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Old 07-19-2016, 03:37 PM   #1
percy4209
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BIOS will only boot FAT16 File System, but I want to use my 8GB flash drive to Multiboot


Hey guys! As the title says, I need to format my 8gb drive to fat16 in order to make it bootable with my bios, but I do not want to lose the space as I wish to mulitboot! I am curious if it is possible to install a boot loader to a smaller partition formatted to fat16 and load my multiple Linux ISO's to a larger partition formatted in fat32 and have the boot loader pointed at those in order to boot them? Or if anyone knows any other work around, that would be fantastic! Also, one of the images I would like to use is larger than 4gb on its own, so I would really like to be able to boot it.
 
Old 07-19-2016, 03:45 PM   #2
Emerson
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Something is off here. BIOS does not deal with filesystems, it executes the code on MBR, which is outside of partitions.
 
Old 07-19-2016, 03:45 PM   #3
Timothy Miller
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How ancient is your machine that it only boots fat16??? That would be EARLY 1990's BIOS (Windows 95 was FAT32 default), and would probably be unusable with MOST modern distro's, even those geared towards older hardware.
 
Old 07-19-2016, 04:12 PM   #4
michaelk
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Are you using a multiboot tool? If so which one?

I'm confused too... If the computer is capable of booting a USB flash drive then the BIOS should not have a 8GB limitation nor is the filesystem type as already stated. Some additional information about your computer hardware would be helpful.

I have not really played with multiboot tools but yumi and xboot can handle large DVD images. I believe that YUMI uses syslinux for booting that requires a FAT32 filesystem but then chain loads to grub so size isn't an issue.
 
Old 07-19-2016, 04:14 PM   #5
Emerson
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It must be UEFI boot then.
 
Old 07-19-2016, 04:18 PM   #6
percy4209
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I have read multiple comments stating that formatting my drive to fat16 will fix it. If this isn't the case, can anyone tell me why my newly bought 8gb flash drive will not boot? I was previously using a 4gb which booted fine, but did not have enough space. I upgraded to this 8gb, and the first time I loaded Linux ISOs on to it, it did TRY to boot, but gave an error, "failed to load ldlinux.c32" so I formatted and tried again, but this time it just hangs after bios. When I look in bios to set HDD boot priority, the USB is not there with the 8gb (it is there with the 4gb). Any thoughts on how to fix this?
 
Old 07-19-2016, 05:18 PM   #7
percy4209
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Okay, so I have made some progress.... but first some info about my system:

My PC was built in 2008 and my MOBO is a Gigabyte GA-M57SLI-S4 (but as you have stated, this is NOT an issue with my MOBO)
I am currently Dual Booting Slack 14.2 and Windows 7 (thank god for linux)

When I format the drive in Slackware (I should have tried this before posting here) and use the DD function to install a Linux ISO directly to the drive, it becomes instantly bootable and shows up in my BIOS, but the ISO I used did not boot and gave me an error that some file was missing. I am going to attempt now to use multibootusb in Slackware and see how that goes.

Does anyone know why it works when I use Linux to format and install ISOs as compared to Winblows? That just doesn't make sense to me unless Winderz isn't writing the MBR correctly. I am still puzzled. There aren't too many good Multiboot tools for Linux, which is why I was attempting to use Windoughs.

Last edited by percy4209; 07-19-2016 at 05:24 PM.
 
Old 07-19-2016, 05:22 PM   #8
Timothy Miller
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Is your pc set as UEFI boot like Emerson posted? If so, is the image you're trying to use UEFI compatible?
 
Old 07-19-2016, 05:40 PM   #9
percy4209
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Timothy Miller View Post
Is your pc set as UEFI boot like Emerson posted? If so, is the image you're trying to use UEFI compatible?
My PC is not UEFI compatible. I do not have that option in my BIOS, but I can boot from USB HDD as long as the USB and Image are bootable. This is why I use YUMI or Unetbootin.
 
Old 07-19-2016, 05:41 PM   #10
jpollard
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Quote:
Originally Posted by percy4209 View Post
Okay, so I have made some progress.... but first some info about my system:

My PC was built in 2008 and my MOBO is a Gigabyte GA-M57SLI-S4 (but as you have stated, this is NOT an issue with my MOBO)
I am currently Dual Booting Slack 14.2 and Windows 7 (thank god for linux)

When I format the drive in Slackware (I should have tried this before posting here) and use the DD function to install a Linux ISO directly to the drive, it becomes instantly bootable and shows up in my BIOS, but the ISO I used did not boot and gave me an error that some file was missing. I am going to attempt now to use multibootusb in Slackware and see how that goes.

Does anyone know why it works when I use Linux to format and install ISOs as compared to Winblows? That just doesn't make sense to me unless Winderz isn't writing the MBR correctly. I am still puzzled. There aren't too many good Multiboot tools for Linux, which is why I was attempting to use Windoughs.
Windows doesn't like any other operating system. You have to use a custom utility to write the boot block(s).

It may be that whatever you are using to write the boot blocks cannot use Linux native file systems to identify block numbers for the MBR boot. What you USED to have to do is install the boot blocks on a raw floppy plus the kernel. Then the first boot you direct the kernel to the target using the "root=" kernel option. Once the target system is booted you use that to write the boot blocks on the targeted disk.

I haven't had to use a fat16 anything (until the ARM boot on the Raspberry PI) in over 20 years. You BIOS doesn't care what is IN the boot blocks, but the boot blocks themselves have to load the kernel. Grub and Grub2 understands most Linux filesystems (ext4) that putting it in the boot blocks is sufficient, and can load the linux kernel from the filesystem rather than using a block map (which LILO uses).
 
Old 07-19-2016, 05:47 PM   #11
percy4209
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Originally Posted by jpollard View Post
Windows doesn't like any other operating system. You have to use a custom utility to write the boot block(s).

It may be that whatever you are using to write the boot blocks cannot use Linux native file systems to identify block numbers for the MBR boot. What you USED to have to do is install the boot blocks on a raw floppy plus the kernel. Then the first boot you direct the kernel to the target using the "root=" kernel option. Once the target system is booted you use that to write the boot blocks on the targeted disk.

I haven't had to use a fat16 anything (until the ARM boot on the Raspberry PI) in over 20 years. You BIOS doesn't care what is IN the boot blocks, but the boot blocks themselves have to load the kernel. Grub and Grub2 understands most Linux filesystems (ext4) that putting it in the boot blocks is sufficient, and can load the linux kernel from the filesystem rather than using a block map (which LILO uses).
I understand all that, but do you not find it odd that I was using YUMI to multiboot on my 4gb flash drive, yet it will not work on my 8GB flash drive? I wonder if I can simply format the drive in Linux and then use YUMI in windows? I read somewhere that Windows will not write the MBR when formatting because it lists the drive as removable media and doesn't see the need to create a MBR.
 
Old 07-19-2016, 05:55 PM   #12
percy4209
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Well after attempting to use multibootusb in slack I am back to square one as it acted the same as if I created it with YUMI in Windows. It seems the only way so far I have been able to have my BIOS recognize the drive as bootable is to use DD in the terminal. Any suggestions?
 
Old 07-19-2016, 06:29 PM   #13
jpollard
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Quote:
Originally Posted by percy4209 View Post
I understand all that, but do you not find it odd that I was using YUMI to multiboot on my 4gb flash drive, yet it will not work on my 8GB flash drive? I wonder if I can simply format the drive in Linux and then use YUMI in windows? I read somewhere that Windows will not write the MBR when formatting because it lists the drive as removable media and doesn't see the need to create a MBR.
Nope. YUMI is specifically for USB devices, and which one might be a bit limited in size.

Windows will not WRITE the MBR (well, I think it actually does, but it writes 0's) on a USB. It must still allocate the space.

It also looks like you BIOS doesn't support USB booting either. The only options I see are for various hard disks, CDROM and floppy.

Reference:
http://www.manualslib.com/manual/358...page=38#manual

Last edited by jpollard; 07-19-2016 at 06:37 PM.
 
Old 07-19-2016, 06:33 PM   #14
hydrurga
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Quote:
Originally Posted by percy4209 View Post
Well after attempting to use multibootusb in slack I am back to square one as it acted the same as if I created it with YUMI in Windows. It seems the only way so far I have been able to have my BIOS recognize the drive as bootable is to use DD in the terminal. Any suggestions?
So what you're saying is that you were able to boot off your 8GB drive after having dd'd an ISO over to it, but you were unable to boot off the same drive using a YUMI- and multibootusb-generated setup?

That would lead to the conclusion that your drive is recognised fine by the BIOS, so you're not back to square 1, and the problem is in your use of both the multiboot packages.

Would that be correct?
 
Old 07-19-2016, 06:36 PM   #15
michaelk
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Using dd with a hybrid ISO images basically overwrites the existing MBR and partitions so as long as it was built correctly does not care about what currently exists on the drive. In most cases the image size is less then the size of the flash drive and so you need to create a new MBR so the OS will see the entire disk again.

unetbootin does not format or overwrite existing data on the drive. It needs to be formatted as FAT32. The contents of the ISO are extracted and written to the flash drive and a bootloader (syslinux) is installed. Not all distributions work out of the box with unetbootin.

yumi can work with a FAT16/FAT32/NTFS partition but needs a specific volume label. The link below indicates that NTFS is buggy. In another thread the OP discovered their 8GB drive was formatted as NTFS by the manufacture. You might need to rebuild the MBR and boot loader.

http://www.syslinux.org/wiki/index.php?title=Isohybrid
http://www.pendrivelinux.com/yumi-mu...t-usb-creator/
 
  


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