Difference between revisions of "Talk:USB flash installation media"

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(Gentoo Linux LiveUSB HOWTO: new section)
(Gentoo Linux LiveUSB HOWTO)
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and replace (if you on arch)
dd if=/usr/share/syslinux/mbr.bin of=/dev/sdc
dd if=/usr/lib/syslinux/mbr.bin of=/dev/sdc

Revision as of 15:11, 26 January 2012


I was unable to get my usb drive bootable with the steps provided. I ended up using UNetbootin, a small application which made my USB drive bootable without a charm. The application doesn't require any installation procedure.

--Serpent 04:22, 25 March 2009 (EDT)


I was not able to boot my Thinkpad X31 from USB stick without the lilo part first. I understood it like that: syslinux puts a bootloader at the beginning of the first partition, but nothing in the MBR, so when you try booting from the stick, the bootloader cannot be found.


Shouldn't the info that you need to select boot from usbdisk in BIOS be selected for this to work be mentioned? Or isn't it needed to be able to boot from an usb disk? If it's needed perhaps one could get grub and/or lilo to bootup an usb disk if the BIOS didn't support it and so how one would do that would also be needed as information.


What about merging this article with Usb Drive Arch Install?


Does not work anymore...

I was unable to run the new "live" arch-core-install-2008.04-rc-i686.iso off the USB stick. I've copied the kernel, initrd, and .squashfs files to the stick, and added a minimal entry in syslinux.cfg. Kernel + initrd boot fine, I even saw that the USB disk is detected, partitions parsed, and /dev/ entries created, but then init halts with something like 'unable to find /dev/cd/*'. I've spent few minutes reading the initialisation code, but didn't find a kernel commandline option to override it. I'm sure there is some easy way to make it work, but the process of mounting the CD-ROM should probably be implemented in a more robust way, so the initrd code finds and mounts the compressed filesystem even when booting from USB HDD.

Verifying the USB

Before and after having performed the dd onto the USB disk, check that the md5sums are correct. For example:

- $ md5sum archlinux-2008.06-core-x86_64.img && echo && cat md5sums.x86_64

The next command will give similar results, but will also let you confirm that the data was written correctly and can be read correctly:

- dd if=/dev/sdb count=661159 status=noxfer | md5sum && echo && cat md5sums.x86_64

--Zatricky 06:45, 22 January 2009 (EST)

dd for Windows

There is also dd for Windows. I tried it and it works perfectly: [1]

 dd if=file.img of=\\.\e:

where e: is your USB drive letter.

--Liquen 14:55, 4 April 2009 (EDT)

But I don't want to overwrite the entire USB stick...

I'll add this into the article soonish; recording here for reference.

So you don't have to. The easier way is to download the ISO image, mount, then copy and install GRUB manually (a la "old method").

However, I already downloaded the IMG file and don't want to waste time. Then:

sfdisk -l -uS /path/to/img



Note the starting sector of the first partition (63, in this example). Then:

dd if=/path/to/img of=arch.img skip=63

Now, I can mount the .img file without issue:

mount -o loop arch.img /mnt/usb/

Remove Unetbootin

Can we remove the Unetbootin paragraph? AFAIK, unetbootin has not been working with arch isos for a long time. Serpent reported above to have made an install with it in May 2009, but I suspect he used an archboot image (which still works with unetbootin). In my experience, the kernel boots fine but it somehow fails to mount the usb drive and therefore can't load the fs overlay stuff. Often people also report on bbs that they tried Unetbootin without luck. Just tried with the new 2010.05 isos, same problem. If someone else can confirm this, I suggest removing Unetbootin altogether since it only adds confusion.

Similary, is the third option (Gujin) still working? Hokasch 07:04, 18 May 2010 (EDT)

Ahh, understood why it is failing and updated the instructions. Still unsure if it wouldn't be better to remove it. Bug report Hokasch 07:33, 18 May 2010 (EDT)

Universal USB Installer

This method works fine for me though I got a little stuck when Arch tried to get at the boot device and couldn't find it. Turns out UUSBI's default trick is to label your device "PENDRIVE" if it formats it during the process (user-selectable). I'd like to add a note about this to the section on this page which covers the tool, but as it'd be my first change here I want to be sure I'm not going to be shouted at...

Xyon 09:57, 9 November 2011 (EST)

Hi and welcome! I've moved your discussion at the bottom of the page according to Help:Style#Discussion pages.
Yes you can add such a note, just always remember to explain your edits in the Summary field. For more style guidelines see Help:Style.
-- Kynikos 06:41, 10 November 2011 (EST)

Gentoo Linux LiveUSB HOWTO

try this


and replace (if you on arch)

dd if=/usr/share/syslinux/mbr.bin of=/dev/sdc


dd if=/usr/lib/syslinux/mbr.bin of=/dev/sdc