Install IPCop from a USB Drive

   May 1st, 2009

IPCop is a really neat open source project that can basically transform any old computer with 2 NIC’s in it in to a hardware firewall, VPN server, and Web Filter, among many other useful things.

We use it quite a lot where I work and we’re always looking for the smaller, better IPCop box.

The most recent version we went with was a 1U half-depth rack mount server from the guys over at  This unit was both cheap, and met our needs of a rack-mountable IPCop machine.

The slight downside to this machine was there was no CD-Rom drive in it as our past IPCop boxes have had.  In addition, there was no IDE port on the motherboard (only SATA), and we didn’t have a SATA CD-Rom drive hanging around the office, so I set out to figure out how to install IPCop from a USB drive.

After a ton of searching I came across some instructions, which I will post for you in case you ever want to do the same.

1) Download the “usb-fdd” from the IPCop Downloads page.

2) Download a utility called dd for windows.  I am also providing a download link here in case that page ever disappears, because dd for windows is vital to making this happen.

3) Extract the dd.exe file from the zip, and extract the ipcop-[version]-install-usb-fdd.i386.img file from the .gz file you downloaded, put them both in the same directory.

4) Insert a USB drive.  Any files on this drive will be WIPED so be sure if there is anything you need on it, to copy the files off it!!!

5) Open up a command window and CD to the directory your dd.exe file and IPCop .img file are sitting.  Run this command:

dd if=ipcop-install-usb-fdd-1.4.11.i386.img of=\\.\g: bs=1k

In my example above my USB drive was g: you will want to change that letter to what ever drive your USB drive is on your machine of course

6) That’s it!  It will take about 5 minutes to write the image to the USB drive.  When dd.exe is done it will return you to the command prompt.  You’re ready to stick the USB drive in your soon-to-be IPCop machine, boot off it, and install it!

One thing to note is that this utility reformats your USB drive to the size needed by the image (around 50mb). Optimally it’d be cool to have say a 64mb flash drive around that you could just leave as an IPCop install stick (well, that’d be nice for me since I do a lot of IPCop installs).  When you’re wanting to reclaim your flash drive for regular use, you’ll want to right click on it in windows, and format it back to the appropriate size using FAT32.  Otherwise you will be like me with a 2gb flash driver partitioned to 50mb and wondering why your 800mb BackTrack 3 boot image won’t copy over to it! haha

Anyway, I hope someone finds this article useful.  If not, I know I will the next time I need to do an IPCop USB Install.

33 Responses to “Install IPCop from a USB Drive”

  1. Sabu  Says:

    Thanks a loooooooooooooooooooooooot -:) I was looking for it for the same problem. Cheers – 🙂

  2. Roberto M  Says:

    thanks, it was easy to follo, wbut a little problem trying to find the usb-fdd image file but finally it was rewarding

    again thanks a lot

  3. Ben Wilson  Says:

    Dude, many thanks indeed. I’m goin’ to build a new system w/o a CD-ROM, just an HDD, and the USB Stick.

    I would recommend this to a friend, or someone who wants to build a firewall system.

    I tried extracting the .gz file that i downloaded from the IE web browser, didn’t work, used FF 3.0.11, and it extracted w/ no problems 🙂 YAY!

  4. Hugo  Says:

    I’ve been trying all thiese steps but I got a message that reads “no cdrom found”. I’ll try tomorrow disconecting the FDD and CDROM, I’ll only leave the USB drive,(Dell Dimension c521, only Sata Ports )

    I’m want to install ipcop in a new computer that has 4 GB on RAM Because that current one, only has 2 GB, my network is around 250 computers and for any reason the memory and cache got 97 % of use and then web proxy stop and internet goes down
    Any other Idea ?

    thank you very much
    Hugo Perales ( )

  5. ben  Says:

    thanks a lot for this guide, it worked fine for me.

  6. Ali  Says:

    I get the following error:
    Volume in drive C has no label.
    Volume Serial Number is FC8A-C2EE

    Directory of C:\dd

    02/15/2010 11:52 AM .
    02/15/2010 11:52 AM ..
    12/06/2003 03:50 PM 18,325 Copying.txt
    02/26/2007 08:50 PM 342,016 dd.exe
    02/26/2007 08:19 PM 4,319 ddchanges.txt
    01/22/2010 02:01 AM 54,411,264 ipcop-1.9.11-install-usb-fdd.i486.img
    4 File(s) 54,775,924 bytes
    2 Dir(s) 11,514,855,424 bytes free

    C:\dd>dd if=ipcop-1.9.11-install-usb-fdd.i486.img of=\\.\J: bs=1k

    rawwrite dd for windows version 0.5.
    Written by John Newbigin
    This program is covered by the GPL. See copying.txt for details
    Error opening output file: 32 The process cannot access the file because it is being used by another process

  7. Nick - Author Comment:

    Something has your image file locked. Either an explorer process, or something else. Try copying the file and renaming it and using that file.

  8. John  Says:

    Close explorer altogether, it will work if you don’t have anything showing the files you are using open. (at least for me – same error and closing explorer fixed it)

  9. pbounds  Says:

    Great FAQ, and straight to the point, worked like a champ! Our company was buying these small supermicro 1U rack boxes with no cdrom, so I always opened up the case hooked up a cdrom cable and installed that way, with the bootable USB, system booted right up, recognized the USB ky drive, and loaded the Ipcop, without a hitch. Only cleanup I did after that was run the updates from my MAC, and also install the OpenVPN plugin software.



  10. Johan  Says:

    Thanks a million, worked like a charm

  11. Erik  Says:

    I’m getting “No bootable partition in table” when I try to boot from the USB-drive. Any idea why?

  12. Nick - Author Comment:

    Sorry, I am not sure on that one.

  13. Mal Anderson  Says:

    Can I boot AND RUN from a USB memstick like I can with Ubuntu 10.04 “Live CD”? Is the USB image a “Live” image? I have both a 4GB and an 8GB USB memstick available for use. I just want to install and test the features of IPCOP before I decide to run it in production. Then I will dedicate a hard disk to the installation and wipe it clean first. That way, I don’t have to wipe a hard disk, install IPCOP, test it and decide I do not like it and rebuild the wiped hard disk. I don’t have any spare hard disks available ATM. Money is tight. This is for a home network of 3 PCs to hide behind.

  14. Nick - Author Comment:

    No, it must be installed and run from a hard drive.

  15. adam  Says:

    I encountered a problem when following these instructions, did everything as instructed, but it failed with error 32 (output media locked).

    Found that by closing the explorer window i was using to look in the directory containing the file solved the problem and this works now.

    Basically close all non-essential explorer windows down before attempting this.

  16. john  Says:

    Is there a tutorial for linux environment ?

  17. Nick - Author Comment:

    Linux has the dd tool built in. Should be a similar command, just look up the syntax for it.

  18. john  Says:

    After running this syntax dd if=ipcop-install-usb-fdd-2.0.3.i486.img of=\\.\g: bs=1k
    I got this message. is this ready for booting? Thnx –>
    rawwrite dd for windows version 0.5.
    Written by John Newbigin
    This program is covered by the GPL. See copying.txt for details
    Error opening input file: 2 The system cannot find the file specified

  19. Nick - Author Comment:

    No, it couldn’t find your input file…

  20. john  Says:

    what is lacking in my file? can you help me fix this problem. thanks!
    my ipcop.img and dd files are inside my usbstick which is in G:\ directory. what is lacking in my syntax ?

  21. Nick - Author Comment:

    That’s not what my instructions say at all. Start over and pay attention.

  22. akunyer  Says:

    This solution works …! Thanks !

  23. Nick - Author Comment:

    Always cool when I see an old article still helping people.

  24. Hue  Says:

    Didn’t work. Boot error. Why?

  25. Nick - Author Comment:

    PEBKAC error

  26. Hue  Says:

    It’s not PEBKAC. Maybe hardware compatibility issue. Everything is OK when I try to boot this USB on my Laptop, but it show “Boot error” when I boot on 2 other PC.

    Thank Nick

  27. Nick - Author Comment:

    Yeah, it must have something to do with the hardware you’re trying to boot. As long as you’re telling it to boot off USB on start up, it should go. Good luck.

  28. Syed  Says:

    Hi thanks for such a usefull application, ive down what you said and its creating the USB boot flash, but when i point the boot to the USD on the workstation that i want to install on its give “Missing perating system” error

    C:\ipcop>dd if=ipcop-2.0.3-install-usb-fdd.i486.img of=\\.\E: bs=1k
    rawwrite dd for windows version 0.5.
    Written by John Newbigin
    This program is covered by the GPL. See copying.txt for details
    61708+0 records in
    61708+0 records out

  29. Nick - Author Comment:

    It looks like it is writing the image correctly. My guess is there is something happening on the machine you’re trying to boot it on. Maybe it isn’t booting off the USB and still trying to boot off the internal HD?

  30. Jonathan J  Says:

    Perhaps the following will help others.
    I was unable to make a usable boot disc using the dd.exe option mentioned here. I looked up problems with this and eventually came across a solution that worked for me. Namely to first run a “Clean” operation on the flash drive after running “diskpart”. And then to use a application called “physdiskwrite” to create a usable bootable IPCOP usb drive.
    NB Run as administrator under Windows 7!!

  31. Silikk  Says:

    Why is so complicated to make bootable an usb key with ipCop ???? Others distro are so simple !!
    Not run on my computer.
    ” ‘dd’ is not recognized as an internal command…”

  32. Nick - Author Comment:

    IPcop is a very old product at this point. It sort of came before the time of simple “click here” installs.

  33. Pr0f82  Says:

    Thank you so much! it worked perfectly.
    (on the indicated site I found the 64bit DD version)

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