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 Forum index » House Training » Beginners Help ( Start Here)
Unable to boot USB flash drive
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velcrofog
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PostPosted: Thu 11 Aug 2005, 17:00    Post subject:  Unable to boot USB flash drive  

Hello, all. System Specs: 256 Fat-Formatted Sandisk Cruzer Micro.

I've been trying to run chubby puppy off my flash drive for days now. It runs fine off the cd I burned, and after figuring out how to make sure my usb flash drive was properly formatted and mounted, I successfully ran the utility bundled with the puppy distro to create a bootable usb. Only problem is, I've tried it on three different computers, each of which was configured in bios to allow usb boot at a higher priority than the hard drive. In each case it ignored my flash drive and booted straight to windows. The PC's in question were a Dell, an HP, and an Emachine--don't have the model numbers handy, but with this much variation, it seems unlikely to be a problem specific to the computer I used.

Help very much appreciated! That way I can get back to working at work and fathering at home, instead of gnawing at this bone forever. Plus, my new job will make it very, very handy for me to have this system on a keychain. Thanks!

-Joel
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babbs


Joined: 10 May 2005
Posts: 397
Location: Running down a highway in Virginia, USA.

PostPosted: Thu 11 Aug 2005, 17:06    Post subject:  

I know this may sound like a crazy question, but did you try the thumb drive in different USB ports on each computer?

Where your different computers desktops or laptops?

Have you tried to install any of the other versions of Puppy (BareBones or the Standard versions)?

I had (dropped in a parking lot and run over many, many times Embarassed ) a 1GB SanDisk Cruzer Mini, and I was able to boot straight to it on one machine I tried. The other machines I tried didn't have the option of allowing the boot to USB in the BIOS. On those, I had a boot floppy that was picked up first.
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PostPosted: Thu 11 Aug 2005, 17:16    Post subject:  

No, I didn't try it in different ports, though on one of the computers there were only two ports and both were in the back, if that is relevant.

All three computers were desktops.

I did not try any other versions of Puppy. I suppose I could and should try that when I get home (no cd burner on the work computer; not inclined to find and learn to use an iso buster right now).

Am I right in thinking that if I download the standard Puppy, I can then add and remove programs as I wish? I wonder if I could find a flash-memory-friendly version of OpenOffice in a standalone format.

That aside, it still seems to me like the problem is not likely to be that I chose Chubby Puppy, although it might. What are your thoughts?

I appreciate your time and help. Like, ferreal.

-Joel
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danleff


Joined: 08 May 2005
Posts: 294
Location: Albany, NY

PostPosted: Thu 11 Aug 2005, 17:17    Post subject:  

If I remember right, the usb stick should not be mounted prior to doing the the usb installation of Puppy. The usb-storage module is run when the installation commences to recognize the stick.

Also, the bios setting may be different to boot the stick in various systems. What setting is being used USB-ZIP, USB-HDD?

In terms of being formatted correctly, the whole stick should be formatted as fat16. Is it formatted as fat16? Syslinux needs a fat16 partition.

Usually, the stick also has to be in a usb port that is resident on the motherboard. One of the ports built into the motherboard (on the back of the box), not one of the front mounted usb ports, which is usually an add-on port.

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PostPosted: Thu 11 Aug 2005, 17:42    Post subject:  

When I ran the utility to create a bootable usb flash disk without prior mounting, I always got error messages about it being unable to read it, together with a recommendation I reformat the disk. But I knew I had formatted it with the HP utility often recommended here and there on the web. I am hoping that Fat (as opposed to Fat32) is Fat16, but the only fat formatting options I had were Fat and Fat32.

I had seen others post questions and answers having to do with the zip vs. floppy vs. HD ways a BIOS can recognize a USB flash drive. Fortunately for me, I only had one USB option in each BIOS, so I didn't have to decide. Unfortunately, that means I cannot tell you right now which treatment the computers were giving the USB drive. I'll see if I can find out tonight.

At that same time, I'll try a usb port in the back of the computer, and will re-run that utility off the Puppy CD without mounting first. It might be that the problem came because it was installed on an add-on port, which would give it an identifier something like sda5, if I remember right, rather than the apparently more common sda1 or sda2.

Is there some way to set it up so that it will boot from any connected usb port (on a usb-bootable computer with the proper bios settings), or is that flat out impossible right now? For example, would there be a way to make it so it didn't matter which of five usb ports I put it into?

Thanks. I'll let you know tomorrow how my diagnostics go tonight.

-Joel
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danleff


Joined: 08 May 2005
Posts: 294
Location: Albany, NY

PostPosted: Thu 11 Aug 2005, 20:25    Post subject:  

What I found, was that it was not an identifier probllem, but if the add-on usb port was capable of booting from the bios.

The designation (sda1) should be ok, as long as you do not have another device that is seen in Linux as sda1. Say, a usb zip drive or hard drive, or another stick. The other issue could be a flash card reader.

Generally parallel zip devices are also seen as sda, but, if the disk is formatted as a fat filesystem, the designation is sda4.

Just some considerations if you have any of this hardware.

If you go to rxvt and type in probepart, then you will see what any such devices are seen as a "hard drive" in Puppy.

It used to be that the zip devices are not seen, unless a disk is actually in the drive when probed. I don't know if this is the case now. I'll have to try this with my zip drive and see.

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