Welcome to LQ!
now, your BIOS should support booting from usb..
when the lappy starts you gotta get into the BIOS screen and choose whatever to make it boot from usb...
now, err,, 9.04 uses grub leagacy and 9.10 uses grub2
this may be your issue?
Some users with Intel video chipsets will experience a black screen
on reboot after install because the fbcon module is not being loaded.
As a workaround, users can boot with the i915.modeset=0 option.
Investigation of this issue is ongoing.
and try this
You may encounter a blank screen after boot in ubuntu.
This will be due to some update of certain packages.
Follow these steps to correct the problem.
1. Select recovery mode from the boot menu.
2. Select login as root from the menu in recovery mode.
3. Type this at the prompt
# sudo apt-get remove xorg-driver-fglrx
# sudo dpkg-reconfigure -phigh xserver-xorg
5. Now select Resume normal boot from the menu.
Every thing should be OK by now.
Please comment about your experience.
if none of that helps; you'll have to boot off your 9.04 usb and install grub2
and then try to fix it