RESOLVED ! Live(media) system boot problems for Mint 15 & 16

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Webtest
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RESOLVED ! Live(media) system boot problems for Mint 15 & 16

Postby Webtest » Mon Dec 09, 2013 10:11 pm

Esteemed Forum Participants and Lurkers:
========================================

I run LiveSD and LiveUSB systems almost exclusively, and I am always annoyed by the boot up and shut down problems that are different depending on the boot media. I've experienced various anomalies on my desktop and laptop machines all the way back to Mint 8, but most recently I've notice identical problems on Mint 15 and 16 Mate 32-bit on my HP dx2400 Core-2 Duo desktop machine. This machine has a front panel multi-media interface. I think these problems also exist on other flavors of these versions.

When booting from an SD card, the system boot timer does not run. It stays hung at 10 seconds until I press the <Enter> key a couple of times, after which it boots through to a running system. With the same LiveSD card system, the system shuts down or restarts just fine with no operator intervention, which is nice.

When booting from a USB drive, the operation is totally different. The system timer DOES run normally, and the system boots through to a running system with no operator intervention. However, on shutdown or restart, the system evidently thinks it is running from optical media, and near the end of the shutdown process the system hangs for operator intervention at a prompt to "Please remove installation media and close the tray (if any) then press ENTER". Worse than that, the system will NOT do a restart ... the BIOS can't find the media any more. Just doing a <Ctrl><Alt><Del> does not resolve the situation. I have to do a full power down, after which the system boots up just fine.

These are the kinds of problems that drive newbies crazy. For me, they make USB boot drives intolerable, although I have several Kanguru drives with positive lock switches that I would like to use.

If anyone can offer any hints, comments, suggestions, or assistance, especially with debugging the timer problem when booting from an SD card, it would be sincerely appreciated.

Blessings in abundance, all the best, & ENJOY!
Art in Carlisle, PA USA
Last edited by Webtest on Tue Mar 03, 2015 10:01 pm, edited 1 time in total.
BOAT - a hole in the water that you pour money into
LINUX - a hole in your life that you pour TIME into

HP dx2400 Core 2 Duo 4 GB - Mint 10 Gnome, Mint 13/15/17.x/18 Mate <on LOCKED Kanguru USB drives>

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Re: Live(media) system boot problems for Mint 15 & 16

Postby bootbaby » Sun Apr 20, 2014 1:03 am

Hi Webtest,

good to get your message.

Figured there would have been a knowledgable reply before now,
too bad I'm not it :-(

But I thought this would bump the message up again, maybe a qualified Live Mint expert will see it.

Probably relates to the recent post:
"Annoying Boot and Restart differences with LiveMedia Edited"

I'm also finding a defect in the Mint 16 32-bit Mate live DVD fileset.

Years ago I started out with Mint 9, then 10, then 13.

Now trying Mint 16, and the bootability is not as advanced as it was in Mint 13 and earlier.

I have not tried Mint 14 or 15 yet, maybe they were OK in this regard.

It is very disappointing to experience a decline in bootability when everything else is supposed to have been making
forward progress.
Hey, wait a minute, Windows has this problem too, what a coincidence.

The error I'm seeing when trying to boot the live DVD fileset from a FAT32 HDD is:

/init: line 7: can't open /dev/sr0: No medium found.

this just repeats for a few minutes, then stops without completing the boot process.

Generally /dev/sr0 is the CDROM drive.

When booting from a HDD or USB drive, there should not be a need to Open /dev/sr0 any more
than there was in earlier Mint versions.
Seems like the initialization routine is only looking for the Casper files on a DVD now,
when earlier versions could better handle other types of Isolinux/Syslinux compatible media.
Somebody goofed.

Isolinux is the way Mint Live CD's & DVD's are booted, this is the regular way to boot most Linux CD's.
Grub is not involved.
The menu & boot parameters are contained within the Isolinux folder.
The Isolinux folder is "pointed to" by the CD's bootrecord, which there is a copy of in /isolinux/isolinux.bin.
To find out what version of Isolinux was used to prepare the CD, there is sometimes a brief text display
upon bootup showing the version number. Or you can open isolinux.bin in Notepad and the version
message will be seen in readable text. For Mint 16 Mate 32-bit it is Isolinux Version 4.05, which is a very good one.

Syslinux is the brother of Isolinux, except tailored to boot to a FAT-formatted volume containing the same Live CD fileset.
Grub is not involved with a syslinux boot either.
There is a Syslinux folder instead of an Isolinux folder on the boot media.
The main technical difference between Isolinux & Syslinux is the different filesystems,
the CD uses CDFS, vs. the HDD & USB which use FAT.

The true test of minimal adequate bootability for a Live Disk fileset is very simple:

1. Boot to DOS and freshly format a blank FAT volume on some other target HDD or USB.

(The target partition needs to be a primary partition, and set "active" (bootable) in FDISK, or it will not boot)
(also needs to be 32GB or smaller or it can not be properly formatted to FAT32)

2. SYS the target volume using the DOS "SYS" command, this transfers a copy of the DOS OS to the volume,
and writes a DOS-seeking bootsector to the volume. DOS is only a few files in the root of the volume, there are no folders at this point.

(alternatively, in DOS the "FORMAT x: /S" command will accomplish both steps 1 & 2 on volume "x:" without having to use the separate SYS command.)

3. When the target device is selected in BIOS, the active, formatted & sys'ed volume will now boot to DOS and give a C:\ prompt.
(this proves the basic bootability of the HDD or USB without having to place a large OS on it just for testing)

4. Copy the folders from the Linux Mint CD or DVD to the FAT volume.

5. In the Isolinux folder, change the name of the isolinux.cfg file to syslinux.cfg.

6. Change the name of the Isolinux folder to Syslinux.

7. SYSLINUX the target volume using the "SYSLINUX" command, using the proper version# of syslinux to match the Isolinux from which it was prepared.
Each revision of syslinux has separate compilations to be executed from either DOS, Windows32, Windows64, or Linux.
This is almost equivalent to the DOS "SYS" command, it writes a syslinux-seeking bootsector to the volume (overwriting the DOS bootsector you had previously),
but does not put a bootable OS on the volume, it only adds a little file named ldlinux.sys to the root.
There is supposed to already be a bootable linux fileset from step 4.

8. When the target device is selected in BIOS, the active, formatted & syslinux'ed volume containing the Live Mint fileset will now boot to the Mint desktop not much differently than the CD,
except faster.

9. Unless it fails, then somebody goofed.

Maybe a Mint expert can figure out where the defect is?

hope this helps

- - - Progress is a continuing effort to make things as good as they used to be - - - Sam Ewing

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Re: Live(media) system boot problems for Mint 15 & 16

Postby rcl153 » Sun Apr 20, 2014 12:52 pm

I just ordered mint mate 16, 32 bit, dvd. I want to do a live boot. am I going to have problems? I have win xp althon 64 amd , 1 gig ram ,200 gig hd.Also after a live boot ,how do you shut down properly from mint mate? Thanks!

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Re: Live(media) system boot problems for Mint 15 & 16

Postby austin.texas » Sun Apr 20, 2014 3:45 pm

rcl153 wrote:I just ordered mint mate 16, 32 bit, dvd. I want to do a live boot. am I going to have problems? I have win xp althon 64 amd , 1 gig ram ,200 gig hd.Also after a live boot ,how do you shut down properly from mint mate? Thanks!

Please note that you are posting a question in a thread originally from Dec. 2013
You should post a new question in a new post.
Mint 18.2 Cinnamon, Quad core AMD A8-3870 with Radeon HD Graphics 6550D, 8GB DDR3, Ralink RT2561/RT61 802.11g PCI
Linux Linx 2017

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Webtest
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FINALLY RESOLVED LiveMedia system boot problems for Mint 15

Postby Webtest » Tue Mar 03, 2015 10:01 pm

Wow ... I've finally solved this one. I saw some references to "elementary" - a fairly new and popular (distrowatch rank = 9) distro. The support instructions explain using "unetbootin" from Ubuntu to load the iso image onto a usb drive. I've used "dd" and "USB Creator" in the past, but never unetbootin, so I decided to try it.

I'm currently running LM15 on a locked SD card, so I did an "apt-get install unetbootin" - which I knew would fail - just to give me the file names that I need to do the install and the installation sequence. I did my Google search for the files and was able to download all 5 of the required files. Then I wrote a script to install the files in the proper order, which worked perfectly. The resultant "elementary" system booted up just fine ... the boot timer ran down properly and the system booted without intervention. After playing with the system for awhile (it'll NEVER replace Mint!!!) I did a shutdown, which ran fine without any intervention. That was remarkable!

In fact, it was SO remarkable that I decided to try it with a Mint 15 image on a spare SD card. It didn't take a lot of playing with unetbootin to discover that it needs a cleanly partitioned fat32 drive to build the system on ... an easy job for gparted. When the system image was installed, I tested it thoroughly, and yes indeed, it DOES boot, shutdown, and restart all with absolutely NO operator intervention required. That is something I haven't experienced in a LONG time!!! So now when I head down to the cold basement office first thing in the morning, all I have to do is turn the PC power on and head back upstairs for COFFEE, knowing that when I get back downstairs I will have a fully functioning Mint desktop! If I have to do a restart, I only have to kick it off ... I don't have to stand around and keep it going. It does everything by itself. One nice thing about a LiveMedia system is that if there are no other drives running I just have to hit the main power OFF and I am done for the day. I've waited for this convenience for a LONG time, and it's finally solved.

Blessings in abundance, all the best, & ENJOY!
Art in Carlisle, PA USA
BOAT - a hole in the water that you pour money into
LINUX - a hole in your life that you pour TIME into

HP dx2400 Core 2 Duo 4 GB - Mint 10 Gnome, Mint 13/15/17.x/18 Mate <on LOCKED Kanguru USB drives>


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