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 USB Boot problems - 1.5.4 
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Joined: 25 May 2010, 21:52
Posts: 17
Post USB Boot problems - 1.5.4
I hadn't updated SRCD since version 1.2.3. I figured it was about time. But I am having a very hard time getting 1.5.4 to work on a USB stick. I am following these official instructions. I am facing many obstacles:

A) Recommended method: scripted installation from SystemRescueCd.

Well, I don't have a CD drive. I need SRCD on a USB stick because I use a netbook. Please save any potential condescending remarks about netbooks. This one is extremely capable. The only thing that doesn't work well on it are heavy games, which I don't need. I even run XP on VMware on it, it works fine, it's not slow, no problems. And I don't have a desktop available, so installation method A is ruled out.

B) Quick installation from Linux using dd

Two problems here. First, I tried it and the USB stick won't boot. I don't know why. I just followed the procedure described there, and it failed. Second, the USB stick has 512 MB of space, but the dd method truncates the USB stick so that it seems to have 250 MB when examined by cfdisk, fdisk -l or df -h (mounted). I was hoping to put the extra space to good use with a few documents and maybe standalone executables, not waste it. Installation method B is ruled out.

C) Manual installation from Linux using cp

I'll be honest. I didn't follow that procedure exactly the way it is there. I will. But before I do, bear with me. I don't think I missed any relevant step of the procedure except... well, let me explain. I formatted the stick with FAT32, copied everything to the stick with cp then ran 'syslinux /dev/sdb1'. Now it boots, but I only get one line of data (I can't remember what it says) and the second line says 'boot: '. When I press Enter, SRCD tells me that it can't find the 'Linux' kernel or option, something like that. I am typing this from memory.

I just saw the thread titled USB Boot problems - 1.5.2, and it seems that syslinux has to be syslinux-3.74 or newer. Mine is 2:3.63+dfsg on Ubuntu and Adept Manager informs me that there isn't a newer version available.

Guys, please listen to me. This is the only reason I bothered to register with this forum and write this lenghty message: you are not being reasonable. This is a rescue CD. It is supposed to save us trouble, not give us trouble. My Ubuntu is 9.04, Jaunty Jackalope, released on April 23, 2009. You are demanding what I consider pretty much bleeding edge to make SRCD work. A rescue CD is something that should be plenty useful to people of all walks of life, with all kinds of new and old machines. Syslinux as old as at least five year should be as good as any newer one. Look, I have SRCD 1.2.3 installed on another stick, how come that one worked fine? My version of syslinux was just the same, perhaps even older. Please don't create obstacles. This project is supposed to help us overcome them, not hit our heads against them.

Unetbootin

Maybe it worked the other time around because *I think* I installed SRCD with Unetbootin. But I ran into problems with it this time, although I downloaded the latest version of Unetbootin.

Unetbootin is supposed to let me choose System Rescue CD in a drop-down box and do everything automatically. However, that option finishes way too fast, and only a small handful of small files are written to the stick. Obviously, the procedure fails. I noticed that Unetbootin tries to download SRCD from two remote locations, an FTP and an HTTP URL. I had enough time to click and copy those URLs, the FTP location is broken. The address changed (someone thought it was a good idea to create a new 'project' directory in the new address). The HTTP address redirects to a new one from my browser, but maybe that is throwing Unetbootin off.

So I used the other Unetbootin option: instead of picking SRCD in the drop-down box, just choose to install a generic ISO image. I had a new outcome: now it boots, but I cannot access the Default boot. I can run all other kernels/boot options, not Default. When I try, SRCD insists on booting with the ntpasswd kernel. I tried many times, same result over and over.

I thought that maybe there was something wrong with the ISO image, but no. The md5sum checksum matches. I also changed one of my VMWare virtual machines to boot off the SRCD ISO image, SRCD worked fine in it. I could see the real menu (this time all blue) and I could boot the Default option, run XFCE etc.

I have no idea if Unetbootin would have been able to configure SRCD correctly if it had been able to download it from the remote location. Either way, I am not fond of that idea because I already have the image on my hard disk. I don't want to download it again. What if I want to make another stick, share it with a friend etc.? Am I supposed to download it over and over despite having the image on my HD? Why can't SRCD be simpler? Why can't I just install it as a generic CD/ISO? Many distro CD images work that way in Unetbootin, others don't, and SRCD 1.5.4. is one of those that don't. Why do some of you developers have to complicate the stuff?

Summing up, I think the whole idea of installing SRCD on a USB stick is pretty disappointing because it's too complicated and error prone. Rescue disks (or sticks) should save us trouble, not make us jump through hoops. I spent about 3 hours on it, I am really sick of trying, I will just wait for another version, which hopefully will be more straightforward and useful.

Thank you for your attention and all the hard work. I just think there is a problem of poor design in the current version that hampers the whole purpose of the project.


25 May 2010, 22:52
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Joined: 25 May 2010, 22:21
Posts: 16
Post Re: USB Boot problems - 1.5.4
I use a netbook like you, and the new boot menu was my problem.
I used unetbootin to create the boot usb stick. I used v377, 419 and 442 all trying to get it to boot. I have a thread about it (created today) here in this forum. viewtopic.php?f=14&t=3143 My problem was that I needed to boot from the altker32 for any of my systems to boot from USB, and it was not available with the new menu introduced in SRCD 1.5.2+

I used unetbootin to install 1.5.1 on a USB stick, and copied the syslinux.cfg file from the usb stick to my desktop. That file contains the boot menu options.
Then I used unetbootin again to create the latest SRCD version 1.5.4 and even 1.5.5b7 and once I copied over the old syslinux.cfg file to the USB stic I was able to select the kernel I needed.

It is worth a shot, give it a try, it may help.
Also, I downloaded the iso to my hard drive, and not let unetbootin download it from the net. Just click the DISKIMAGE button and then the ... button and browse to the ISO image. Works like a champ.

I registered here today for nearly the same problem as you.


26 May 2010, 01:14
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Joined: 25 May 2010, 22:21
Posts: 16
Post Re: USB Boot problems - 1.5.4
Once you get a version successfully installed (not the quick failing install) try changing your syslinux.cfg file to the following

Code:
default menu.c32
prompt 0
menu title UNetbootin
timeout 100

label unetbootindefault
menu label Default
kernel /ubnkern
append initrd=/ubninit

label ubnentry0
menu label rescue64
kernel /isolinux/rescue64
append initrd=/isolinux/initram.igz

label ubnentry1
menu label altker32
kernel /isolinux/altker32
append initrd=/isolinux/initram.igz video=ofonly

label ubnentry2
menu label altker64
kernel /isolinux/altker64
append initrd=/isolinux/initram.igz video=ofonly

label ubnentry3
menu label vmlinuz2
kernel /isolinux/altker32
append initrd=/isolinux/initram.igz video=ofonly

label ubnentry4
menu label vesa
kernel /isolinux/rescuecd
append initrd=/isolinux/initram.igz forcevesa

label ubnentry5
menu label fr
kernel /isolinux/rescuecd
append initrd=/isolinux/initram.igz setkmap=fr

label ubnentry6
menu label uk32
kernel /isolinux/rescuecd
append initrd=/isolinux/initram.igz setkmap=uk

label ubnentry7
menu label uk64
kernel /isolinux/rescue64
append initrd=/isolinux/initram.igz setkmap=uk

label ubnentry8
menu label us
kernel /isolinux/rescuecd
append initrd=/isolinux/initram.igz setkmap=us

label ubnentry9
menu label nokeymap
kernel /isolinux/rescuecd
append initrd=/isolinux/initram.igz setkmap=us

label ubnentry10
menu label minishell
kernel /isolinux/rescuecd
append initrd=/isolinux/initram.igz minishell=/bin/ash

label ubnentry11
menu label rescuehd
kernel /isolinux/rescuecd
append initrd=/ubninit init=/sbin/init

label ubnentry12
menu label reschd32
kernel /isolinux/rescuecd
append initrd=/ubninit init=/sbin/init

label ubnentry13
menu label reschd64
kernel /isolinux/rescue64
append initrd=/ubninit init=/sbin/init

label ubnentry14
menu label memtest
kernel /bootdisk/memtestp
append initrd=/ubninit -

label ubnentry15
menu label freedos
kernel /isolinux/memdisk
append initrd=/bootdisk/freedos.img floppy

label ubnentry16
menu label ranish
kernel /isolinux/memdisk
append initrd=/bootdisk/ranish.img floppy

label ubnentry17
menu label aida
kernel /isolinux/memdisk
append initrd=/bootdisk/aida.img floppy

label ubnentry18
menu label hdt
kernel /isolinux/memdisk
append initrd=/bootdisk/hdt.img floppy

label ubnentry19
menu label ntpass
kernel /ntpasswd/vmlinuz
append initrd=/ubninit rw vga=1

label ubnentry20
menu label ntpasswd
kernel /ntpasswd/vmlinuz
append initrd=/ubninit rw vga=1

label ubnentry21
menu label gag
kernel /isolinux/memdisk
append initrd=/bootdisk/gag.img floppy

label ubnentry22
menu label dban
kernel /isolinux/memdisk
append initrd=/bootdisk/dban.img floppy

label ubnentry23
menu label mhdd
kernel /isolinux/memdisk
append initrd=/bootdisk/mhdd.img floppy

label ubnentry24
menu label grubdisk
kernel /isolinux/memdisk
append initrd=/bootdisk/grubdisk.img floppy

label ubnentry25
menu label netboot
kernel /isolinux/netboot
append initrd=/ubninit -

label ubnentry26
menu label nextboot
kernel /ubnkern
append initrd=/ubninit


and if the default does not work, try altker32 that is what I need to use when I boot from USB and not from CD


26 May 2010, 01:18
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Joined: 25 May 2010, 21:52
Posts: 17
Post Re: USB Boot problems - 1.5.4
I came back just to report that I tried it again with the C) Manual installation from Linux using cp that I mentioned in my previous post. This time I followed the exact instructions provided in the website. It still didn't work. When I booted, I got this screen:

Image


I decided to try a few kernels. There weren't many that I could remember. The first one I tried was ntpasswd. But that didn't work.

Image


But the gag and memtest options worked. Here is memtest:

Image


Of course, I had to reboot several times in order to try all these options. Finally, I tried rescuecd. The machine hung with a kernel panic:

Image


Now I am going to try the fix suggested by Coastie. I will report back.


26 May 2010, 02:47
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Joined: 25 May 2010, 21:52
Posts: 17
Post Re: USB Boot problems - 1.5.4
OK, the fix provided by Coastie really works. The menu gets a little messy, the Default option still falls back to ntpasswd, but the rest of the "CD" (USB stick) works well with the altker23 option. I spent quite some time testing it, the result is very good. Now I can even use my Wifi connection! Very good.

Thanks to all.


26 May 2010, 04:24
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Joined: 25 May 2010, 22:21
Posts: 16
Post Re: USB Boot problems - 1.5.4
Glad it worked for you, it was driving me buggy too.
I wish it worked by default though, and that new menu sure is a problem.


26 May 2010, 04:47
Profile
Site Admin

Joined: 17 Jul 2003, 09:44
Posts: 2700
Post Re: USB Boot problems - 1.5.4
1) You have to check you are using syslinux version 3.74 or newer.
2) Try with sysresccd-1.5.5-beta which contains many bug fixes
3) A new USB installation script comes with SystemRescueCd-1.5.5-beta8

New USB installation script in SystemRescueCd-1.5.5-beta8:
a) mount the ISO image on /mnt/cdrom from any Linux distribution
Code:
mount -o loop systemrescuecd-x86-1.5.5-beta8.iso /mnt/cdrom

b) plug your USB-stick
c) run usb_inst.sh from /mnt/cdrom
Code:
cd /mnt/cdrom
./usb_inst.sh

d) Select the USB device and click OK


26 May 2010, 07:19
Profile

Joined: 25 May 2010, 21:52
Posts: 17
Post Re: USB Boot problems - 1.5.4
admin wrote:
1) You have to check you are using syslinux version 3.74 or newer.


A case of TLDR?


26 May 2010, 08:45
Profile
Site Admin

Joined: 17 Jul 2003, 09:44
Posts: 2700
Post Re: USB Boot problems - 1.5.4
Can we please close the current thread and just all post in one place to investigate problems with the USB stick installation:
viewtopic.php?f=14&t=3143


26 May 2010, 11:25
Profile
Site Admin

Joined: 17 Jul 2003, 09:44
Posts: 2700
Post Re: USB Boot problems - 1.5.4
The official documentation about USB installation has been updated. The three methods at the top provide easy and valid installation instruction to run from Linux or Windows or SystemRescueCd.

The funny thing is that the the windows version of the liveusb-creator for Fedora Linux just does the job very well. You just have to select the ISO image and the USB device and it just works. Unetbootin does not works with SystemRescueCd because it tries to guess what files should be used to generate a syslinux configuration file and it's completely wrong.


26 May 2010, 21:37
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