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Old 08-27-2011, 01:33 PM   #1
Antonjo
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Syslinux and USB pen


Hello,
I have an old pc which can boot only old USB (small) pens. So unable to boot a modern large live distro.

I found a viable solution to boot a large live distro using the PLP bootloader. I boot into PLP with the small USB pen. Since the bootloader stays in ram, I replace the small pen with the large pen containing the large distro. Then I ask PLP to boot with USB (which now contains the large size pen) and the live distro works.
I would like to do something similar with Syslinux, possibly keeping both the small and large USB pens plugged.
Now I need a way to tell in the syslinux.cfg that the kernel to start is not on same device where syslinux is and the system started. So not sda but sdb.
I try to do this with:
APPEND root=/dev/sdb
or
APPEND boot=/dev/sdb
Besides I would like to find documentation about root, boot and similar switches, any ideas.

Thanks in advance.
Antonio
 
Old 08-27-2011, 04:10 PM   #2
jefro
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Your statement makes no sense to me. A usb flash is a usb flash drive. They don't differ with age.

What I think you may mean is that your system needs isolinux as it can't boot from syslinux.

I might look at keeping older distro's if the computer is that old. Might try grub4dos or grub4nt or grub42dos to boot as it supports older stuff. See pendrivelinux.com for some ideas.

Last edited by jefro; 08-28-2011 at 04:18 PM.
 
Old 08-28-2011, 05:23 AM   #3
floppy_stuttgart
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Can you please describe your PC spec and USB storage spec ( number of MB? format FAT16 or 32? or this is an USB adapter with a card on it?).
I personally have a PC which DONT boot from USB via BIOS setups; so it is probably older than your (97 purchasing date, and BIOS dated 2001).
I experienced that SD-HC cards, or any USB adapters cannot boot on any PC.
If you have a 256MB USB stick or SD card, this is already enough to boot a modern distro: look at www.distrowatch.com for having a distro for old computers (or see my blog).
 
Old 08-28-2011, 07:20 AM   #4
Antonjo
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Packard Bell EasyNote E3 269
AMD Athlon XP m 2600+, 512 KB Cache, 512 MB RAM DDR, HARD DISK 40 GB, S3 Savage Pro 32 MB


Sorry but I have no hardware problems. I found the booting stick and the distro. I have a different question:


How can I specify the kernel path including a drive in syslinux config file?


Probably I have to address to a different area of the forum.

Antonio
 
Old 08-28-2011, 04:20 PM   #5
jefro
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OK, that cleared up a lot.


I doubt you want sdb. It should boot to sda. Change boot order of hard drives in bios so that flash is the first boot ordered drive.
 
Old 08-29-2011, 09:27 AM   #6
Antonjo
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Changing boot order does not work. As I told, one of the two sticks is unable to boot the system. The strategy is booting with stick A, which is compatible with my BIOS, and then pass control to stick B. To do this both stick are plugged and stick A is plugged in the port that gets enumerated first. Of course, to pass control from A to B I need to manage config syntax of syslinux.


Again my question is always the same:

Do you know how can I specify the linux kernel path including a drive in syslinux config file?


Please do not propose hardware or BIOS tricks, do not suggest light or faster distro, I do not need these. Please, just enlighten me about syslinux config syntax.

This is what I am asking from the very first post and sorry if the content was misleading for you.

Antonio
 
Old 08-29-2011, 08:13 PM   #7
jefro
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Well, this now gets more complex than fixing the original deal.

I think you now want to put in a chain statement to pass the loader off to the sdb and not try to load directly to it.

The reason I think this is that I don't know what the state is when plop and grub meet and your original statement about not being able to boot to this other flash drive. If the other drive were in fact a known working flash install then I think you now need to chain to it.

Typical example of a chain statement.

chainloader (hd0,3)+1

You have to know what is what on boot. Your grub may have find command.

I might suggest that you repost this and ask about chainloading from a grub to another disk.
 
Old 08-30-2011, 07:03 AM   #8
Antonjo
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Fine, I think we are getting the point.

Anyway as for chain loading in syslinux, probably I need in cfg file, something similar to:

COM32 chain.c32
APPEND sdb

where sdb is stick B.

But I do not know if "sd" drive types are supported in syslinux.

I will tell you.

Antonio
 
Old 08-30-2011, 04:30 PM   #9
floppy_stuttgart
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I have following on my CF card (8GB) on my IDE adapter (in syslinux.cfg)

...

LABEL GoToHDD00
Menu label GoToHDD00 (10GB OldBoy1)
kernel chain.c32
append hd0 0
#
LABEL GoToHDD10
Menu label GoToHDD01 (CF8GB OldBoy1)
kernel chain.c32
append hd1 0
#
LABEL GoToHDD20
Menu label GoToHDD20 (6GB OldBoy1)
kernel chain.c32
append hd2 0

...
so, I can jump from HDD to another HDD.
Adapt to your needs.
Good luck.
 
Old 09-02-2011, 04:40 PM   #10
Antonjo
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No solution to my problem since Syslinux has no USB drivers.

I use Syslinux+Plop.

I stick two stick A and B.

The bios starts A which is bootable and with Syslinux in its boot sector. Syslinux in turn starts Plop. Plop has drivers and option to start stick B, which by itself is unbootable by my bios.

Since I have 2 sticks plugged, to avoid starting again stick A, I need use ignoreusbdev in Plop to skip the first device A and therefore starting stick B as I desire.

That's it.
 
  


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