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Background information: The hardware is an iMac. I had Ubuntu 10.10 and Mac OS X.... Something. That part doesn't matter. The Mac OS is still working....
So... I had everything set up, and I was happy to start my life getting used to Linux and learning all about a new operating system and how to use it and whatnot. I wanted to change my username, though, because when I was setting up my account, I didn't have a mouse and weird things were happening when I tried to change my username at the time. So I looked up on the internet (a very wonderful thing) how to change my username. I found that it required root access. I knew that I shouldn't have tried it because I was, and still am, so inexperienced. Then I went against my better judgement and f'ed up the system. Happy days, right? I couldn't do anything on Ubuntu anymore at that point. I had kind of wanted to do a clean install of Ubuntu at that point anyway, so that's what I decided to do. The mistake came when I decided to try to do it on my own instead of using the wonderful invention that is the internet to figure it out. So I went onto my Mac OS to erase the partitions I was using for Linux. So everything was fine until I tried to boot from my USB to reinstall Ubuntu. It keeps taking me to the command line that says "error: unknown filesystem. [return] grub rescue>" The exact same thing happens when I try to boot from the hard drive. I was really curious why it's not actually booting anything from the USB drive, because I shouldn't need the hard drive to do that, correct? I tested the USB on my Windows netbook, and it worked as it was supposed to work. I was able to try Ubuntu just fine. Then I put Ubuntu 10.04 on my flash drive. It also wouldn't boot on my Mac. Does anybody have any advice for how to get Linux working on my Mac again? I'm really sick of Mac OS and would prefer using Linux. Thanks for any help at all. Yes, I know I'm an idiot. We can pull the sexism card and chalk it up to the fact that I'm female. I get a free pass on this one, right? :P
I don't know for sure (have not an Intel Mac), but I think you are supposed to press and hold the Option-key on your keyboard while starting the computer. The you should get into the Startup Manager, where you should be able to start from USB.
I'm able to choose to start up from the USB, but it doesn't. I actually have tried that approach. I'm using rEFit to choose from where to boot anyway. So I get the choice to boot from the USB, but when I select it, it boots the same way as when I select to boot linux from the HD. Which gives me that error message.
I originally tried burning a CD, but I couldn't get anything to work quite right.... I did request a CD be sent to me, but I'll have to wait until I get back up to school to do get it because I sent it to my school address to be safe. I was really hoping to find another way without the CD because I really don't want to wait until then to use Linux..... I want to use it now! XD
Any other suggestions are welcome.
I mean... The USB boot worked before I installed Ubuntu.... Why shouldn't it work now?
If you can't get the BIOS to boot anything other than the hard disk, you'll probably need to take it out. In the (non-Apple) PC world I keep an external housing so I can do this easily and zap out the boot-loader code.
I suspect Apple don't still allow you to crack the case open. It was the reason I rejected them when I first looked at the (original) Macintosh - never even used an Apple ever since. So feel free to ignore this.
But are you sure your USB does indeed is capable of booting? I mean, does it have Ubuntu live in it? I know its a stupid question and you should have checked it but it does not hurt. If you have got another system at hand, you could use Unetbootin again to create a live Ubuntu on your USB stick or drive. And if your BIOS is not capable of booting USB disks, then another option is the CD. And if you have a iso file with you, why do you need to wait for your free shipped cd? Burn the iso onto a cd as image and use it?
I thought that I said that I tested it on another computer and it worked perfectly. I also used it in the same exact state before when I used it to install Ubuntu initially. I can't quite figure out how to burn a cd correctly. The computer I used to try to burn it couldn't even detect the disks I was putting in there. Is there a certain kind of disk that works best? I tried a CD-R and a DVD+R. Pretty sure. XD I was just scrounging around my house for empty discs. (When what I think will work doesn't work, I start moving onto less likely solutions.)
If your USB does work the way it should on other system, then the fault is at your mac definitely. It somehow is not allowing your USB to boot. BIOS issue? Do not know. Burning an optical drive should not be an issue. Just get a blank cd or dvd depending on your iso file. Use a cd burning software like cdburnerxp or nero or similar and choose the option that says something like Burn image to disk. Choose the image to burn and it should be done.
And if your USB disk does not have any data on it, you can try again to create it using Unetbootin if it is possible.