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Old 11-14-2011, 04:17 AM   #1
derstephen
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USB Boot for Slackware 13.37 on Dell 9150?


Hello,

This is not my first Slackware install, I did one (off a local partition) on my laptop, but now I'm trying to get Slack onto a Dell Dimension 9150 desktop as it quit booting Windows so my mom let me have it to mess with while she got a new Lenovo.

Here's the situation so far:

I have no installation CDs/DVD and am tremendously impatient as well as tempted by the relatively challenging alternate methods and maybe learning something in the process...

My laptop has no CD/DVD burner capability, so I tried to copy the DVD iso onto my FAT32 external hard drive only to discover that FAT32 has some sort of 4G limit with copying (DVD image is 4.3 or something close). So I extracted the tree and copied that over (sans symbolic links), brought it to the new computer and burned it to a DVD, which didn't end up booting (also tested it on my laptop). Hence why I'm asking about a USB boot.

So far I've tried dd'ing the usbboot.img onto the aforementioned external hardrive (on a 1G bootable partition of it) but when I boot up the Dell with it, it hangs on some kind of Intel boot device screen (sorry, not familiar with Dells) that looks like some kind of partition table, and I can't type anything at the prompt. So then I tried the usbimg2disk.sh script, but that failed on the first makebootable call, so I looked that up and ended up changing the call to 'sfdisk' to 'lilo' and now it fails on the last makebootable call. Tomorrow I'll try to repartition my external HD (there's nothing important on there) and this time make sure the msdos compatible flag is set, as I've found that may be an issue too, and then hopefully the script will work.

But I would like to hear some feedback on my methods. It's highly likely I've made some fatal errors in the DVD stage as well as the USB stage, but I'm more interested in why the USB boot isn't working. If I need to provide more information let me know!

Last edited by derstephen; 11-14-2011 at 04:20 AM.
 
Old 11-14-2011, 08:47 AM   #2
ottavio
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Have you tried to burn (on another pc) Eric's mini iso:
http://connie.slackware.com/~alien/slackboot/mini/
 
1 members found this post helpful.
Old 11-14-2011, 10:42 AM   #3
onebuck
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usb-and-pxe-installers

Hi,

Look at the Slackware64 13.37 usb-and-pxe-installers
Quote:
excerpt from README_USB.TXT
Installing Slackware using a bootable USB stick
===============================================

**WARNING:**
The procedure outlined below will destroy all data that is currently
stored on the USB stick you use to create a USB Slackware installer.


Introduction
------------

With the release of Slackware 12.0, the era of floppy-boot came to
a definite end. The reason is simple - the Linux 2.6 kernel will not
fit on a single floppy, even in it's most condensed configuration.
In this README, I will show you how to use a bootable USB stick to
install Slackware. This method - creating the USB equivalent of a
boot/root floppy pair - is easy to use and fast. It requires that your
computer is able to boot from USB-HDD.
Booting the Slackware installer from a USB stick
------------------------------------------------

The 'usbboot.img' file is a 25 MB small USB boot image that you can
use to boot into the Slackware setup program. The mini image does not
contain any installable Slackware package. In order to install Slackware
you will need a local NFS/HTTP/FTP server or another Slackware package
source like a prepared local harddisk partition. This small image file
works great, especially when you can't or don't want to use CDROM media
as the carrier for the Slackware packages.
The image is transfered to a USB stick in a matter of seconds. Even the
oldest and tiniest of USB drives is well suited for this purpose.
Please be sure to read the rest of the file. I made the assumption you are using a x86_64 but the procedure is the same for x86_32.
 
Old 11-14-2011, 12:39 PM   #4
ottavio
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Quote:
Originally Posted by onebuck View Post
Hi,

Look at the Slackware64 13.37 usb-and-pxe-installers
Please be sure to read the rest of the file. I made the assumption you are using a x86_64 but the procedure is the same for x86_32.
The OP stated he has already tried the usb installer and didn't work so that's why I suggested burming the mini-iso and I assume he hasn't got a PXE boot server at hand.
 
Old 11-14-2011, 02:03 PM   #5
onebuck
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Hi,

Quote:
Originally Posted by ottavio View Post
The OP stated he has already tried the usb installer and didn't work so that's why I suggested burming the mini-iso and I assume he hasn't got a PXE boot server at hand.
It looked to me his methods were not right. That's why I referenced the USB install documentation. That Dell does support external boot and USB. Seems the OP is omitting something. I see no problem with the mini-ISO technique. OP had started out with the USB and looks like possibly a BIOS problem reading the USB. Look at the below quote and Underlined text.

Quote:
Create a bootable USB stick non-destructively
---------------------------------------------

If you do not want to sacrifice a USB thumb drive for this (note that
dumping the image file on the USB stick will destroy all data already
present on the stick), there is a solution: Slackware also ships with a
script usbimg2disk.sh since the 13.0 release (actually, it is the file
/usb-and-pxe-installers/usbimg2disk.sh ). This script extracts the content
from the 'usbboot.img' image file and uses this to transform a regular USB
thumb drive into a bootable Slackware installer non-destructively (i.e. any
existing files on the stick will not be touched). The only requirement is,
that there is at least 30 MB of available free space on the stick.

The usbimg2disk.sh script is also convenient if your computer refuses to
boot from a USB stick loaded with the usbboot.img file.
The BIOS of some
computers will not understand the format of the default Slackware USB
image. Using the usbimg2disk.sh script, you create an alternative bootable
USB stick that will be recognized by your computers BIOS.


Restoring a USB stick to its original state (empty VFAT partition)
------------------------------------------------------------------

When you have used the small 25 MB image to create a USB installer,
your USB stick is no longer useful for anything else. Any remaining
space on the stick (assuming you used a larger-than 25 MB stick for it)
is inaccessible. Fortunately, it is easy to re-create a FAT partition on
the stick (thereby removing the Slackware installer of course) so that
the USB stick again becomes available for carrying around your data.
As to getting the CD/DVD install ISO: Get Slack is SlackwareŽ Linux Project Referenced mirrors list. As I read the OP the member does not have the media. So download the ISO, verify with the 'md5' using 'md5sum check for the downloaded ISO. Then burn the ISO image to disk.

More than one way to skin a cat! 'PETA' notice: No cats are harmed during the install procedures.
 
Old 11-14-2011, 06:16 PM   #6
derstephen
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Hey guys,

In my two+ hours of googling I never came across that mini-iso, and it ended up working! It also got me to thinking of a simple solution: why not use a Windows program to look at the DVD iso on my ext3 partition and burn that? I found ext2read and it was a snap.

Soooo...thanks for your help, I guess I kind of chickened out on the USB thing. But I learned some things so I still win. I still wonder if the dos compatible flag in fdisk was why the script wouldn't work...
 
Old 11-14-2011, 06:27 PM   #7
derstephen
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Quote:
Originally Posted by onebuck View Post
It looked to me his methods were not right. That's why I referenced the USB install documentation. That Dell does support external boot and USB. Seems the OP is omitting something. I see no problem with the mini-ISO technique. OP had started out with the USB and looks like possibly a BIOS problem reading the USB. Look at the below quote and Underlined text.
So I think the problem was ultimately something with the default behavior of fdisk when creating vfat partitions. Apparently during a relatively recent update they decided in their infinite wisdom to switch from cylinders to sectors as the default size selection for the partitions, which Windows doesn't cotton to. Add to that the fact that the dos compatible flag must also be manually set, even with a Windows file system, and you get...well, a virtually unreadable partition.

All is well now though, just need to install a wireless card. You live and learn...
 
Old 11-14-2011, 09:33 PM   #8
derstephen
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Angry

Quote:
Originally Posted by derstephen View Post
All is well now though, just need to install a wireless card. You live and learn...
UPDATE: Apparently by "all is well" I meant "all is crap". My Slackware DVD boots fine but when I tell setup to install the packages from the DVD it can't find it anymore. It almost worked the first time but the installation got hung up on the gcc-java package. When I retried the installation it got to the gcc-java package, killed itself, and locked up my machine. So the next time I deselected the gcc-java package, but then it killed itself before installing any packages. And finally, now it just can't find the DVD at all, despite the fact that the setup program itself is on it...damn.

So now that I can boot I'm trying to install the packages from my external hard drive where I have extracted the full tree onto an ext3 partition, and wouldn't you know it, it hangs on the damn gcc-java package again! So my .iso must have been bad. So I deselect that and it kills itself on the perl package.

I'm going to give up for today before I break something...
 
Old 11-17-2011, 08:08 PM   #9
derstephen
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I ran md5sum and all is ok with the ISO. Just in case I burned a new DVD, but it kills itself on gcc-java too.

I'm throwing in the towel for good. You win, Dell.
 
Old 11-18-2011, 08:49 AM   #10
linuxbird
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Second attempt at a post so this is short.

I just created a USB boot stick with Slackware 13.37 on it.

1. Formatted a 8gb usb stick by: partitioning one partition for FAT32 with fdisk on a linux system, and then used linux to format the usb stick
2. Downloaded Universal USB Installer onto an XP system
3. Ran said program on XP machine, selecting the last option for install (new syslinux) and pointing it to the Slackware 13.37 install DVD iso I have on a NAS.
4. Let it cook (took a nap)
5. Booted an old laptop which requires me to set the USB drive as the boot drive _every_ time I boot from USB. (circa 2002 bios)
6. Slackware install came up fine.

Hope this helps, as this approach seems much simpler than what I was finding in my searching for examples on how to create a Slackware install USB stick.
 
Old 11-19-2011, 08:28 AM   #11
Alien Bob
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Windows users can also try this option of creating a bootable USB Slackware installer: http://alien.slackbook.org/blog/welcome-windows-user/

Eric
 
Old 11-20-2011, 12:01 AM   #12
derstephen
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Hey guys,

Thanks for your replies. I've learned a bit more about my situation:

I was able to install Ubuntu 8.04 off a CD on it just fine.

I re-downloaded the iso image and it still breaks at the same spot.

I was able to use the DVD I made to install Slack on my laptop just fine.

I'm pretty sure this is a hardware issue, but now I'm just more confused. The iso image and my burning method are fine because the DVD worked on my laptop. The file systems on both HDs are fine as I ensured with Ubuntu. The only thing I can think of is that the DVD drive can only read the disc up to a certain point but I've never heard of that before and it doesn't explain why Windows quit working either...

Maybe I'll get a wireless card for it soon and I'll have more options on what to do with it; at least with Ubuntu it won't end up as a big ol' paperweight!
 
Old 11-20-2011, 09:34 AM   #13
onebuck
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Hi,

Then I would suspect a compliance issue with your reader. Especially when you say the media reads on other hardware and is repeatable on this machine. CD/DVD devices are mechanical thus wear or misalignment can cause read errors between devices (compliance). Replace the device!
 
  


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