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Making a bootable Live-DVD under Ubuntu

Posted 11-19-2013 at 07:49 PM by flshope

A recent article from ExtremeTech at the following link

got me to worrying what I would do if my main boot disk failed. I keep my data files on a second hard disk, which I back up to an external drive on a weekly basis. I don't back up much of the boot disk.

Certainly something I should have is an alternate method of booting the machine. Although I know there are several options available, I've always assumed the most obvious approach is a bootable DVD. I have not created many bootable DVDs, so it was sort of a new thing for me. I expect many linuxperts consider this a trivial task, but I had to struggle with it.

I downloaded an iso file from the Ubuntu web site to my hard disk. It was a bit over 700 MB. I burned it to DVD using Brasero Disk Burner. The goal here is to make a 'live DVD' that will allow execution of the OS off the DVD without disturbing the existing OS on the hard drive. Of course, it is important not to make a DVD containing the iso file, but the content files of the iso image. Brasero apparently did the right thing here: an ls of the final DVD showed individual files and not an iso file. However, when the machine failed to boot off the DVD, even though the DVD drive was selected as the first boot device, I thought maybe the DVD was not properly made, not bootable. I tried making another DVD using Ubuntu's Disk Utility, but that program just put a copy of the iso image on the disk. Of course, that's no good!

My machine is an Altura M4 from Pogo Linux ( and has a Giga-Byte Technology motherboard. During the POST (power-on self test), you can select temporarily the boot device for the current boot by pushing F12. This puts up a menu with a bunch of possible boot devices, including the hard disks, a CD-ROM, and a few other cryptic names. So, of course, I picked the CD-ROM as the closest thing to a DVD drive. When the boot process proceeded, the DVD drive light didn't so much as blink during the boot and the machine just booted off the hard disk. So I tried the boot again and looked more closely at the other menu options. One of them suddenly rang a bell, based on recently having looked at the hardware list from the command lshw that gave the name ATAPI for my DVD-RW drive. When I selected that, I got a successful boot and test run of the OS on the DVD.
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