” “grubinst_gui.exe”
    What calls that I have no idea. I’m no good at this kind of stuff. I’m going to try and fix it myself. So close, but so far, aargh! Suggestions appreciated if you have the time and interest.

    >1. I think I made a typo. It is not ‘text4dos’, it is grub4dos.
    >2. I think this method applies to Hiren BootCD from version 9 plus.

  13. Yes! Thanks guys. I now have two USB sticks that have Hirens 10.2 and my XP Pro i386 folder, and they work. The two sticks are both old 1 Gig items I used to lend out (but I won’t any more). One is a no-name cheapo Chinese, the other is am old Buffalo stick.

    I’ve tried so many times over the last 3 years to get this to work, but always failed. This article got me to try again. I’m not good at editing config or menu files, and it turns out that I didn’t need to.

    All I did was follow this to the letter:
    http://www.hiren.info/pages/bootcd-on-usb-disk.
    I downloaded the two sets of files, formatted both sticks in FAT32, ran the grub4dos, then copied the HBCD folder to both from a CD. Then copied grdldr amd menu.lst from the HBCD folder to root of the sticks. I made no other changes.

    Ar first it didn’t work – blinking cursor or garbage on the screen when I selected the standard boot. Then I tried the ‘Alternative Boot Method’ in the menu, exactly as your script does thinkweird, except I did it manually by scrolling down. Yup, bingo!

    Tested on both my machines.
    Machine 1: A homebrew P45 Intel chipset board, way overclocked, but otherwise untouched. One 500 Gig SATA, one 320 Gig IDE. NTFS and Fat32 partitions.
    Machine 2: A cheapo N260 netbook with a 320 Gig IDE internal.
    The 2 keys seem to be a) that I had to manually select the stick as boot (bios F10 on mine) Neither machine booted with USB stick set as first boot priority. b) The Alternative boot method on the Hirens menu MUST be used to run the tools. Standard method does not work.

  14. Oops, I forgot a third key need for this to work. I had to set both machines in bios to “Legacy USB” = Enabled. So the sticks are both running on USB 1.1 even though they are USB 2.0 sticks. Weird, must be one of the drivers he used can’t do USB 2.

    Also, if you have an old machine that can’t select the boot drive at startup, then don’t even try. i can pretty well guarantee it won’t work. I’ve just donw another test with both sticks AND a USB DVD writer with the Hirens CD plugged in to the netbook. Its offering me all 3 as a boot source. First I had no Hirens, now its coming at me from all sides.

    This is amazing. Thanks again thinkweird!

    1. Hi Guillaume,

      Thank you very much for your detailed feedback. I am sure it will help a lot for future visitors who have the same problem.
      Hopefully I can find enough time in the near future to polish this post based on the discussions so far.

  15. I’m having the same issue as pabloroy. I have a 320 Gb USB Drive.
    2 Partitions – (#1: 512 Mb Fat32 || #2: 300 Gb NTFS)
    Got Hiren’s running from the 512 Mb Fat32 partition.
    When I try to run Norton Ghost I get the “HBCD” folder not found error.
    Any suggestion is appreciated.

    Thank you very much guys!

  16. For this guide to work you have to remember a few things. First, it has to be FAT32, which limits the size you can create the partition, I’d suggest using something like partitionmagic as it will tell you exactly how big your partition can be and still be bootable. If you just take, say, and 80 gig or bigger drive and format to fat32 it won’t be bootable, you only have a few gigs to work with, plenty of space for XP.

    I suggest you use parition magic, create an active primary parition formatted as fat32 with the most space you can and still have it bootable (partition magic will tell you when you specify the size)

    Then install windows XP as normal to that partition, once it’s done and working (reboot to be sure) follow the steps of extracting the grub files to the root of c:. EDIT the menu.lst file so it looks exactly like the one above (meaning you can delete everything in there with notepad and copy and paste from the given example.)

    Then, i suggest instead of trying to edit boot.ini directly (which you can’t) :

    right click “my computer” properties
    click ‘advanced’ tab
    Click startup and recovery “settings” button

    Click the edit button beside “to edit startup options manuall”
    Then ADD (C:GRLDR=”Hiren”) into the file above the line that should be there for your current windows install.

    Then copy the HBCD folder over to the root of C: and reboot, done.

    If ALL you want is hirens, you can follow the same steps, then manually remove the windows install files from either a boot cd (hirens you just installed) or a pe environment, making sure to LEAVE the boot files. Obviously if you attempt to load xp it will error, but as long as the drive is bootable, boot.ini is there, and grub is intact, it should work.

  17. Thanks, dear it worked like charm..
    I do this:

    Format drive to FAT32,
    set it active,
    extracted GRLDR,
    grub.exe
    and MENU.lst
    bootlace.com

    from grub4dos v0.4.4.

    Inserted your this code at the end of MENU.lst.
    =======================================
    timeout 30
    default 0

    title Start Hiren’s BootCD
    find –set-root /HBCD/boot.gz
    map –mem /HBCD/boot.gz (fd0)
    map –hook
    chainloader (fd0)+1
    rootnoverify (fd0)
    map –floppies=1
    boot

    title Mini Windows Xp
    find –set-root /HBCD/XPLOADER.BIN
    chainloader /HBCD/XPLOADER.BIN
    =======================================

    Then Copy these files to C:
    NTLDR
    AUTOEXEC.BAT
    BOOT.INI
    CONFIG.SYS
    NTDETECT.COM

    Then open BOOT.INI and writ these lines at the end
    =============
    C:GRLDR=”Hiren”
    =============

    Save it.

    then Extracted HBCD folder from the Hiren’s 10.4 ISO to the drive root.

    Finally restart the system and it boots….
    Hurray

    1. Yes. You can. The best way now seems to be looking into the HBCD directory of the latest Hiren BootCD. Just copy the menu.lst inside that folder, the grldr and grub.exe to your specified location. Make changes to menu.lst and boot.ini if necessary (in your case it is d:grldr). It is easier than the method in the origianl post.

  18. Great article and something i am looking for.

    I have a problem. I have an old office pc which is severely infected and contains lot of imp docs. It is old with only 256mb ram and the virus doesn’t let me use either MSE or MBAM. I tried to boot hiren 11.3 from CD but for some reason my cd drive doesnt recognize it. So i am trying to boot it from hard drive. My C drive is fat32 and tried the steps but it didn’t work. What am i doing wrong?

  19. hi, i found this article interesting. I am looking for a way to install windows xp from the hard drive. If you or anyone can help i will appreciate it.

    thanks.

    1. Install XP from hard driver? Very easy. Just copy the files from the CD to the hard driver, boot into an WinPE environment and run setup. There are tons of information about this on the internet.

      Or if your computer support booting fro USB, you can use WintoFlash to install XP from a USB thumb drive.

  20. Thanks thinkweird,
    I go over your instruction, includes the all other replay.
    first try and it’s works !
    including the application.
    I used Hiren v10.06

    Thanks again,
    Dan

    1. This post was written for Win XP in mind. I think I will need to update it to include Win 7 as well. Please stay tuned.

  21. easy way I found was using hiren boot 15.1
    1-Format hdd to fat 32
    2-copy paste all content from cd (what ever you are booting from)to formated hard drive
    3-open up DLC Menu
    4-Click Programs
    5-Click Disk Tools
    6-Click Grub4Dos Setup
    7-Under Device Name Find Your Hard Drive
    8-Click Install
    exit out and and restart your system will boot Hiren boot 15.1 off your hard drive

      1. You don’t have to use grub for linux. Just find in the Hiren’s directory, there is a tool called grubinst_gui (grub install). Launch it and install it to the hard drive you want.

    1. Thank you very much for your input. Regarding step 2, could you confirm if you have copied the fold HBCD itself to the hard drive OR the subfolders of HBCD to the root level of the hard drive?

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