Ok this hasn't worked.
When I put the USB drive in my netbook, it does not attempt to boot (yes booting usb is set to the primary boot device in the bios) instead it jumps straight to the windows 7 safe mode \ recovery screen - at which point I get stuck in the infinite loop I am currently in.
I know the USB key did build correctly, because I just tried it on my other laptop and the DOS based dell flashbios software kicked in correctly when I switched on.
I know this sounds crazy, but I'm convinced that whatever has happened to my netbook or SSD
or whatever.. its also broken usb boot.
The reason why I say this is because I have another USB key that has the whole windows 7 beta install on it, (which is exactly the thing I used to overwrite the preinstalled ubuntu with windows 7 in the first place) and even when thats plugged into the netbook now the USB boot no longer kicks in.
I'm convinced the netbook tries to touch the SSD
for something even before it attempts a USB boot (even if booting from USB is set as the primary boot device) because I even tried removing the SSD
internally and booting from the USB stick and I got a PCI error "no operating system found" message - why is the machine even looking at the SSD
when its being told to run from USB first? I'm convinced whatever has happened to the SSD
its causing no end of trouble even when booting from a USB stick.
I know that booting from an external CD drive definitely does work (even with my mangled SSD
) because my friend used it to get to the Win Xp install, unfortunately I don't have an external drive with me here so theres no way I can create a CD based flashbios application.