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Old 02-18-2011, 10:28 PM   #1
Les Porter
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How does one make an old sony BIOS use USB flash drive [stick] for booting.


I'm definitely a newbie. I'm an old one though. I probably have not done any serious programming for 20 years, not counting a little HTML.
""
I stumbled onto an old FREESPIRE disk my bro sent me several years back -- and tried installing it on a Sony Vaio PCG FRV 28 I had crashed a few years back. The Sony bios is still aboard, but old enough to not have USB "booting" as part of the boot menu. I don't even know if one can easily hack into the BIOS on an old sony Vaio but changing the BIOS would solve lot of problems.


Does anyone have any ideas or certain knowledge on rewriting or modifying the Master Boot Code or an idea on making my USB [with Ubuntu or any other Linux implementation
visible] and bootable to the bios on powerup?

Thanks,
Les
 
Old 02-19-2011, 08:19 AM   #2
michaelk
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Welcome to LinuxQuestions.
Do you have a CD/DVD drive and if so does it still function? As long as the ROM drive works booting from USB is not a requirement to install linux. If you only have 512MB RAM may I suggest something like lubuntu or linux mint.

You will need to download and create a bootable CD/DVD. Windows does not have a native application to burn a bootable CD so if you do not have Nero you will need to download a free application like isorecorder.
 
Old 02-19-2011, 08:23 AM   #3
allend
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It is unclear from your post as to whether the optical drive in your machine is working. I assume it is not, otherwise you would not be exploring the USB boot option.

As your machine does not support USB boot then the other options that can be explored are:
1. Removing the hard drive and installing using another machine. http://gathman.org/reviews/sonyvaio.html
2. Setting up a PXE server on another machine so that Linux can be installed from a PXE boot.

Trying to add a USB boot option to the BIOS sounds a very fraught option to me.
 
Old 02-19-2011, 08:27 AM   #4
moxieman99
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Les Porter View Post
I'm definitely a newbie. I'm an old one though. I probably have not done any serious programming for 20 years, not counting a little HTML.
""
I stumbled onto an old FREESPIRE disk my bro sent me several years back -- and tried installing it on a Sony Vaio PCG FRV 28 I had crashed a few years back. The Sony bios is still aboard, but old enough to not have USB "booting" as part of the boot menu. I don't even know if one can easily hack into the BIOS on an old sony Vaio but changing the BIOS would solve lot of problems.


Does anyone have any ideas or certain knowledge on rewriting or modifying the Master Boot Code or an idea on making my USB [with Ubuntu or any other Linux implementation
visible] and bootable to the bios on powerup?

Thanks,
Les
I have an old Sony Vaio 660. I asked Sony about booting from USB a year or so ago and they were very blunt: Sony will never support USB booting.
 
Old 02-19-2011, 08:43 AM   #5
rokytnji
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If a floppy drive is available. You can try and bypass bios using a PLOP boot manager floppy.
 
Old 02-19-2011, 06:30 PM   #6
jefro
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There is actually some work on an open bios (not sun) for some systems. I doubt you'd want to try that.



I'd play with netboot.me or boot-kernel.org first. If the system works it may be easy enough to network install you old OS. Most of that old stuff has way too many problems.

Puppy, dsl, vector, slitaz make good choices. I am fond of slitaz right now but your choice.
 
Old 02-21-2011, 08:46 AM   #7
Les Porter
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Thanks to all!

I have several days worth concentration to try the suggestions offered. I thank all commentary!

I am writing this post on my wife's nearly dysfunctional Gateway -- on which I am about to do taxes.

I will try the suggestions on the Sony -- and even if I have to use the cd-based Freespire on the Sony to respond, I will note when [and if] the suggestions were successful. This all started out with my attempting to resurrect the Sony with Linux since Windows XP on is was a goner. I have not used Unix since way before Linux was built. So it is a remarkably steep learning curve for an old dog, especially.
-----------

michaelk: Do you have a CD/DVD drive and if so does it still function? As long as the ROM drive works booting from USB is not a requirement to install linux. If you only have 512MB RAM may I suggest something like lubuntu or linux mint.

You will need to download and create a bootable CD/DVD. Windows does not have a native application to burn a bootable CD so if you do not have Nero you will need to download a free application like isorecorder.


Les Porter: yes, I do have a CD/DVD drive on the Sony -- that works, kinda. However, The various attempts I have made to use any number of different linux implementations, Freespire [have disk, sent to me from bro], Ubuntu I have purchased [multiple, assorted versions] for which I have supposedly boot-able iso disks, including those I have constructed using the iso programs recommended by the Ubuntu site, like "infra-recorder" -- and these disks seem to work fine on the Gateway [to the degree I have been not afraid to allow them on the damaged Gateway which I gotta keep alive til I finish my taxes]but none of them allow my to install anything but the "CD-based" linux version of freespire or Ubuntu [Yeah, install from and operate from CD, u kno, it locks your cd-tray, so you can't remove the cd until you erase/shutdown the program] Te OS is transient.

I wanted to make the Sony a linux machine. But neither CD or USB approaches I have tried have allowed me to install linux that is complete and will stay resident when I power the machine down.

That was part of the reason I wanted to mess with the BIOS.


moxieman99: Your comment above, re: Sony will never support a USB boot is also my surrender to the borg, "i" [note:diminutive self expressed as lower case] guess i'll not mess with the BIOS.

However. i know me. I still might . . . I have 2 dead frv-28 Sonys but only ones works -- maybe I could pull chips. and . . . yet, I think I shorted out a resistor or some such when I clumsily and accidentally dropped a pair of chip tweezers on a hot {live} Sony motherboard. [imagine the sound of a spun-up HD slowing down to a stop; or the way the background tempo music stopped when "Risky Business's" Tom Cruise kill's the engine on the Porsche. I could not "re-start" my Sony. Could only wish I hadn't shorted something out that spins the disk.]


Now, I will pursue some of the suggestions of respondents

Thanks ALL, I'll be getting back to this posting "soon" after taxes.

Les Porter
 
Old 02-21-2011, 01:31 PM   #8
honeybadger
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Hi there,
I would suggest 'unetbootin'. If you have linux running on the pc unetbootin is available as a binary. You can install amy distro that you have on the cd to the usb.
Next you would need to edit the grub/lilo
menu to tell it that the '/' is in the usb drive (may come up as /dev/sda1 depending on the kernel) and the pc will boot with the usb rather than the hard disk.
Hope this helps.
 
Old 03-01-2011, 09:19 PM   #9
albinard
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@Les Porter: Let me second rokytnji'S suggestion of the PLoP boot manager. It's a tiny download (about 1.5MB) and you have the option of making a boot CD from the .iso file or a floppy from the .img file. The PLoP gives you the option of booting from just about any device the computer can see, and since it precedes the normal bootloader, you still have the option of booting to anything on the target device. I just tried this for the first time today on two rather ancient boxes, and it went like a charm.

Hope it works for you too!
 
  


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