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#1 2020-12-17 14:56:17

Fuzz
New Member
Registered: 2020-12-17
Posts: 4

USB Standalone Boot

I am using Windows 10 and trying to install Lithium on USB stick that can standalone.
I have burnt Lithium onto a DVD that I can boot through the BIOS and run as a live version.
I then use the install selection to install Lithium onto a USB stick (clean with no partitions).
I choose to write the Grub boot loader to the USB stick, not affecting my Windows installation.
Everything appears to work, but when I boot the USB stick via the BIOS I get a blank screen with a blinking cursor.
I am guessing that the system does not find the GRUB boot loader and so just hangs.

Does the problem lie in my configuration? My first drive (sda) is a hard disk I use for data.
My second drive (sdb) is an SSD with Windows installed and from which I boot my PC normally.
The USB stick is listed as the third drive (sdc).
I remember when I built the system I had to remove the hard drive to ensure Windows was installed on the SSD.

What am I doing wrong?
Is the USB not a bootable drive/partition?
I have tried searching the forum without finding an answer.

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#2 2020-12-17 15:07:37

ovum
Member
Registered: 2020-04-17
Posts: 60

Re: USB Standalone Boot

maybe remove the hard drive before install?
do you have the proper boot options set on your bios?

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#3 2020-12-17 15:11:53

Fuzz
New Member
Registered: 2020-12-17
Posts: 4

Re: USB Standalone Boot

If I remove the hard drive the boot loader will be written to the SSD and I do not want to risk screwing up my Windows system.

I have tried altering various selections in the BIOS to no avail.

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#4 2020-12-17 15:16:32

rbh
Member
From: Sweden/Vasterbotten/Rusfors
Registered: 2016-08-11
Posts: 912

Re: USB Standalone Boot

I do not understand:

I then use the install selection to install Lithium onto a USB stick (clean with no partitions).
[...]
Is the USB not a bootable drive/partition?

The USB is bootable if you configure it to be. But, you wrote it has no partion, makes no sense installing to no partition. If no partions, it wont boot.

If you want to run standard Bunselab dist from removable media, i recomend you to install to external USB-connected Harddrive or an SSD in an USB-connected enclosure.

You can install to a regular us-stick, if big enough, but you must partition it. The stick if used often will wear out...

Last edited by rbh (2020-12-17 16:00:19)


// Regards rbh

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#5 2020-12-17 15:37:05

rbh
Member
From: Sweden/Vasterbotten/Rusfors
Registered: 2016-08-11
Posts: 912

Re: USB Standalone Boot

Fuzz wrote:

If I remove the hard drive the boot loader will be written to the SSD

You should not guess and determine what to do based on bad guesses! Debian installer gives you a choice where to write mbr or gpt disk labe. See screndumps
But, if you still is uncertain, lift out your ssd to.

I have tried altering various selections in the BIOS to no avail.

Bios do not give choice where debian installer writes the mbr. You can configure bios which media to boot: internal hd, DVD, usb-disk or...

Often you can give key-sequence to temporarily boot another media.
On Lenovi, it is F12, on Asus, it is F8. You get a list of bootable devices and can pick the one you want to boot.

Last edited by rbh (2020-12-17 15:40:21)


// Regards rbh

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#6 2020-12-17 18:02:27

rbh
Member
From: Sweden/Vasterbotten/Rusfors
Registered: 2016-08-11
Posts: 912

Re: USB Standalone Boot

If you have large enough hardrive, you can shrink the last partition, create a new one and install BL, write mbr to the harddrive.
When pc boots, choose to bot from harddrive.
Your pc manual, have info about keys to use to get boot-list.


// Regards rbh

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#7 2020-12-17 18:14:52

Fuzz
New Member
Registered: 2020-12-17
Posts: 4

Re: USB Standalone Boot

Thanks for the advice.
I have ordered an external USB drive from Amazon.
I am guessing my key mistake was deleting all partitions on the USB stick.
After going through the whole procedure starting with a USB stick with no partitions I found the stick had a 51.8 GB ext4 primary partition followed by a Linux Swap 7.8 GB logical partition.
I then went through the whole install again writing the Grub boot loader to the USB stick.
Unfortunately booting the USB stick via the BIOS gave me the same blank screen with the blinking cursor.

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#8 2020-12-17 18:44:59

rbh
Member
From: Sweden/Vasterbotten/Rusfors
Registered: 2016-08-11
Posts: 912

Re: USB Standalone Boot

Fuzz wrote:

followed by a Linux Swap 7.8 GB logical partition.

Rmember, never use swap on usb-stick, it will wear out very fast (to disable, comment out entry for swap in /etc/fstab). Better, during install, do not set swap.

I then went through the whole install again writing the Grub boot loader to the USB stick.
Unfortunately booting the USB stick via the BIOS gave me the same blank screen with the blinking cursor.

Maybe you shall check your hardware and it's linux compability.

Last edited by rbh (2020-12-17 19:48:32)


// Regards rbh

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#9 2021-01-04 16:25:20

Fuzz
New Member
Registered: 2020-12-17
Posts: 4

Re: USB Standalone Boot

Just to complete the thread.
I made it work by:
1. removing all the drives,
2. plugging in a USB drive,
3. booting from the Lithium CD,
4. going through a text install to the only writeable drive in the system,
5. reinstalling the original drives and
6. booting the USB drive through the BIOS.
Thanks for the help :-)

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