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Old 12-22-2016, 10:10 AM   #1
business_kid
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Issues Installing tails on usb keys


The problem is, the tails iso is not recognised as a bootable device whereas other isos are on the same usb key.
PC: Samsung Laptop with usb-3.0. Upturning it for the model number is a bit risky for me in my present state. Running Slackware-14.1.
USB Keys on hand:
Bus 002 Device 004: ID 0781:5567 SanDisk Corp. Cruzer Blade =8G
Bus 002 Device 007: ID 14cd:1212 Super Top microSD card reader (SY-T18)=32G
Bus 002 Device 008: ID 0951:1665 Kingston Technology Digital DataTraveler SE9 64GB =8G (I don't know why it calls itself 64GB)
ISOs: tails-i386-2.9.1.iso
slackware64-live-plasma5-current.iso under the influence of the iso2usb.sh script.
Instructions:
1/7 Used the Firefox plugin to d/l & verify automagically.
2/7 Used command line option
Code:
dd if=tails-i386-2.9.1.iso of=/dev/sdb bs=16M && sync
3/7 Used my Smartphone
4/7 Refused to reboot on an intermediary tails on any device because they are not seen as bootable devices. The same usb keys will all boot slackware when written by the iso2usb.sh script. That uses GPT, but I have UEFI disabled in the BIOS and use fdisk on my main hard drive. The partition on the tails device is odd, to put it mildly
Code:
sudo fdisk -l /dev/sdb
   Device Boot      Start         End      Blocks   Id  System
/dev/sdb1   *           0     2281229     1140615   17  Hidden HPFS/NTFS
bash-4.3$ sudo parted /dev/sdb
GNU Parted 3.1
Using /dev/sdb
Welcome to GNU Parted! Type 'help' to view a list of commands.
(parted) print                                                            
Error: Invalid partition table - recursive partition on /dev/sdb.
Ignore/Cancel?
I tried all 3 usb keys & got the same results. I also overwrote the first 1M As Described Here
It seems the tails iso is doing this. What is a recursive partition anyhow? What's the Fix?
 
Old 12-23-2016, 05:03 AM   #2
fatmac
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Have you read this?

https://tails.boum.org/install/linux.../index.en.html

Last edited by fatmac; 12-23-2016 at 05:04 AM.
 
Old 12-23-2016, 08:14 AM   #3
business_kid
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Thanks for the reply.
Yes, I clicked on the "Let's Go!" link, and ended up on the Instructions: link in my post. Had you any point in particular in mind that I may have overlooked?
 
Old 12-23-2016, 09:02 AM   #4
snowday
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Do the Tails Instructions say to do this:

Code:
dd if=tails-i386-2.9.1.iso of=/dev/sdb bs=16M && sync
or did you get that command from somewhere else?
 
Old 12-23-2016, 10:03 AM   #5
fatmac
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From memory, TAILS needs to be installed, whether to a second pendrive or hard disk, it can't be run from the downloaded ISO file.
 
Old 12-23-2016, 12:33 PM   #6
business_kid
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Code:
Do the Tails Instructions say to do this:
dd if=tails-i386-2.9.1.iso of=/dev/sdb bs=16M && sync
Yes the tails instructions give that exact syntax.
Code:
From memory, TAILS needs to be installed, whether to a 
second pendrive or hard disk, it can't be run from 
the downloaded ISO file.
The Instructions say you need 2 pendrives, and you have to set up one as an intermediary install and boot on it to install a real tails on a second pendrive.
The stage I got to (4/7) https://tails.boum.org/install/linux/usb/ is rebooting after installing the intermediary pendrive, which doesn't show as a bootable device.

Last edited by business_kid; 12-23-2016 at 01:36 PM.
 
Old 12-23-2016, 01:23 PM   #7
snowday
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That's weird, when I view the Tails Instructions, it suggests to use GNOME Disks to create the intermediary. You might try that method if 'dd' doesn't work for you. I believe you that the Tails site displays different instructions for different users (perhaps based on what it detects as your OS?) and I apologize if I sounded snarky earlier.
 
Old 12-23-2016, 02:24 PM   #8
business_kid
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Yes, it does say use gnome disks; But that requires gnome-disks and libpwquality, neither of which are part of slackware. I was trying to save myself pain by using the command line option they also give. I may have to go that road, but I have emailed the folks at tails and will await a reply.

Believe me you did not sound narky in your earlier post. You were right to expect a certain level of care and attention on my part, and I see no insult in direct queries. You were direct, and that's fine. So am I. I am also grateful for all ideas on this.

Let me focus attention on the exact error: Rebooting the intermediary install fails because the system doesn't see it as a bootable device. The mbr/partition table created by the tails iso is suspicious
Code:
sudo fdisk -l /dev/sdb
   Device Boot      Start         End      Blocks   Id  System
/dev/sdb1   *           0     2281229     1140615   17  Hidden HPFS/NTFS
bash-4.3$ sudo parted /dev/sdb
GNU Parted 3.1
Using /dev/sdb
Welcome to GNU Parted! Type 'help' to view a list of commands.
(parted) print                                                            
Error: Invalid partition table - recursive partition on /dev/sdb.
Ignore/Cancel?
I don't like:
1. The partition starts at sector 0, whereas most start at 2048. Where are the mbr & partition table?
2. Type 17 (Hidden HPFS/NTFS) is a weird choice for a linux system.
3 "Error: Invalid partition table - recursive partition on /dev/sdb" is dubious to put it mildly. what can the single partition recurse into? Why is a presumably tested tails iso coming up wrong?
 
Old 12-23-2016, 05:59 PM   #9
dlb101010
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Hey business_kid,

I've wiped out the partition table of a pen drive myself, and it was a simple fix using gparted to replace it...a couple clicks and a brief minute or two. All fixed.

On my Linux Mint (Mate) there's a tiny program called something like "USB image writer." (I don't have access to Mint at the moment.) The program has worked well for me, making at least a couple dozen live usb boots, including Tails. No problems.

I've seen the instructions of using two pen drives (or a DVD and a pen drive) to make a Tails install, but I've always just burnt Tail's iso directly to the usb, and it's always successful. The dual media must be for a special case...
[Edit: Debian, Ubuntu and Mint require only one usb stick to make a Tails iso. Windows, Mac and other Linux distros require two 2 media for the install.]

HTH,
Dave

Last edited by dlb101010; 12-24-2016 at 06:00 AM. Reason: Additional Tails install information
 
Old 12-24-2016, 03:46 AM   #10
business_kid
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I've put tails on dvd before. I will probably go to some utility though most are a pain to install in slackware.
/thinks: I juist _may_ have Fedora in a vm somewhere; if it boots I had better try before letting it update.

I'm a command line freak and it kills me that you can't do it from there.
 
Old 12-24-2016, 05:13 AM   #11
fatmac
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If something has crapped on your pendrive you can usually restore it by dd'ing the first 1024 sectors with /dev/zero, put a new MBR on it, then put a partition on it, & filesystem if you want.

Code:
dd if=/dev/zero of=/dev/sdb bs=1024 count=1
(The fdisk 'o' option puts a dos MBR onto it, then put the partition onto it.)
 
Old 12-24-2016, 05:39 AM   #12
business_kid
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fatmac View Post
If something has crapped on your pendrive you can usually restore it by dd'ing the first 1024 sectors with /dev/zero, put a new MBR on it, then put a partition on it, & filesystem if you want.

Code:
dd if=/dev/zero of=/dev/sdb bs=1024 count=1
(The fdisk 'o' option puts a dos MBR onto it, then put the partition onto it.)
Thanks. I already did that (bs=2048 & 1M) and it makes no difference, because when I dd the tails iso, it overwrites mbr & partition table again - with crap in this instance :-(.

I actually found gnome disks installed in a Fedora-22 VM. Before everyone yells at me, I will say in my defense that I had a stroke in 2015 and that sort of thing never improves the memory. I can't use gnome disks anyhow because that VM has an argument with the usb ports. Some detail always complicates any task on this box, ensuring slow throughput. The other VM is windows Vista, which both went in for fpga software before the stroke. I'll try the (shudder)windows route.

EDIT: M$ windoze inevitably fails. The usb installer complains about syslinux error (1) and informs me the thing won't boot. It wipes,remakes the boot record, partition table & reformats. The VM only allows writes to mounted things, which is always going to go down in flames. It happens too fast to pause the vm & remount.

Last edited by business_kid; 12-24-2016 at 09:07 AM.
 
Old 12-26-2016, 04:14 AM   #13
business_kid
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Sorted this.

The solution for me was to do the temporary install to DVD. Then use the tails installer to write the usb key. That worked. When you compare the resulting partitions, they are different.
USB Key Using Command line dd command:
Code:
sudo fdisk -l /dev/sdb
   Device Boot      Start         End      Blocks   Id  System
/dev/sdb1   *           0     2281229     1140615   17  Hidden HPFS/NTFS
bash-4.3$ sudo parted /dev/sdb
GNU Parted 3.1   Using /dev/sdb
Welcome to GNU Parted! Type 'help' to view a list of commands.
(parted) print                                                            
Error: Invalid partition table - recursive partition on /dev/sdb.
Ignore/Cancel?
And the final install using the tails installer:
Code:
sudo fdisk -l /dev/sdb

WARNING: GPT (GUID Partition Table) detected on '/dev/sdb'! The util fdisk doesn't support GPT. Use GNU Parted.
sudo parted /dev/sdb
GNU Parted 3.1  Using /dev/sdb
(parted) print   
Number  Start   End     Size    File system  Name   Flags
 1      1049kB  2622MB  2621MB  fat32        Tails  boot, hidden, legacy_boot
All done using the same iso. I am informing the Tails people that their command line option which probably was not tested recently is highly suspect, as it doesn't work here.

Thanks, guys for all the helpful suggestions and sanity checks. It has made me realise what a mess my configuration really is and when I upgrade to Slackware-14.2, I'll do a serious cleanup of minor issues.
 
  


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