Why can I not boot Ubuntu from my USB flash drive?

Suhel March 2, 2011
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I’ve tried to use a USB flash drive and load Ubuntu, but whenever I boot my PC it shows disk error.

Trust me, I’ve tried every possible solution posted over the net, but I was never able to do it successfully. Finally, I’ve came to MakeUseOf. Hope you people can help.

I’m using Windows XP SP2.

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  1. Lovestruk4gina
    October 30, 2011 at 8:29 pm

    i have a ibook and it has mac 9 i have downloaded lion on my winxp and made os disc but my mac wont read it. i have also tryed thumb drive, but my mac just reads them as file and wont run the programs, when i click on them to run the stufit program opens exstracts it and then god only knows what it does with it couse im still running mac nine. its like runing an old brothers word prossesor anyone got any thing for me

  2. Lovestruk4gina
    October 30, 2011 at 8:29 pm

    i have a ibook and it has mac 9 i have downloaded lion on my winxp and made os disc but my mac wont read it. i have also tryed thumb drive, but my mac just reads them as file and wont run the programs, when i click on them to run the stufit program opens exstracts it and then god only knows what it does with it couse im still running mac nine. its like runing an old brothers word prossesor anyone got any thing for me

    • Tina
      October 30, 2011 at 11:10 pm

      Gina,

      the above question is rather old and you are unlikely to receive a fresh reply here other than from me and sadly, I don't know the answer. I recommend asking a new question.

    • Darp4758
      February 22, 2012 at 4:50 am

      Unfortunately lion requires a dual core intel processor, the newest os x u could use is probably 10.4

  3. Rjagain62
    June 3, 2011 at 6:16 pm

    Did you copy a bootable Cd to your flashdrive.
    If so I think you need to change the "autorun.inf"
    Could be that --cdmenu part.

    [autorun]
    open=wubi.exe --cdmenu
    icon=wubi.exe,0
    label=Install Ubuntu

    [Content]
    MusicFiles=false
    PictureFiles=false
    VideoFiles=false

    • Anonymous
      June 4, 2011 at 7:34 am

      I'll try it thanks :)

  4. Pat
    March 25, 2011 at 9:14 pm

    I had trouble until I tried a program called UNetbootin. Careful, it will wipe out any data you already have on your USB flash drive.

  5. Cjpauley
    March 7, 2011 at 4:30 am

    I took the hard drive out of my laptop. put live ubuntu disik in cd drive. then plugged in an empty usb drive and booted to live disk and installed to usb drive. I then put my drive back in and on my laptop booting I tap f10 to enter boot menu and choose what drive I want to boot to. you will have to find what you need to do to enter your boot menu. This worked for me. Good luck

  6. Bo
    March 5, 2011 at 12:34 am

    It won't make any difference what version of windows you are using. It will boot of the USB stick or it won't. you should have an Ubuntu install disk. boot from that and select the usb key for the install. I suspect that your machine is too old to boot from USB key, if you are using 7 year old version of XP

    • Suhel
      March 6, 2011 at 5:27 am

      AH well that hurts lol...
      am not so much into softwares my pc I use only for internet and movies and PS... :)

  7. FIDELIS
    March 2, 2011 at 11:15 pm

    Hello, are you sure your computer can be boot up from a usb drive? The way to find out is to go into BIOS when starting computer and check the boot options. Depending on who your BIOS manufacturer is, you can use different keys to access your BIOS. It could be the delete key, f2, f1, esc, etc. The way to find out what key you need to use is by reading the motherboard manual or by paying attention when you are booting up to see what key to press to enter setup.

    Once you find what key to press and you enter BIOS, find the boot tab and see if there is any option to boot up from external usb. Are you sure you make your external usb installation bootable?

    • suhel
      March 3, 2011 at 1:42 am

      Yes. I'm sure about it and I've done all that in my BIOS

      • Mike
        March 3, 2011 at 8:28 am

        Worth to mention is that the BIOS distincts between the different types of USB devices! A BIOS capable of booting from USB-FDD (Floppy Disk Drive) or USB-CDRom doesn't necessarily mean it can boot from USB-HDD (USB Hard Drives).

        Other then that it's all about formatting the USB Drive correctly.
        To be able to boot Linux from it you usually have to format it in FAT32 and a valid bootsektor has to be written to it.

        Maybe you should test booting from it on a different System or maybe a virtual machine e.g. Qemu (www.qemu.org)

        On a different note: You should really update your Windows XP to Service Pack 3. Running at SP2 your Windows is at a security and vulnerability state from 7 years ago! ... doesn't have anything to do with your problem

        • Suhel
          March 3, 2011 at 8:40 am

          I've used FAT32, USB-HDD. don't know about boot seketor?

          is there a way of upgrading windows without losing files or without backing up? cuz all my programs are installed since long back and I don't have cd's anymore also all my files are not in a particular place they are all around my pc and this the reason am not upgrading

        • Mike
          March 3, 2011 at 9:54 am

          How did you create the Ubuntu USB Stick?
          If you used one of various tools featured here on MUO (e.g. http://www.makeuseof.com/tag/linux-live-usb-creator-easily-boot-linux-flash-drive/) then it should be setup fine.

          Maybe, try doing a normal format (no Quick Format) on the USB Drive using Windows right-click > Format and then put the bootable system on the drive.

          As for updating Windows:
          Normally, Service Pack 3 installs like any other update via Windows Update (Automatic Updates) and there shouldn't be any problem or data loss. But everyone will agree that there are enough reports proving otherwise.

          Microsoft even setup a page about installing the Service Pack
          http://support.microsoft.com/kb/950717

          Personally I never really put much thought into it - I always download the network install of Service Packs (http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/en/details.aspx?FamilyID=5b33b5a8-5e76-401f-be08-1e1555d4f3d4&displaylang=en) and click the install button.

          In your situation - tough one, without any install/recovery media for the system. It was just a suggestion... can't give you much advice there, personally I use my computers in a way were I can compromise with the fact of loosing all data stored on it at any time (although it might hurt a bit).

        • Suhel
          March 3, 2011 at 12:06 pm

          yes I've used linux live but still it didn't boot. maybe the problem is my xp and not with the usb or linux

        • Mike
          March 3, 2011 at 12:34 pm

          Well, it could be anything from a damaged Ubuntu Image/ISO, driver related or physically defect USB Port, malfunctioning LinuxLive or defect/damaged USB Drive.

          That's why I suggested to try booting on another System or Virtual Machine using the USB Drive. This will help narrowing down the problem.

        • Suhel
          March 6, 2011 at 5:28 am

          yes am into it. trying, fingers crossed :)

  8. Anonymous
    March 2, 2011 at 8:39 pm

    Have you tried on another pc, did you maked your Ubuntu usb key yourself and properly?

    Super Grub Disk is a bootable floppy, cdrom or usb that help you to deal with boot problems. You can automatically restore Grub on your MBR
    http://forjamari.linex.org/projects/supergrub/

    better way to create a customized USB drive with Ubuntu Live on it
    http://rudd-o.com/en/linux-and-free-software/a-better-way-to-create-a-customized-ubuntu-live-usb-drive

    Open the usb so that you can view all the files/folders

    You are looking for two files...
    config.isoclient and config.kde.isoclient or config.gnome.isoclient the second file depends on if you are installing kde or gnome openSUSE

    Delete config.isoclient

    Rename config.kde.isoclient or config.gnome.isoclient depending on which one you have to config.isoclient replacing the file you deleted

    Now boot from the usb device and you should get passed the error during boot.
    http://manpages.ubuntu.com/manpages/gutsy/man1/kde-config.1.html

    • Suhel
      March 3, 2011 at 12:04 pm

      I will try this on this sunday, thanks

    • Suhel
      March 6, 2011 at 5:53 am

      I don't see any config.* file in the whole pendrive...

  9. fruitgeek
    March 2, 2011 at 8:10 pm

    Have you tried a different flash drive? I haven't tried a different one yet, but I've had this problem too.

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