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Thread: Howto make USB boot drives

  1. #1021
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    Re: Howto make USB boot drives

    @ C.S.Cameron,

    Thanks for these instructions for installing programs to a computer without [an own connection to the] internet

  2. #1022
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    Kubuntu 19.10 Eoan Ermine

    Re: Howto make USB boot drives

    I'm doing a BIOS update, instructions at https://www.dell.com/support/article...onment?lang=en . As it is an older computer (pre 2015) and I boot into Legacy mode (not UEFI) I'm following the steps at section 3 and 4 - https://www.dell.com/support/article...eStorageDevice

    UNetbootin keeps on wanting me to 'mount' the USB, plus it doesn't give the option /dev/sdb1 , even though a mount command displays the usb mounted at /dev/sdb1

    Can I simply use mkusb to correctly format the usb and then copy the BIOS as an EXE ??

  3. #1023
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    Kubuntu 19.10 Eoan Ermine

    Re: Howto make USB boot drives

    So I used mkusb to do a live ISO of FreeDos, however cannot copy the EXE for the BIOS onto the usb, as it gives me a 'read only' errors. Have tried copying with 'sudo', same problems. The problem was that there was no room left on the ISO, plus permission errors. Any attempts to use 'UNetbootin' resulted in the usb drive not being detected, despite the fact a mount command showed that it was clearly mounted.

    Installed isomaster, and added the EXE file to the ISO, then used mkusb to create a bootable ISO on the usb. It looks okay, the extra file is there now. Now to do the renoot and update the BIOS (gulp).
    Last edited by oygle; October 17th, 2020 at 05:15 AM.

  4. #1024
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    Re: Howto make USB boot drives

    @oygle,

    I'm glad you found a way to run FreeDOS. But I think there is an easier way:

    Download FD12FULL.zip from

    www.ibiblio.org/pub/micro/pc-stuff/freedos/files/distributions/1.2/

    Extract it and use mkusb (mkusb-dus) directly on the image file to flash it to a USB pendrive,

    Code:
    unzip FD12FULL.zip
    dus FD12FULL.img


    I tested that it can boot my Dell Precision M4800 (in BIOS mode).

    After booting I selected language and did not install it: selected 'No, return to DOS'. That way I had a running system booted from the USB drive.

    There is a FAT16 file system, where you can add files, so when connected to a computer with Ubuntu or Windows, you can copy your EXE file into it, and then boot and update the BIOS.

    Code:
    $ LANG=C sudo parted /dev/sdc p
    Model: JetFlash Transcend 8GB (scsi)
    Disk /dev/sdc: 7902MB
    Sector size (logical/physical): 512B/512B
    Partition Table: msdos
    Disk Flags: 
    
    Number  Start   End    Size   Type     File system  Flags
     1      32,3kB  537MB  537MB  primary  fat16        boot
    If the free space is too small for the file(s) that you want to use, it should be possible to use FD12LITE.zip instead, which has only the most necessary tools. After increasing the size of the FAT16 partition to 511 MiB with gparted, there will be lots of free space.

    Another alternative is to create another FAT16 partition (not exceeding 512 MiB) to store the files.

    Code:
    $ lsblk -o name,fstype,label,size /dev/sdc
    NAME   FSTYPE LABEL     SIZE
    sdc                     7,4G
    ├─sdc1 vfat   FD-SETUP  512M
    └─sdc2 vfat   STORAGE   511M
    
    $ LANG=C sudo parted /dev/sdc p
    Model: JetFlash Transcend 8GB (scsi)
    Disk /dev/sdc: 7902MB
    Sector size (logical/physical): 512B/512B
    Partition Table: msdos
    Disk Flags: 
    
    Number  Start   End     Size   Type     File system  Flags
     1      32,3kB  537MB   537MB  primary  fat16        boot
     2      537MB   1073MB  536MB  primary  fat16
    FreeDOS will see the second partition as D:

  5. #1025
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    Kubuntu 19.10 Eoan Ermine

    Re: Howto make USB boot drives

    @sudodus - This morning I tried several times to boot from the usb (after mkusb had made the ISO image on it), but everytime , it kept going into Kubuntu. This was despite the fact that I had 'boot from USB' as first boot priority. Then I felt to look here, and saw your post. Followed your instructions, added the Bios EXE file, rebooted, and this time the Bios menu had changed it it had boot from usb as an option on the first screen. Took that, followed your instructions, ran the Bios EXE and it has successfully done the Bios upgrade.

    I tried the 'parted' command, the output is slightly diffeent to yours ..

    $ LANG=C sudo parted /dev/sdb1 p
    [sudo] password for oygle:
    Model: Unknown (unknown)
    Disk /dev/sdb1: 537MB
    Sector size (logical/physical): 512B/512B
    Partition Table: loop
    Disk Flags:

    Number Start End Size File system Flags
    1 0.00B 537MB 537MB fat16
    It is SO GOOD to have this done and it certainly was the easy way. Thank you, thank you @sudodus
    Last edited by oygle; October 18th, 2020 at 03:08 AM.

  6. #1026
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    Re: Howto make USB boot drives

    mkusb version 12.6.5, 12.6.6

    - mkusb 12.6.5
    . dus-persistent: probe_source: usb-pack_efi auto-set for 20.10
    . mkusb-plug:
    .. mkusb-sedd: puer, puer0: Workaround reverted
    ... (bug-fix for https://bugs.launchpad.net/bugs/1895329)
    .. srctst: Cannot to create data partition for version 20.10

    - mkusb 12.6.6
    . dus-live: gpt_fix: added "-e 'Problem:'" to first grep command
    . mkusb-plug:
    .. mkusb-sedd: new functions gpt_fix, gpt_zap
    ... datp: using gpt_fix, gpt_zap (and partprobe)
    .. get_action and scrtst: no longer check to exclude 20.10

    Improvement in version 12.6.5

    - dus-persistent: Auto-setting to use usb-pack_efi for Ubuntu 20.10 'Groovy'

    - mkusb-plug:
    . Again using the automatic creation of the ext4 partition to be used for persistence.
    . Exiting from the alternative to create a usbdata partition for Ubuntu Ubuntu 20.10 'Groovy' because it does not work. Suggesting to use mkusb-dus instead for this purpose.

    Improvement in version 12.6.6

    - mkusb-plug: Because of the GPT in Groovy iso files, it was necessary to fix the backup partition table at the tail end of the drive. The functins gpt_fix, gpt_zap were ported from dus-live to mkusb-sedd and upgraded in order to make it possible to create a partition behind the cloned partitions. (Excluding the action to create data partition for version 20.10 was reverted, it is possible again.) This fix works in most computers, but there are some old HP computers, that fail to boot when mkusb-plug has created a data partition for version 20.10 and Hirsuit Hippo.

    - dus-live: gpt_fix upgraded to match improvement necessary in mkusb-sedd.



    Unstable: You get/update this new version of mkusb from the unstable PPA via the following commands

    Code:
    sudo add-apt-repository universe     # this line only for standard Ubuntu
    
    sudo add-apt-repository ppa:mkusb/unstable
    sudo apt update
    sudo apt install mkusb           # to install
    # sudo apt full-upgrade          # upgrade to current version (with all other upgrades), only for installed systems
    
    sudo apt install mkusb guidus dus mkusb-common  # to upgrade all mkusb basic components including dus
    
    sudo apt install usb-pack-efi    # for persistent live drives that work in UEFI and BIOS mode with 32-bit iso files
    You get only the version dus (alone or with guidus) via one of the following commands (if you don't care about mkusb-11, mkusb-nox, mkusb-bas)

    Code:
    sudo apt install dus
    sudo apt install guidus
    You get only the version mkusb-plug via [the update command and] the following command,

    Code:
    sudo apt update
    sudo apt install mkusb-plug
    Alternative way to get mkusb: There are tarballs at

    - help.ubuntu.com/community/mkusb/gui/tarball with only dus and guidus (mkusb version 12),

    - help.ubuntu.com/community/mkusb/plug with only mkusb-plug.



    Stable: mkusb version 12.6.6 is in the stable PPA. The policy is to test mkusb for a long time and in several environments before it is uploaded to the stable PPA (unless there are minor tweaks or bug-fixes).

    You get/update this version via the following commands

    Code:
    sudo add-apt-repository universe      # this line only for standard Ubuntu
    
    sudo add-apt-repository ppa:mkusb/ppa
    sudo apt update
    sudo apt install mkusb            # to install
    # sudo apt full-upgrade           # upgrade to current version (with all other upgrades), only for installed systems
    
    sudo apt install usb-pack-efi     # for persistent live drives that work in UEFI and BIOS mode with 32-bit iso files
    You get only the version dus (alone or with guidus) via one of the following commands (if you don't care about mkusb-11, mkusb-nox, mkusb-bas)

    Code:
    sudo apt install dus
    sudo apt install guidus
    You get only the version mkusb-plug via [the update command and] the following command,

    Code:
    sudo apt update
    sudo apt install mkusb-plug
    Usually there is drive space enough to install all the following mkusb packages explicitly:

    Code:
    sudo apt update
    sudo apt install mkusb guidus mkusb-plug usb-pack-efi

    Please notice that if you have already installed mkusb-plug or dus/guidus from a tarball, you had better remove that version when you install via PPA. The advantage with the PPA version is that it gets updated/upgraded automatically along with other program packages that are installed from the Ubuntu repositories.
    Last edited by sudodus; 1 Week Ago at 11:16 AM. Reason: version 12.6.6; now also in stable PPA

  7. #1027

    Re: Howto make USB boot drives

    Quote Originally Posted by sudodus View Post
    I did some housecleaning of the templates in the web directory for UEFI and BIOS files,

    https://phillw.net/isos/linux-tools/uefi-n-bios/

    and created a new md5sum file for the remaining templates,
    Code:
    grub-boot-templates-for-uefi-n-bios.md5
    The following files are there now (with some 'doublets' to allow for old links to work)

    Code:
    $ls -l *templ*
    -rw-r--r-- 1 nio nio 2735732  2 jun 17.26 dd_grub-boot-template-for-uefi-n-bios_bright-bg.img.xz
    -rw-r--r-- 1 nio nio 2768936 14 aug 16.03 dd_grub-boot-template-for-uefi-n-bios_dark-bg.img.xz
    -rw-r--r-- 1 nio nio 2768416  4 jun 10.05 dd_grub-boot-template-for-uefi-n-bios.img.xz
    -rw-r--r-- 1 nio nio 2768936  2 aug 15.59 dd_grub-boot-template-for-uefi-n-bios_new.img.xz
    -rw-r--r-- 1 nio nio 3681860  8 aug 17.18 dd_grub-boot-template-for-uefi-n-bios_only-p1p2.img.xz
    -rw-rw-r-- 1 nio nio     721 19 aug 15.08 grub-boot-templates-for-uefi-n-bios.md5
    -rw-r--r-- 1 nio nio 3331492 11 aug 22.47 mkusb_grub-boot-template-for-uefi-n-bios_fat32_4GB_use-in-wins.img.xz
    -rw-r--r-- 1 nio nio 2768936 14 aug 16.03 mkusb_grub-boot-template-for-uefi-n-bios_use-in-ubuntu.img.xz
    -rw-r--r-- 1 nio nio 3681860  8 aug 17.18 mkusb_grub-boot-template-for-uefi-n-bios_use-in-wins.img.xz
    if I understand correctly,. @C.S.Cameron prefers to use the following two files,
    Code:
    mkusb_grub-boot-template-for-uefi-n-bios_fat32_4GB_use-in-wins.img.xz  # in Windows
    
    dd_grub-boot-template-for-uefi-n-bios.img.xz  # in Ubuntu
    I think that
    Code:
    mkusb_grub-boot-template-for-uefi-n-bios_use-in-ubuntu.img.xz  # in Ubuntu
    should be best in Ubuntu, because it works also with Gnome-Disks and small USB drives (>= 1 GB). But it may need some testing to check that there are no regressions for other cases.
    can i try that with vmware environment?

  8. #1028
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    Re: Howto make USB boot drives

    @dezintop,

    Yes, you are welcome to try it. I did some similar tests in VirtualBox (long ago) so I would think it will work, but I have never used vmware.

    Please let us know how it works for you

  9. #1029
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    Ubuntu 20.04 Focal Fossa

    Re: Howto make USB boot drives

    Windows installer UEFI mode

    Yesterday I was experimenting with a Windows 10 ISO on a USB msdos partition table.
    I extracted a Windows ISO to a NTFS partition on a Persistent USB made using mkusb.
    I ran "sudo update-grub" an added "ntldr /bootmgr" as a line below "chainloader +1".
    The installer ran fine in BIOS mode.
    I tried the same think on a gpt partition table but it would not run in BIOS mode.
    It did run on a UEFI mode computer.
    I tried it again after removing the Windows menuentry from grub.cfg.
    The Windows installer ISO still ran OK.
    Finally I extracted the ISO to a NTFS partition on a freshly zeroed USB drive.
    It still worked.
    I am wondering if this method is working consistently on other peoples UEFI computers?
    I believe that the same is true for a Ubuntu ISO that has been extracted to a USB drive booting in UEFI mode.

  10. #1030
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    Re: Howto make USB boot drives

    @C.S.Cameron,

    I have access to various computers for testing. In UEFI mode all of them can boot most Linux systems when extracted to a FAT32 partition. The same is true for the Windows installer, when the iso file contains files smaller than 4 GiB. We know that there is a problem when there is a file, install.wim, that exceeds that limit.

    Some computers but not all [computers that I have access to] can boot from an NTFS partition in UEFI mode. This is a good option for the Windows installer where it works. So end users should test this method in their computers.



    In mkusb I use the method to boot to a small FAT32 partition, and then let Windows transfer the boot process to a bigger NTFS partition, where all the files are extracted (including the huge install.wim). This works in all computers that I have access to, and I am rather confident that it works in the vast majority of computers.

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