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Author Topic: Can't boot Ubuntu LiveCD image from USB, but USB is first in boot order  (Read 4589 times)

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wockrassa

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Short version: USB has a LiveCD Ubuntu image on it, and is selected in the BIOS to be first to load, but it is apparently impossible to boot from the USB. Chameleon 2.0-rc4 r.

Longer version...

I've been Googling this one for several days now, and have trawled the Ubuntu help forums as well. Searching here didn't seem to offer the information I needed either.

I've got an Acer Aspire One with an 8 GB SSD. I managed to put Snow Lion on it, after which I learned that there's no support for the Atheros WiFi. I need the WiFi more than I need OSX (I've got a few iOS devices, as well as Mac desktop systems), so decided to (re)install Ubuntu on the Acer.

This is where I've got into trouble. I cannot for the life of me get the thing to load any operating system from my USB sticks, and they are bootable. There's a grub loader in the /boot directory on one (Ubuntu LiveCD), and the other is a bootable FreeDOS image.

My suspicion is that Chameleon is overriding the settings I've entered - the Acer BIOS is set to seek bootable systems off the USB first - preventing me from getting anything to load except OSX.

When I've got a USB stick in the machine, all I get is the black screen with a blinking cursor, as described by others in other threads here.

When the USB stick is not inserted, I get the Chameleon loader screen, and can boot to OSX, but no other devices or OS's are found, even after I've inserted the LiveCD image stick.

Going into single user mode in Chameleon lets me use fdisk and attempt to flag the USB stick (/dev/rdisk1) as active - but Chameleon still loads the SSD when I reboot. And in single user mode, the SSD appears to be mounted as read-only, so I can't seem to write anything to its partition tables at all.

I suppose I need to either somehow install grub to the boot partition of the SSD, or somehow get Chameleon to treat the USB stick as bootable.

1. Is there a way to delete Chameleon from within OSX, and replace it with grub; or

2. Is there a way to bypass Chameleon utterly at boot and allow my system to boot from its USB stick? (Whereupon I plan to reformat the drive, complete with MBR, and install Ubuntu.)

Or am I on the wrong track entirely?

Thanks for any suggestions.

derda

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why not GRUB?

r0m30

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Moving to the blackhole because this isn't a chameleon issue.

I cannot for the life of me get the thing to load any operating system from my USB sticks
If you can't get it to boot any OS from USB then you have a BIOS problem not a Chameleon problem.

My suspicion is that Chameleon is overriding the settings I've entered -

Chameleon doesn't get control until the BIOS has selected the boot drive so it can not override your bios selection.


Or am I on the wrong track entirely?

Sorry but I think so.  Suggestions:

Is there a key you can hit during boot to bring up a device selection list and select the USB from that?
This has instructions on how to enable the boot menu but it may be different fot the specific model you have.

Most BIOS boot selection settings are an ORDER to look for a bootable OS, if it fails to find a bootable device on the first selection it will go to the next.  Have you verified that the USB stick is bootable on another machine?
--- r0m30 ---
HP Mini 1033CL (Costco) OSX Retail 10.6 Chameleon-2.0-RC3-r658
HP m9077c -  ASUS IPIBL-LA MoBo with Core 2 Quad Q6600
    Retail 10.6.2 Chameleon-2.0-RC4-r684

wockrassa

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Hi! Thanks for the response. I have in fact verified that the USB stick boots on another machine, and I have in fact set the boot order in the system BIOS to put the USB at the top, and I have in fact hit f12 and specified the USB by hand. Nevertheless, the machine will not boot from anything but its SSD.

What's particularly odd about this is that it (obviously) worked fine in the past; I was able to replace WinXP with Ubuntu, and Ubuntu with OSX, and all via USB sticks. That it would start malfunctioning now seems like a heck of a coincidence.

I'm not convinced that this isn't a Chameleon issue. The USB sticks read fine under OSX - so why wouldn't Chameleon see there's a bootable Linux (with a /boot/grub as well) with the USB stick in it? Why, IOW, am I given the choice of OSX from Chameleon's boot menu, but not what's on the USB stick, when the sticks and USB readers give all other indication of working properly?

This is a puzzler. Anyway, thanks again for your reply.

r0m30

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Your original post said that Chameleon was forcing your machine to boot the internal ssd only, that is different than a question about why doesn't Chameleon show my [insert your OS here] on it's boot menu. 

Worked fine in the past, why doesn't it work now?  The only other thing I can think of is possibly the legacy USB setting in your BIOS (if it has one).  There are issues with OSX an PC BIOS USB support and you may have hat to change the setting to get OSX to work but it may have had an adverse effect on booting from USB devices.

--- r0m30 ---
HP Mini 1033CL (Costco) OSX Retail 10.6 Chameleon-2.0-RC3-r658
HP m9077c -  ASUS IPIBL-LA MoBo with Core 2 Quad Q6600
    Retail 10.6.2 Chameleon-2.0-RC4-r684

wockrassa

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I apologize for not having been clear about previous steps taken to correct this problem. What I believe I wrote is that I suspected Chameleon is interfering with my boot process.

I also didn't go over some of my troubleshooting procedures, such as getting into the BIOS menu and telling the system to check its USB first. I didn't mention that because (to me at least) those would be obvious first steps in fixing the problem.

I do not recall changing the BIOS to get OSX to load; however, before posting my initial question here yesterday, I did retrieve and run a BIOS flasher from Acer that reset the BIOS to its defaults (a "just in case" move). This has not changed the behavior, unfortunately. That would tend to rule out BIOS problems, I think.

Essentially, it's as though there is no recognizable OS of any kind on the USB sticks, regardless of which USB port they're plugged into (the machine has 3). This despite the fact that after OSX has booted on the machine, the USB drive is readable, and before the machine boots, I can select the USB stick from the boot disk menu.

That would tend to rule out a fault in the USB bus or the ability of the BIOS to recognize the stick.

I'm using two different brands of USB stick - one is (sigh) a SandDisk Cruzer, but I eliminated the extra software and disk image from it long ago. That USB stick is the one that originally had Ubuntu netbook remix 9.10 on it, which I used to do the original install of Ubuntu over XP. Later I used it to install Snow Leopard. As I've been able to boot from that stick twice before with two different OSes on the same netbook, I don't believe it's a problem with the USB stick's hardware.

The other USB stick I'm using is a generic 2 GB - generic enough that it doesn't show a brand name. Fortunately, it doesn't have any of the "extras" found on a SanDisk model. It, also, will not show up as bootable media. Needless to say, both sticks were formatted with bootable disk images that read perfectly well on a booted functioning operating system.

Again, this suggests to me that it's not a problem with the USB sticks.

Pressing f10 for Chameleon doesn't appear to execute a rescan of bootable media; or, if it does, the USB stick doesn't appear, which amounts to the same thing. The Ubuntu LiveCD image on the USB stick is 11.04, and it does have a /boot/grub directory on it, which - unless my understanding is incorrect - should make the USB stick visible, as a bootable device, to Chameleon.

Every indication I can see points to Chameleon being the problem here. It is the only variable in the entire equation that wasn't present before I installed OSX, and which is now present with my current situation wherein I cannot boot anything except OSX.

Thus, suggestions would be welcome.

I'd also appreciate it if you'd consider moving this thread back out of the black hole, as I believe this genuinely is a Chameleon issue. A primary reason I believe this to be so is that I have, to the best of my knowledge, quite literally exhausted every other possible cause.
« Last Edit: May 14, 2011, 02:04:35 AM by wockrassa »

Gringo Vermelho

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I don't understand, but it's a very interesting issue for sure.

Shouldn't "bootable media" boot on its own, without Chameleon?
AFAIK if your BIOS can't see the flash drives, neither can Chameleon.
I don't understand how it would be possible for Chameleon to have any bearing on your BIOS' ability to boot from USB when it's not even running.

Try using the "HP USB storage formatting tool" (Windows only) to make one of the flash drives a bootable DOS disk.
Does that work?
10.9.5 - ASUS P8Z77-V Pro - i5 3570K - GTX 660 - Chameleon 2.3 svn-r2xxx
How to...
Install Chameleon: http://forum.voodooprojects.org/index.php/topic,649
Make your own Chameleon boot CD: http://forum.voodooprojects.org/index.php/topic,484.msg2131.html#msg2131