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Old 10-04-2012, 10:35 PM   #1
Registered: Feb 2012
Location: Southern California
Distribution: Archlinux, Debian, Fedora
Posts: 41
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Booting live Slacko Puppy 5.3.3 and BackTrack5 isos stored on a hd using grub2

Last year I put together a multiboot usb flash drive with many different OSes with help from, and other websites. Recently a friend of mine bought a 1 terabyte portable harddrive; he asked me to help him turn his hd into a "swiss knife", containing utilities and OSes to trouble-shoot/repair computer problems. With a lot of research and trial and error -- and information I gleaned at I was able to get most OSes and utilites to boot (AVG Rescue CD, System Rescue CD 2.8.1, Partition Magic, Seagate Seatools, Super Grub2 disk, Ultimate Boot CD, etc). However, when it came to BackTrack 5 r3 and Slacko Puppy 5.3.3 I just could not figure out how to write a grub2 menuentry that would work. I had read about memdisk (from syslinux) and Debian and Debian deritives' grub-imageboot (available from Wheezy repositories and maybe from Squeeze back-ports and from Ubuntu 11.04+) and was able to boot Seatools, Ultimate Boot CD and other utilities (usually dos utilities). I tried to boot Puppy isos with Debian's grub-imageboot, but it would not fully boot Puppy. I then played around with memdisk, and that did the trick.

As far as BackTrack5 r3 is concerned, I came across a website that described exactly how to boot a BackTrack iso (it turns out that a remastered initrd file was required, one that you could create yourself using remastersys, but I took the easy way out and used the remastered file offered at (the website listed a working menuentry for isos and pointed to the above-mentioned New Zealand website).

Here are the menuentries for booting BackTrack5 and Puppy live isos (I don't fully understand "insmod vbe" and /casper/custom.seed, but you must use them in order to get Backtrack 5 r3 to boot):

menuentry "Slacko Puppy" {

linux16 (hd0,11)/donatom/Downloads/ISOS/Puppy/memdisk iso bigraw
initrd16 (hd0,11)/donatom/Downloads/ISOS/Puppy/slacko-5.3.3-4g-SCSI.iso

#notice the use of memdisk (download "syslinux" and copy memdisk from /syslinux/ /memdisk). I tried using "loopback" to no avail
#notice in the following menuentry you CAN use loopback -- you probably can also use
#memdisk instead, as you see in Slacko Puppy

menuentry "Lucid Puppy 5.2.8" {
loopback loop (hd0,11)/donatom/Downloads/ISOS/LucidPuppy/lupu-528.iso
linux (loop)/vmlinuz pmedia=atahd --
initrd (loop)/initrd.gz

#notice I shortened the name of the BackTrack iso for the sake of simplicity

menuentry "BackTrack5 r3" {
set gfxpayload=1024x768x16
insmod vbe
loopback loop (hd0,11)/donatom/Downloads/ISOS/BackTrack5-r3/BT5r3.iso
linux (hd0,11)/donatom/Downloads/ISOS/BackTrack5-r3/casper/vmlinuz file=(loop)/casper/custom.seed boot=casper BOOT=casper persistent rw iso-scan/filename=/donatom/Downloads/ISOS/BackTrack5-r3/BT5r3.iso
initrd (hd0,11)/donatom/Downloads/ISOS/BackTrack5-r3/casper/initrd.bt5r3.gz

Of course I used "vim or gedit /etc/grub.d/40_custom" to edit the grub.cfg file (I obviously could not change the grub.cfg file directly) and then I ran "update-grub" (use "grub2-mkconfig -o /boot/grub/grub.cfg" with Fedora instead of "update-grub" -- God knows why Fedora insists on being different). It goes without saying that in order to get persistence to work, I had to create a partition labeled "casper-rw"

The interesting thing is that I could not find any worthwhile info at either the Puppy or BackTrack forum about booting their isos using grub2 from a harddrive.
Old 10-08-2012, 07:34 AM   #2
LQ Newbie
Registered: Oct 2012
Posts: 1

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Hi, thank you very much, I can now boot BT5 r3 live from grub. Runs very fast, too

Thought I'd post a reply here since your menuentry did not work for me, but I was able to use parts of it to get mine working. Here are 2 other menu entry for grub for BT5 r3 in case anyone else needs them:

menuentry "BackTrack 5 r3 Gnome (x32)" {
loopback loop (hd0,msdos2)/boot/iso/BT5R3-GNOME-32.iso
linux (loop)/casper/vmlinuz file=/casper/custom.seed boot=casper persistent rw iso-scan/filename=/boot/iso/BT5R3-GNOME-32.iso splash noprompt noeject --
initrd (hd0,msdos2)/boot/iso/initrd.bt5r3.gz
menuentry "BackTrack 5 r3 Gnome (x32)" {
loopback loop (hd0,msdos2)/boot/iso/BT5R3-GNOME-32.iso
linux (loop)/casper/vmlinuz file=/cdrom/preseed/mint.seed boot=casper persistent rw iso-scan/filename=/boot/iso/BT5R3-GNOME-32.iso splash noprompt noeject --
initrd (hd0,msdos2)/boot/iso/initrd.bt5r3.gz

Last edited by tutorialbs; 10-08-2012 at 08:07 AM.


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