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USB key device that allows selection of stored image

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000126974D
Original Publication Date: 2005-Aug-16
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2005-Aug-16
Document File: 2 page(s) / 24K

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Applications require multiple disks or images as part of their installation process. Diskette images, CD images, and images in general have to be carried around to the systems in which they need to be installed. Typically, the installation process is as follows: Insert the first disk/CD, process the software resident on that media Insert the next piece of media Repeat the above steps until finished. If multiple medium is required for installation, multiple insertions and removals are required. Disclosed is method that combines the images found on multiple, physical media, onto a single physical device which requires only a single insertion/removal process utilizing a USB key device that presents the individual images needed, one at a time.

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USB key device that allows selection of stored image

     Typically, USB memory key devices are bootable on PC systems provided by numerous manufacturers. These devices can be formatted and partitioned and loaded with an OS or application. To an OS, a USB memory device looks like a hard drive with one or more partitions. As such, the hard drive is virtualized and presented to the target OS using the USB key itself. In other words, the USB device can be designed to selectively present a needed image to the OS while hiding the other images. This is accomplished by virtualizing the start and the end of the storage medium to the OS. A USB device can be physically segmented or logically segmented into multiple sections (not partitions). Each section can be of arbitrary size. This allows images of arbitrary size to be placed on individual sections. Some sections can be bigger/smaller than other sections. For example, the USB device has been segmented into 5 parts. Three
(3) floppy image sections of 1.44MB size, 1 CD image section of 700MB size, and a large ghost/raw data image section of 2000MB size. When the images on the different sections are needed, the USB device switches to that image and virtualizes the storage size and other parameters to the OS. As far as the OS is concerned, it is looking at a
1.44MB floppy or a CD, etc... The index into the section where the image starts and ends is handled by onboard USB logic and switching mechanism.

     NOTE: An image on a section can appear to have multiple partitions and file systems to the OS reading the USB device section.

There are two (2) mechanisms for accomplishing the section switching:
1) The USB key device can be physically switched by the user of the computer. A simple button on the outside of the USB key (with a mini LCD panel to indicate the section chosen and number of sections, etc..) can be used to switch to different sections. If you want to use the three (3) floppy images to install Windows NT, you would insert the USB key of the present invention and boot to it. Wait for Windows NT to prompt for the second diskette, press the USB key button. The second section image is now presented to the installer. Press enter to continue with the Windows NT installation. When Windows NT prompts for the third floppy, press the USB button again to switch to another section. This would continue on until the installer is finished. An associated driver could also be written to a section. It is easy to see how having all the installation diskette images and the driver diskette images placed on the same usable physical media is very convenient. When the Windows NT CD image is needed, we would press the button for the 4th time to switch to the CD section and...