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Old 10-01-2006, 12:36 AM   #1
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Booting SLAX from the USB Thumb Drive.

Hello ppl,

I downloaded Slax-5.0. I want to boot it from my 512Mb USB Thumb drive. I am absolutely clueless about it. I extracted Slax and edited the /boot file. And my bios is set to boot from USB. Nuthing is hapnin.

What am I doing wrong?

All help will be aprreciated.

Thank you.
Old 10-01-2006, 06:30 AM   #2
Registered: Mar 2004
Location: dublin IRL
Distribution: Slackv12.1, Slamd64v12.1,Xubuntu v8.10_64, FC8_64
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The "what am I doing wrong?" question comes up quite a few times. What's funny is when the number of things being done in the first place is pretty low, which I have to say is your case (at least from what you say, which is all we have to go on).

As I say, when you only do two or three things, it would be pretty unlucky to get one of them wrong. So the question should probably be "what other tasks should I carry out to get closer to getting this thing working?"

Usually these tasks are pretty much "mini-tests", which help you reduce the possible motives for things not working. So an MD5 test on your download to ensure the integrity of the downloaded Slax is in order. Another test is seeing if the USB Slax will run from within another linux (i.e. as you may have on your HDD) using the "chroot ." command.

If all that is OK, you may have a USB geometry problem which you'll need one of cfdisk/fdisk and sfdisk to solve. But you need to google that one. Exhaustive googling is also recommended.

My only experience with slax was on a live cd, which worked on a number of machines, but not on a Dell Latitude laptop. I never found out what happened. It would just hang when it called the compressed kernel.

Last edited by stabu; 10-01-2006 at 06:35 AM.
Old 10-29-2006, 04:14 PM   #3
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it's a little trickier than you'd think, but not as tricky as you'd think. and i think my particular problem actually was a drive geometry problem. these pages helped me quite a bit:

(i can't post links until i make 3 posts. how stupid. t-minus 3..)

in the end, i'm still not quite sure exactly what i did to get my flash drive booting into slax. some steps i remember taking:
-- make sure your geometry consists of 32 sectors/track (otherwise syslinux won't recognize it as a fat16 drive and won't alter the mbr, or add ldlinux.sys, etc. it'll let you know it's not working though)
-- make sure you have your vmlinuz and initrd.gz files properly linked from syslinux.cfg.
-- oh yeah, you also need to rename the isolinux.cfg file that comes with slax's .iso file to syslinux.cfg in the root directory, as well as putting copies of vmlinuz and initrd.gz files into the root directory. after that, make sure you edit syslinux.cfg to point to the versions in the root directory.

Nuthing is hapnin.
if you mean that the bios skips over the usb device, i think that sounds like what happened before i altered the drive geometry in my scenario... just be sure to copy down the original c/h/s settings so you can undo it if you have to.
if you can run syslinux /dev/sdXX to point to your boot partition on your flashdrive, you will be able to see if it's bootable or if syslinux doesn't like the geometry/settings of your partition.
good luck!
Old 10-29-2006, 04:15 PM   #4
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oops. i can't post anything less than 10 characters.

Last edited by elmer_dudd; 10-29-2006 at 04:33 PM.
Old 10-29-2006, 04:16 PM   #5
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by the by, i've got a 1gig sandisk cruzer mini, from the factory came with:
Disk /dev/sda: 989 cylinders, 32 heads, 63 sectors/track
Units = cylinders of 1032192 bytes, blocks of 1024 bytes, counting from 0

what i did was swap the heads and sectors/track numbers.. so, right now it's at:
Disk /dev/sda: 989 cylinders, 63 heads, 32 sectors/track
Units = cylinders of 1032192 bytes, blocks of 1024 bytes, counting from 0

with one partition consisting of:
Device Boot Start End #cyls #blocks Id System
/dev/sda1 0+ 988 989- 996896 6 FAT16

donno if i'll run into problems later because i set the heads to >32, but everything seems to be working fine--including the windows u3 software that came with it

Last edited by elmer_dudd; 10-29-2006 at 04:34 PM.
Old 10-29-2006, 04:16 PM   #6
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here. i would have had it up sooner, but there's a time limit between posts as well.


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