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Old 04-08-2019, 10:50 AM   #1
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USB Flash drive with Debian returns blinking cursor on boot

I have a DELL Inspiron 14R 5437, its main disk is dedicated to a Microsoft Windows 8 install, no partitions. I decided then to install Debian on a removable disk, in this case a 32Gb USB flash drive.

Firstly I flashed another USB drive with the latest debian image, then booted and used it to install on my other flash drive. The installation went well, but after finishing it I couldn't find the disk on the UEFI boot options (so I could add it, the only driver available seemed to be the main HD), while booting on Legacy mode, I got the result described in the thread title: Nothing but a dark screen and a blinking cursor.

I tried, then, to flash the other flash drive with a live image of Debian instead. I managed to boot the live image and browse it fine, but when I used it to install on my 32Gb drive, the same happened (yes, although UEFI didn't seem to recognize it, the debian installation manager found the disk just fine).

I have been installing GRUB on said 32Gb drive after the sysetm install, since I've read Bad Things™ could happen if I tried to install it on my already-used main disk (which has Windows 8).

I've been trying to install it with LXDE, I also tried installing it with and without LVM. Same result.

I also tried changing the USB port after install, but to no effect: It remained undetected and not booting.

I'm not sure this is the right posting format, so, if it's not, forgive me and my bad english.

Thank you in advance
Old 04-13-2019, 06:54 AM   #2
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ok, have you tried using extlinux?
need more info, what filesystem is your 32gb usb? ext4, fat32?
Old 04-13-2019, 07:58 AM   #3
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Boot the Debian Live usb and open a terminal and run either fdisk -l or parted -l. This will show the partitions and tell you whether your windows 8 is an EFI install as well as whether either/both disks are GPT or Legacy/msdos. If it is, create a mount point in Debian and mount the EFI partition to see if you have a Debian directory in it which will tell you whether you have Debian installed EFI. The default on an EFI machine is to create a directory on any existing EFI partition and install the EFI files for Debian/Linux there.

If you want Debian to be totally separate from windows, you need to create an EFI partition on the USB drive for Debian and install EFI files there. This works best if you dis-connect the windows drive as some Linux systems will install to the EFI partition on the primary drive even when you select to install to the USB (Ubuntu). I don't use Debian so I don't know if that happens with Debian.

You could also install Debian in Legacy mode on the USB but if you do this, you will likely have to make the selection in the BIOS each time you want to switch from Debian to windows and/or windows to Debian.
Old 04-13-2019, 01:23 PM   #4
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Is your machine set to boot from USB(?).

Check your pendrive grub.cfg/grub.conf to see that it is looking for Debian on the right disk.

(If booting from pendrive, it should still be /dev/sda1, because that is what you are booting from, & you won't see your Windows disk until it gets mounted.)


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