This project has moved. For the latest updates, please go here.

Turning the .iso rescue disk file into a bootable USB drive

Topics: Technical Issues
Aug 24, 2015 at 1:26 AM
Does anybody know of a free utility that truly turns the .iso rescue disk file into a bootable USB drive? I’ve used all the tools I’ve had through the years, but none of them work. I’m having trouble updating VC to v. 1.13. It locked me out of a system drive, and the computer does not have a CD drive.
Aug 24, 2015 at 10:13 PM
Have you tried WinSetUpFromUSB? I use that to create multi-boot USB sticks, but confess I haven't tried it with a rescue .iso image.

3g
Aug 25, 2015 at 3:18 AM
Thank you for the input, 3guesses, but WinSetUpFromUSB didn’t work for me.

I’m surprised that in spite of how convenient it would be to have a bootable rescue USB drive, it is so difficult to make one—but not impossible. I have a strong feeling that one can be made. A CD is an unnecessary hassle. Just about all computers have USB ports nowadays, but not all can handle CDs easily.
Aug 27, 2015 at 4:53 PM
I use UltraIso for this.
Aug 27, 2015 at 7:21 PM
Thank you for the tip, SHBouwhuis, but UltraIso did not work, either. Too many choices, but I used the recommended settings, and the USB drive comes out empty, although the message box says that process went OK. I need a simpler one that has been proven to work.

The .iso file for the VC rescue disk has some restrictions that make it difficult to deal with, but not impossible. I don’t see the point in that, but maybe somebody can shed some light on this matter
Aug 27, 2015 at 9:07 PM
  1. Start UltraIso
  2. Add the files you need in the bootable iso
  3. Insert the USB flash drive
  4. Choose the 'Bootable' menu, and then 'Write Disk Image'
  5. Choose your USB drive and choose the write method USB-HDD+
  6. Press the 'Format' button (MAKE SURE IT IS THE USB DRIVE AND NOT YOUR HARDDISK!!!)
  7. Choose 'Write'
You should now have a bootable USB drive
  1. Restart the computer and get into the BIOS (press either 'DEL' or 'F2' or 'F8', depending on your BIOS)
  2. Choose to boot from your USB drive
Aug 27, 2015 at 11:23 PM
Thank you, SHBouwhuis, but I did exactly what you say the first time around. UltraIso does not show any files, to start with. It acts as if VeraCrypt Rescue Disk.iso is empty. I know it isn’t, but that’s what happens. I used WirRar on it, and the same happened. I tried other .iso files, and their contents show normally in UltraIso and WinRar.

Have you tried to do this yourself?
Aug 28, 2015 at 9:22 AM
No, I haven't. I just wanted to help you create a bootable USB drive.

As a final resort, you can use Rufus to create a bootable USB drive.

Maybe there is something wrong with your iso itself?
If that is the case, obviously no utility is going to help you.
Aug 28, 2015 at 4:21 PM
Thank you for the effort, SHBouwhuis. There is nothing wrong with the .iso file. I verified that it works. Rufus was my first choice originally, as I used it successfully before with other .iso’s, but it generated error messages with this one, and needless to say, it did not produce a bootable USB drive. BTW, I used several other utilities to make a bootable USB, and all failed, but again, it is possible to make a bootable USB drive with this .iso.

The real issue here seems to be whether the rescue disk file is purposefully difficult to deal with consistent with the nature of VeraCrypt’s encryption functions. If it is, it fails. Besides, there is another aspect of this file that also makes me uncomfortable, and that is that it reveals what it is, thus tipping a possible attacker about what encryption system you are using. If you open it with a simple text editor, you’ll see.

I’d like to see the developers address these issues.
Aug 28, 2015 at 9:07 PM
Hello ElZorro,

Even without the Rescue Disk, using a hex editor on the system drive, the bootloader has plain text data that will identify it as being VeraCrypt. There is a technical explanation for this, but suffice it to say, it is there. Hence, you are not hiding which software you are using to encrypt the system partition.

The only solution is to allow the bootloader to be moved to another storage device like a USB thumbdrive.

You can vote-up the request to move the bootloader using the link below and look around at other feature requests that you want to vote-up.

https://veracrypt.codeplex.com/workitem/63

Kind Regards.
Aug 28, 2015 at 10:58 PM
If you want the ultimate tools for bootable USB, get both of these:
http://www.easy2boot.com/
http://www.rmprepusb.com/

Easy2Boot permits multi ISO files and presents them in a menu. On one USB stick, I have over a dozen OS installs (Win7, 8, 10, Linux, Unix, Mac) and several utilities like GParted. Warning: These 'payload' files must be ISO and they must be contiguous on the drive. You must wait for one ISO to fully write from cache before copying the next one. Although you can prepare this stick under Linux, its much easier in Windows. There is a lot to learn about this software but its worth the time.

RMprepUSB is a tool recommended by Easy2Boot. It prepares USB sticks and offers many options. You don't need this to use Easy2Boot. But it might solve your problems if you want to make a dedicated bootable USB just for the stubborn problem you are having with the VeraCrypt rescue disk.

If you can't get the job done with these tools, forget it.
Aug 29, 2015 at 7:31 PM
Hi ElZorro,

When you said WinSetUpFromUSB didn’t work for you, could you elaborate as to how it didn't work? I don't know how big your rescue .iso is, but if you can upload it somewhere I can see if I can get it to work with WinSetUpFromUSB.

3g
Aug 29, 2015 at 7:40 PM
GeorgeWest wrote:
If you want the ultimate tools for bootable USB, get both of these:
http://www.easy2boot.com/
http://www.rmprepusb.com/

Easy2Boot permits multi ISO files and presents them in a menu. On one USB stick, I have over a dozen OS installs (Win7, 8, 10, Linux, Unix, Mac) and several utilities like GParted. Warning: These 'payload' files must be ISO and they must be contiguous on the drive. You must wait for one ISO to fully write from cache before copying the next one. Although you can prepare this stick under Linux, its much easier in Windows. There is a lot to learn about this software but its worth the time.
Easy2Boot sounds very similar to WinSetupFromUSB so I have just taken a look at the website and I noticed this:
For XP ISOs that contain a $OEM$ folder, use WinSetupFromUSB to make a USB Flash drive and then use the MPI Tool Kit to make a partition image .imgPTN file from the Flash drive.
8-)

3g
Aug 29, 2015 at 7:57 PM
Just had a quick look over on SourceForge and it is suggested that it is a very straightforward task to create a bootable USB stick from the rescue .iso - see http://sourceforge.net/p/veracrypt/discussion/features/thread/5453c652/#97df

3g
Aug 30, 2015 at 2:32 AM
Thank you, everybody, for your contributions.

The reason I asked in my original post in this thread if somebody knew of a “utility that truly turns the .iso rescue disk file into a bootable USB drive” is that I have some experience with asking technical questions and the fickleness of tools to make bootable USB drives. They’re just a hit-and-miss proposition. I wanted a proven answer rather than having to spend hours following suggestions in another trial-and-error session to find the right one.

Nevertheless, at this point I’ve found that the one that works best for me is FlashBoot, that “3guesses” led me to. It is not perfect, but it does a satisfactory job.

I think this thread has added another piece of valuable information for those in the quest to use VeraCryp as a reliable encryption tool.
Coordinator
Dec 25, 2015 at 10:26 PM
As an alternative to Flashboot, I have created a package containing free tools and a mini-howto that explains how to create a bootable USB key from VeraCrypt Rescue Disk. You can get the zip package from http://sourceforge.net/projects/veracrypt/files/Contributions/VeraCryptUsbRescueDisk.zip/download.

It contains:
  • usb_format.exe: a utility that enables formatting USB keys. It is not mandatory but in some case, the MBR of USB keys may be corrupt and this is one of the rare tools that can recreate a valid MBR.
  • grubinst_gui.exe and grubinst.exe: these are taken from Grub4Dos and they enable making a USB key bootable by writing the GRUB bootloader to it. The GUI version grubinst_gui.exe should be used which in turn will call grubinst.exe with the correct parameters.
  • grldr and menu.lst: these are the files that should be copied to the USB key after executing grubinst_gui.exe successfully. Experts may edit menu.lst to accomodate special cases.
  • Howto.txt: a mini-howto explaining the steps to follow.
I have put below screenshots showing the different tools in use.

usb_format.exe grubinst_gui.exe
Mar 23, 2016 at 6:18 PM
Edited Mar 23, 2016 at 6:20 PM
That worked great, but I would suggest people download these direct links, then they can check the signature.

I actually used an 8GB USB stick, so I had to choose FAT32....

https://sourceforge.net/projects/veracrypt/files/Contributions/VeraCryptUsbRescueDisk.zip
https://sourceforge.net/projects/veracrypt/files/Contributions/VeraCryptUsbRescueDisk.zip.sig

Also, here is the Howto.txt that is inside the zip file:
  • Insert a USB drive
  • Launch usb_format.exe as an administrator (right click "Run as Administrator")
  • Select your USB drive in the Device list
  • Choose FAT as filesystem and check "Quick Format". Click Start.
  • When done, close and then launch grubinst_gui.exe.
  • Check "Disk" and then select your USB drive in the list.
  • Click the "Refresh" button in front of "Part List" and then choose "Whole disk (MBR)"
  • Leave all other options unchanged and then click "Install"
  • You should see an console window that reads "The MBR/BS has been successfully installed. Press <ENTER> to continue ..."
  • Close the tool. Copy the files grldr and menu.lst to your USB drive at the root (e.g. if the drive letter is I:, you should have I:\grldr)
  • Copy the rescue disk file "VeraCrypt Rescue Disk.iso" to the USB drive at the root and rename it veracrypt.iso.
  • That's it. Now, you should be able to boot on the USB drive as if it was the rescue disk.
NB: There are other goodies in the "Contributions" directory.
Aug 29, 2016 at 10:40 PM
Edited Aug 29, 2016 at 10:40 PM
How did you get this file? "VeraCrypt Rescue Disk.iso"
I only get "VeraCrypt Rescue Disk.zip" when generating the VRD (VeraCrypt 1.18a).
Coordinator
Aug 31, 2016 at 2:25 PM
@geohei: in case of EFI system encryption, a zip in generated instead of the .iso. The creation of a bootable USB disk is very easy in this case and it is explained in the message displayed by VeraCrypt: just unzip "VeraCrypt Rescue Disk.zip" in a USB key that is formatted as FAT (very important!) so that the folder EFI is at the root of the USB key (for example, if the USB key is connected as E:, after decompressing the "VeraCrypt Rescue Disk.zip" you shoul obtain the folder E:\EFI).
Aug 31, 2016 at 8:16 PM
Edited Aug 31, 2016 at 9:52 PM
Hi @ idrassi @affinity i make all you say to a USB Boot veracrypt ISO ,but i Boot my USB From BIOS and get file not found,some one know a solution or i must burn a CD? ,

edit New :
Jes i make all your tutorials how to make a bootable USB ,i try rufus USB bootable too and when i choose ISO file veracrypt.ISO rufus say you dont choose a ISO ,so for me i dont know what to make now coz a USB is not Bad to Boot the veracrypt ,or when you burn your ISO they can be scratch on CD and you cant repair your veracrypt unless you have a backup of the iso

New link to the pic error
http://www.bilder-upload.eu/show.php?file=1db5fe-1472679982.jpg
Coordinator
Aug 31, 2016 at 9:28 PM
@123qwe: your pic link doesn't work. Did you follow the procedure? Give a screenshot of the content of your USB and of the error?
Oct 18, 2016 at 12:27 PM
Edited Oct 18, 2016 at 12:28 PM
Fantastic! After updateing VeraCrypt or doing another system can I simply re-create a rescue disc .iso file and drop this into the usb stick created with this method and it will work for the newly-created iso?
Mar 8 at 5:21 AM
Edited Mar 8 at 6:46 AM
Hi everyone,
I'd like to use YUMI to create a multi-boot USB stick which contains Windows PE/Acronis True Image and VeraCrypt Rescue Disk. The USB stick was format to FAT32 with GRUB bootloader and worked fine with Win PE and True Image, but won't be able to boot VeraCrypt Rescue Disk. I got a error message:
    Booting 'Boot VeraCrypt Rescue Disk.iso'
find --set-root --ignore-floppies --ignore-cd /Multiboot/ISOS/VeraCrypt Rescue Disk.iso
Error 15: File not found
Press any key to continue...
Keep all images in a single USB stick is a lot easier that keep them separately.

Could anyone help me to make it work? @idrassi @affinity

Thanks