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Thread: How do I make my USB stick bootable?

  1. #1

    Default How do I make my USB stick bootable?

    Hi folks. I have a machine with no Optical drive, but it does have an internet connection. So i figured the obvious thing to do would be to use the netinstall image from a USB stick. I don't have a suitable USB stick just yet. I've just ordered it from amazon, but I thought I'd have a look at making the USB stick bootable in the mean time. I plugged in a tiny little 128 MB stick and started to look for something in YaST that would let me format it to make it bootable, but I couldn't find anything. Am I looking in the wrong place or looking for the wrong thing or something? I'm thinking I just need to format the stick, set a bootable flag on it, then just chuck the netinst image on it and away I go. Have I got that right?

    The net install image download section has a link to what it says is instructions on how to boot from a USB stick, but when I checked it, it just seemed to discuss making live images instead of making a stick bootable so that it can install from the internet. Can someone clarify what I need to do please?

  2. #2
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    Default Re: How do I make my USB stick bootable?

    To be bootable you have to have a operating system installed. So It is unclear what you want to do.

    Use the instruction in how to make a live USB. You can install from that. Basically you do a binary copy of an ISO to the device (not a partition but the device)

  3. #3
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    Default Re: How do I make my USB stick bootable?

    Quote Originally Posted by Stephen_Philbin View Post
    The net install image download section has a link to what it says is instructions on how to boot from a USB stick, but when I checked it, it just seemed to discuss making live images instead of making a stick bootable so that it can install from the internet. Can someone clarify what I need to do please?
    As I recall, there are also instructions for the install DVD and the net image. The same instructions should work for both.

    I just use:
    Code:
    # dd_rescue /path/to/iso/file  /dev/sdX
    where "/dev/sdX" (for suitable X) is the device for your USB. You may have to install "dd_rescue". Or just use "dd" or use "imagewriter".

    Those methods should already make the USB bootable, because the "iso" file is structured to be bootable.

    Beyond that, you do need BIOS support for booting from a USB. If your BIOS does not support it, you can try using PLOP boot manager (google for it). That works for me in the one computer I have that is too old to have BIOS support for booting a USB.
    openSUSE Leap 15.3; KDE Plasma 5.18.6;

  4. #4
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    Default Re: How do I make my USB stick bootable?

    On 2014-04-29 02:06, Stephen Philbin wrote:
    >
    > Hi folks. I have a machine with no Optical drive, but it does have an
    > internet connection. So i figured the obvious thing to do would be to
    > use the netinstall image from a USB stick. I don't have a suitable USB
    > stick just yet. I've just ordered it from amazon, but I thought I'd have
    > a look at making the USB stick bootable in the mean time. I plugged in a
    > tiny little 128 MB stick and started to look for something in YaST that
    > would let me format it to make it bootable, but I couldn't find
    > anything. Am I looking in the wrong place or looking for the wrong
    > thing or something? I'm thinking I just need to format the stick, set a
    > bootable flag on it, then just chuck the netinst image on it and away I
    > go. Have I got that right?


    No :-)

    > The net install image download section has a link to what it says is
    > instructions on how to boot from a USB stick, but when I checked it, it
    > just seemed to discuss making live images instead of making a stick
    > bootable so that it can install from the internet. Can someone clarify
    > what I need to do please?


    You simply misunderstand :-)

    The instructions do not say how to make it bootable, because if you just
    "do them", the stick IS bootable!

    On other Linux distros you have to do special things to make the stick
    bootable. Not with openSUSE: the images are already prepared to just
    copy to the stick and boot.

    Well, copy with a special tool for raw copy, not to copy a file with
    "explorer".



    In Linux, to create the stick, a simple:

    Code:
    cp /path/to/iso/file  /dev/sdX
    works, provided that "/dev/sdX" is your USB stick. If it is your hard
    disk, you nuke it, so be careful what letters you write.

    --
    Cheers / Saludos,

    Carlos E. R.

    (from 13.1 x86_64 "Bottle" (Minas Tirith))

  5. #5

    Default Re: How do I make my USB stick bootable?

    Thanks for the help guys. That clears things up a lot. I'll have a practice run with trying to put memtest on my tiny USB stick. By the way. Is there a command that lists things like HDDs and USB sticks that gives a bit of info about each one? I tried
    Code:
    ls /dev/
    but that's not really appropriate. It lists many more devices than I want to see and no doesn't give any information like total/free space, its label or anything like that that I'd normally use to differentiate them. For example, when I plug in my little USB stick and view it from Dolphin, it is said to be
    Code:
    /var/run/media/stephen/3145-3352/
    rather than something like
    Code:
    /dev/sd0
    . I know there are other places I could look, but is there a single command, or set of commands, that I could use on the CLI where it doesn't matter about the desktop environment (or even if there is one) to find this information?

    Many thanks folks.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: How do I make my USB stick bootable?

    Quote Originally Posted by Stephen_Philbin View Post
    By the way. Is there a command that lists things like HDDs and USB sticks that gives a bit of info about each one? I tried
    Code:
    ls /dev/
    but that's not really appropriate.
    I use
    Code:
    ls -ltr /dev/sd?
    Usually the one with the newest date (the last line of output) is the USB that I have just plugged in.

    For free space you will have to mount the USB, and then use the "df" command to show usage.

    The command (as root)
    Code:
    # fdisk -l
    gives the partitioning and disk capacity information for all disks. The last few lines of "/var/messages/log" will usually report what you have just plugged in.
    openSUSE Leap 15.3; KDE Plasma 5.18.6;

  7. #7
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    Default Re: How do I make my USB stick bootable?

    For basic information about what we are talking about: http://en.opensuse.org/SDB%3ABasics_...,_mount_points

    To see what mass storage devices are connected to your system and what partitions they have:
    Code:
    su - -c 'fdisk -l'
    To see what devices are mounted where in the directory tree:
    Code:
    mount
    To see how large your file systems are and how much of them is in use/free:
    Code:
    df -h
    Henk van Velden

  8. #8
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    Default Re: How do I make my USB stick bootable?

    On 2014-04-29 12:26, Stephen Philbin wrote:
    >
    > Thanks for the help guys. That clears things up a lot. I'll have a
    > practice run with trying to put memtest on my tiny USB stick. By the
    > way. Is there a command that lists things like HDDs and USB sticks that
    > gives a bit of info about each one? I tried
    > Code:
    > --------------------
    > ls /dev/
    > --------------------
    > but that's not really appropriate. It lists many more devices than I
    > want to see and no doesn't give any information like total/free space,
    > its label or anything like that that I'd normally use to differentiate
    > them.


    There is "lsblk", for instance. My pet concoction is:

    Code:
    
    > lsblk --output NAME,KNAME,SIZE,TYPE,MOUNTPOINT,LABEL,UUID,PARTLABEL,PARTUUID
    With "--help" you get the list of available columns.

    > For example, when I plug in my little USB stick and view it from
    > Dolphin, it is said to be
    > Code:
    > --------------------
    > /var/run/media/stephen/3145-3352/
    > --------------------
    > rather than something like
    > Code:
    > --------------------
    > /dev/sd0
    > --------------------


    Well, '/dev/sd0' is the device and '/var/run/media/stephen/3145-3352/'
    is the mount point, where the device is mounted. To write files you
    access the later. To do things like formatting, or cloning an image,
    like for creating the installation stick, you access the device instead.

    Have a look at the command "hwinfo" too.

    --
    Cheers / Saludos,

    Carlos E. R.

    (from 13.1 x86_64 "Bottle" (Minas Tirith))

  9. #9

    Default Re: How do I make my USB stick bootable?

    Thanks again folks. I tried copying memtest to my little stick to try it out, but it didn't work. I set the boot device priority to removable device first and everything else disabled just to be certain, but the PC I tried it on just said to insert bootable media. The site says that it's a bootable ISO image, and I copied it to my USB stick with
    Code:
    su - -c 'cp /home/stephen/Downloads/memtest86+-5.01.iso /dev/sdh'
    I dunno why the pc I tried usin it in says to insert bootable media. Hopefully the OpenSUSE installer will work more smoothly on the stick I ordered from Amazon.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: How do I make my USB stick bootable?

    I doubt that cp is the correct tool to do this. I would say that
    Code:
    dd if =the-file.iso of=/dev/sdX should do it.
    Any comments about that?
    Henk van Velden

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