Problems booting from Live USB

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Problems booting from Live USB

Postby nblythin on Wed Sep 16, 2009 3:44 pm

Hello All,

I'm really hoping someone can help me with this, as I've spent three days reading countless Linux forums to no avail. I've been using Linux for many years now, so am not quite a noob, but don't really get too much into the technical stuff, so simplified solutions would be greatly appreciated.

Background:
I recently got a couple of Acer Aspire One netbooks (running win XP), which I would like to dual boot with either Mint 6 or 7. Obviously the netbooks don't have an optical drive (and I don't have an external), so I'm stuck using USBs. I have a desktop running PCLOS and a laptop running Mint 6, which I'm using to download the ISOs and make the USBs.

I've tried every possible combination I can think of, but nothing seems to work.

I have downloaded the LinuxMint-6.iso the LinuxMint-7.iso as well as the Ubuntu Netbook Remix. The Md5 sums of each downloaded file are correct. I have also burned working CDs from each ISO; so I know the files are good.

I have tried creating the usb using UNetbootin (both using the existing downloaded ISO, as well as letting it re-download it itself). I have also tried creating the USB using usb-creator. I have tried making the usb (using each of those methods) from my installed Mint 6 machine, as well as from both the Mint 6 and Mint 7 live CDs ... all with no luck.

I have tried making both persistent, and non-persistent USBs. Doesn't seem to make any difference.

The Errors:
I always seem to get one of the two following errors.

Every time I've tried a usb created with UNetbootin, I simply get the error
Code: Select all
Boot error.

Every time I've tried a usb created with usb-creator, I get the error:
Code: Select all
SYSLINUX 3.63 Debian-2008-07-15 EBIOS Copyright (C) 1994-2008 H. Peter Anvin
Unknown keyword in configuration file.
Unknown keyword in configuration file.
Unknown keyword in configuration file.
Unknown keyword in configuration file.
Unknown keyword in configuration file.
Unknown keyword in configuration file.
boot:
Could not find kernel image: linux
boot: _

Notes:
    - I have tested that the netbooks can boot okay from USB, by booting them with known/working live USBs of other distros. They boot just fine with Puppy, an older PCLOS MiniMe, and gOS.
    - I have 4 different USB sticks that I have tested (by making bootable drives of those other distros); all of the actual drives work fine.
    - I have tried leaving the syslinux.cfg file as-is, as well as replacing it with the 'custom' file, as suggested on Pendrivelinux.com
The closest thing to an 'answer' (as to why the problem is happening), is from the Parted Magic support forum. They suggest that for any Linux that's based on Ubuntu, the syslinux version is old / outdated. I'm not sure if that suggestion is right or not (remember, I'm not quite a noob, but am not too technical either), but a few of my Linux-geek friends seem to think it's plausible. However, even if that is the problem, that doesn't give me any indication as to how to fix it.

Any suggestions are greatly appreciated! I want to Linux up these netbooks before I spend too much time surfing with them, before their 'trial' software expires, and before the win XP install corrupts itself too badly (it's already updating itself despite my turning the auto update "off" ... darn microsith!)

Cheers,
Neil
nblythin
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Re: Problems booting from Live USB

Postby ddalley on Fri Sep 18, 2009 6:47 pm

As I read this, you need to first get a USB memory stick working, right? So I booted into Ubuntu 9.04 and used its Create a USB Install program to read the Mint7 ISO and installed it on a 2Gb flash stick. It worked with no problem (I'm using this install right now), so try that and see if it fails for you or not. If it does, then I am not sure what is going on. Maybe try using a different host computer to make the flash installer. dunno

Another option you can use is to boot off the Mint7 disk on your desktop and install Mint7 directly to the USB stick as if it was a hard drive. If you do this, then you probably will have to change the menu.lst drive number for GRUB to work. Mint7's installer isn't setting it properly for GRUB whenever I do this, and it should. (Mint 6 always did it properly, though.) (Umm, I don't think this leaves an installer for you, but at least you can use it until you find a better solution.)

You could borrow a USB DVD drive and install from the DVD.

Don't climb into a barrel and drift over the Falls just yet. :mrgreen:
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Re: Problems booting from Live USB

Postby nblythin on Fri Sep 18, 2009 8:43 pm

Thanks for your reply... will be trying to lay my hands on a borrowed external drive this weekend. I'm still baffled by what the problem may be, as I've now tried it multiple ways from multiple machines. Very strange. :?

ddalley wrote:Don't climb into a barrel and drift over the Falls just yet. :mrgreen:
... don't worry, I'm not quite at that point... yet.

Cheers,
Neil
nblythin
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Re: Problems booting from Live USB

Postby nblythin on Sun Sep 20, 2009 11:15 pm

Finally got Mint installed on my netbook, but it took borrowing an external cd drive. Never was able to get a bootable usb to work.

On a bright note, Mint 7 is running amazingly well on this machine (Acer Aspire One, 10"). So far everything has worked perfectly ... wireless, sound, video, even the webcam. Haven't got the mic to work yet, but honestly haven't tried anything to fix it yet and I seem to recall reading that was a fairly common problem with this machine. But overall, very happy.
nblythin
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