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Old 11-06-2008, 12:05 PM   #1
Registered: Jan 2005
Location: san salvador, el salvador
Distribution: Debian Stable, UbuntuStudio Karmic Koala
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Installing a Live Distro in a USB flash drive

Hi, I've already installed a Live Distro in my USB flash drive, I changed my Boot sequence in the BIOS but when I reboot the computer the OS is not loaded, I get a message: "Bad operating system" then the grub is loaded.

I know that the installation is ok because I add a line in the grub to boot from the Flash drive and all works, I don't if the problem is with the BIOS or with my Flash Drive.

The partition in my USB is an ext3 with the boot flag activated

My question is: do I have to edit some file to help to boot the OS in my flash drive?
In that partition I have an initrd.gz and a vmlinuz but for itself doesn't boot

Old 12-03-2008, 10:54 PM   #2
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It sounds like your USB drive does not have a boot loader. You need to install GRUB in the master boot record of the USB drive.
Old 12-04-2008, 12:54 AM   #3
Registered: Nov 2007
Location: Seattle
Distribution: Debian Wheezy & Jessie; Ubuntu
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You could also install syslinux to your USB drive MBR. In some ways it is easier with live cd's: Just rename isolinux.cfg which comes with the live cd to syslinux.cfg. If you install grub you have to convert it in a format which works for grub.

The steps would be: (after copying formatting and coppying the files to the USB drive:

sudo aptitude install syslinux mtools
cd /media/USBDRIVE
mv ./path/to/isolinux.cfg ./path/to/syslinux.cfg

#Unmount the usb drive:
cd ~
sudo umount /dev/sdX1

#Install the syslinux bootloader:
sudo syslinux /dev/sdX1
Look at
for variations on the theme.

Old 12-04-2008, 07:21 AM   #4
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Old 12-04-2008, 11:03 AM   #5
Registered: Jan 2005
Location: san salvador, el salvador
Distribution: Debian Stable, UbuntuStudio Karmic Koala
Posts: 190

Original Poster
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I resolved this issue using the bootloader suggested for my livedistro (puppy linux), in fact i was trying to install the bootloader from my host OS, but It was much easier do it from the puppy linux universal installer. Also I was confused in the issue of to format my usb partition with ext3 but reading a little bit about the puppy universal installer is better to have a fat32 partition, so now it works, thanks for your comments.


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