I am trying to make a Live-something so that I can boot from it in the event that my Ubuntu laptop becomes unbootable for some reason (and so that I can do a clean backup and so that I can do a reinstall and ...).
I followed the instructions linked to but the results so far are not promising.
What I have tried so far:
Verified good download by MD5 value
Burned to CD at lowest possible burn speed.
Boot from CD starts to work. Get some cryptic icon and can choose Language and get Help etc. Can choose "Try Ubuntu without installing". That goes for a little while and then I get a lot of white text on a black screen. It isn't obvious from any of the text that there is an error message but it's all fairly cryptic.
At that point it will echo what I type but nothing that I have typed has resulted in any kind of response. (I don't know whether it really is expecting me to type something or is just pausing to show me the text or input is asynchronous with respect to the boot process.)
Has the boot failed? What state is it in?
The only thing that appears to elicit any meaningful response is Ctrl-Alt-Del, which results in a bit more output and then restarts.
From reading other posts, someone is bound to say that the burn was no good. So I followed the procedure to make a bootable USB flash drive. The result was basically the same as with the CD.
When booting, the last line of output says
[9.895005] sd 6:0:0:0: [sdc] Attached SCSI removable disk
(The exact numbers at the beginning of the line in square brackets vary.)
I don't think I can easily get the full text but I can post more (i.e. previous lines of output) if someone thinks it will help.
How long should a boot from CD take? How long should a boot from USB flash drive take? (With the USB flash drive I waited about 10 minutes.)
Giving up on that, I thought that maybe there is a bug that is fixed in 12.04 so I downloaded ubuntu-12.04-desktop-amd64.iso and created a bootable USB from that.
At one point I got "No DEFAULT or UI configuration directive found!" and a prompt "boot:". That message doesn't help me. I see from the internet that other people have had that problem but I wasn't able to get anywhere.
I wondered whether maybe there's a 64 bit problem so I wanted to try the 32 bit version (even though it won't actually solve my problem). Aaaarrrgggh! Between the time of downloading the 11.10 64 bit iso and all this failure, the 11.10 32 bit iso has gone away (can't see where to download it). Is it still available for download somewhere?
That's as far as I have got.
I may try to buy a new flash drive. Does anyone know definitively how a flash drive should be partitioned and how it should be formatted (file system type, file system parameters) in order to use it to boot from?
Does it make any difference whether I use F2 to get into BIOS setup and alter the boot order or use F7 to choose boot options? Both seemed to have the correct effect (boot from other than the normal boot device) but neither seemed to work once the boot started.