Assuming i ever manage to make a bootable gparted thumb drive, would this work or will it still try to load the faulty drive/controller and fail?
The motherboard (or PCI-Slot based) storage controllers are responsible for the built-in harddisks (eSATA also for external), optical drives, tape / zip drives etc. USB connected devices have their own controller on the motherboard and are integrated via software drivers, which care about them, if they are correctly detected. E.g. USB sticks are "emulated" as storage devices (several different kinds are possible: "superfloppy", harddisk and even CDROM, according to their respective format).
1. "GParted Live" on USB stick might work on your friends PC, provided it can boot from USB storage devices other than ZIP drives.
2. Connecting an USB-CDROM-drive will probably also work, if bootable.
To get a working "GParted" on an USB stick isn't that difficult. You have three possibilities :
1.http://gparted-forum.surf4.info/viewtop … 368#p12368
3. "My method", which I use exclusively for all my sticks and multiboot HDDs (several Linux / Windows versions). The advantage is, that you do not overwrite DOS-MBR/PBR with Linux Bootloaders, and therefore restoring a pure DOS boot is very easy. The bootloader, I use is "Grub4DOS"(GRLDR). It is able to boot Win98/ME, W2K, XP, Vista and all Linux distros. It accepts as bootmedia HDDs, CDROMs, Linux distros on USB-Sticks, even if the PC cannot boot from USB, and floppy images. No need anymore to change boot sequence in BIOS. If you have two built-in HDDs with bootable partition(s) on each, you can choose by "Grub" menu, which one to start (bootflag doesn't matter !). If you are interested, I can give you the details, how to proceed.
Normally WinXP does not accept partitioned USB Sticks (shows only first partition), but there is a small driver from Hitachi, which enables this feature. As stick sizes are now big enough to use it, I consequently separate data, media and programs in its own volumes. I don't keep it as a secret, if you are interested.