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Old 12-15-2017, 01:04 PM   #1
helturus
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Boot problem on flashdrive (initramfs)


Hi,

I'm trying to boot on a USB drive, which I usually do. I just got a SanDisk Ultra USB 3.0 (64 GB) USB flashdrive. I did some installation tests with "Antix", "Deepin" and "Q4OS" and every time I get the same result. When I boot on the flashdrive, I end up with a "initramfs" prompt and then nothing. Still, I have always managed to boot on other flashdrives and I am following exactly the same installation procedure.

Thanks for help.
 
Old 12-15-2017, 07:36 PM   #2
_roman_
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A few years ago I returned an usb stick from amazon because it came wiht some bullshit feature. No idea what they called it but it was some windows ready software thing wherever you go.

Another usb stick I have with 128MB emulates a 1.44" floppy and an ordinary drive. Still the same in 2017.

Those usb sticks come with weird features, they are nost just plain drives like a harddisc.

There was a software where you can setup your usb drive.

I suspect there is a small chance that your drive is not capable of it. Wrong file system or other stuff.

It would help us when you provide a screen or what it says with teh initramfs prompt.
 
Old 12-17-2017, 08:35 AM   #3
helturus
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Thanks for answering. I am afraid that the problem is the drive. Funny, because I also bought two 32 GB Sandisk Ultra USB 3.0 and they work fine. I will keep looking for solutions. If only I could print a screen when at iniramfs prompt...
 
Old 12-18-2017, 06:09 AM   #4
!!!
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Welcome to LQ!!! Probably not, but I wonder IF there's any
?low level formatting? that can be done to the drive[?]
Or is there any device firmware update for that pendrive?

How exactly (what pgm) did you write=create='burn' the USB?
(Maybe try LiLi & rufus) Are you using a/the USB *3* (not 2) port on PC?

Can you use a (cellphone) camera to take a picture of screen?
(click 'Go Advanced' button here, to get paperclip icon, to attach pic!)

**Here's something TL;dr: PlopKexec?
http://forums.sandisk.com/t5/All-San...GB/td-p/338326
 
Old 12-19-2017, 10:09 AM   #5
sidzen
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My experience with hardware on linux goes back only to 2009. However, it has taught me to stay away from certain brands of hardware -- SanDisk for anything and Hitachi for hard disk drives. IME they do not play well with GNU/Linux. The reason appears to be some sort of proprietary firmware/software issue but I do not care -- I have had both fail and cost me money and time. I won't use them again. (My two cents' worth).

Best wishes
 
Old 12-22-2017, 05:37 PM   #6
helturus
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sidzen View Post
My experience with hardware on linux goes back only to 2009. However, it has taught me to stay away from certain brands of hardware -- SanDisk for anything and Hitachi for hard disk drives. IME they do not play well with GNU/Linux. The reason appears to be some sort of proprietary firmware/software issue but I do not care -- I have had both fail and cost me money and time. I won't use them again. (My two cents' worth).

Best wishes
Thanks for your reply. Do you have suggestions of brands that work best for installing a complete Linux distro?
 
Old 12-25-2017, 03:12 AM   #7
sidzen
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Whatever works! Besides, I cannot recommend specific brands nowadays without getting blown outta the water as a spammer.

Study write and read rates, etcetera, and make a decision. Kinda like choosing a distro. Personally, I think 4 - 8 GB sticks are plenty per distro and prices for USB3 have come down, so small and fast is the only recommendation made.

Last edited by sidzen; 12-25-2017 at 03:13 AM.
 
Old 12-25-2017, 08:55 AM   #8
fatmac
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I'll agree with going with the smaller sized drive they are less likely to be fake, as the fakers are out to make some quick money, & most people try to get the biggest drive for the least money.

(I'm still using some old Novatech branded drives, 4 & 8GB - & they even work on my RPi3B.)

Last edited by fatmac; 12-25-2017 at 08:56 AM.
 
Old 12-27-2017, 03:46 PM   #9
WilliamFSimmons
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Preparing USB Stick for new OS

I can't speak to the technical quality of the various USB drives available, but I doubt that large manufacturers such as Sandisk, Lexar, and the like have "inferior" products which would cause Linux installations to falter.

Low-level formatting the device was mentioned a few posts earlier. I can share what I have done for some time, when I buy a USB stick for ANY purpose, including installing a bootable Linux system on it.

I invoke the following command on it:

# dd if=/dev/zero of=/dev/sdX bs=512 , where X is the indicator of the actual device


This command will appear to "hang" for as long as it takes to zero out the drive. I normally will go to another console, log in, and execute this command:

# ps aux | grep dd

This will reveal the PID of the process running the dd command. After I have the process ID, I invoke the following command on the second console:

while true
do
kill -SIGUSR1 pid , where pid is the process ID revealed in the previous command
sleep 30
done

When you go back to the original console, you will have a progress report on the zeroing-out in progress, which can last hours. I remember one occasion that took about 18 hours (a 2-TB hdd). There is another method for doing this described in dd.man.

When this finishes, your USB stick -- regardless of manufacture -- will be completely zeroed out.

At that point, you can run the fdisk of your choice (whether legacy or UEFI) on the device, partition it as you wish, and create your chosen filesystems on it.

If you do this, you can start at a point of your own choosing.

Cheers,

wfs
 
Old 12-28-2017, 08:40 AM   #10
fatmac
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Normally, you only need to zero out the boot sectors.

Code:
dd if=/dev/zero of=/dev/sdb bs=512 count=4
(The above should be sufficient.)

Then put a new MBR on it, add a partition, then put a file system onto it.
 
Old 12-28-2017, 04:51 PM   #11
helturus
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Thanks for all replies. At least Sandisk 3.0 32 GB works fine for installing a complete distro. I will try suggested commands and will come back with my results on the 64GB flashdrive. Happy New Year every one.
 
Old 12-29-2017, 03:29 PM   #12
WilliamFSimmons
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use of dd command

Yes, fatmac, you are right. Just to be clear, I also use the command to zero out the MBR only; but given some of the remarks about suspected behavior of the USB device itself (which accusations I frankly doubt), I suggested wiping the entire device.

Just to add to your remarks, fatmac, use

dd if=/dev/zero of=/dev/sdX bs=512 count=1

to zero out a legacy MBR; and

dd if=/dev/zero of=/dev/sdX bs=512 count=4

for UEFI partitioned devices.


Thanks.

wfs
 
Old 01-02-2018, 02:52 PM   #13
helturus
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Error messages

Here are error messages I am getting when trying to boot on my flashdrive:

"…device descriptor read/64, error -110";
"…device descriptor read/64, error -71";
"…device not accepting address 5, error -71";
"…device not accepting address 6, error -71";
"…unable to enumerate USB device".
"initramfs"

I haven't tried the suggested commands by fatmac and WilliamFSimmons yet. I was wondering if my error messages were giving more hints.
 
Old 01-02-2018, 04:07 PM   #14
WilliamFSimmons
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looks like hardware errors

helturus,

Yeah, that looks like low-level (driver) hardware errors. It is at least down as far as the kernel read() system call. Are the usb contacts clean? (in the computer and on the flash drive). You may have one of the devices they didn't QC. Any driver-level programmers have any ideas? I take it that there were errors as the read address was multiplexed into the device. The address at which it was supposed to read was apparently illegal (negative).

Try cleaning the contacts. No guarantees, though. Is there valuable data on the drive? It might still be possible to dd the whole device to a file. dd can come in below the filesystem.

dd if=/dev/sdX of=funky-device.img bs=512

This will put an image of the entire device into a file called funky-device.img, which you can turn around and mount as a loopback. (see mount). This _could_ work. no guarantees.

does fdisk report anything? or is it so fried that it never cooperates?

it is also possible that you need to run fsck on the filesystem.

all is not yet lost, but it doesn't look good.


Bummer.

wfs
 
Old 01-02-2018, 04:15 PM   #15
WilliamFSimmons
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oops, didn't think of this

helturus,

i just looked at the reported error messages again. did you build the initramfs? it is conceivable that the kernel, or initramfs does not have scsi_transport, or does not load it. either the kernel or the initramfs would also need the filesystem that is currently on the flash drive to read it. are you giving the kernel (on the commandline) the correct device of the usb drive? are you trying to boot from this device?

still seems like hardware stuff, though.

wfs
 
  


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