Bootable openSUSE installer on USB pendrive with FAT32 partition

I want the openSUSE installer to boot from my USB pendrive, but I’d also like to use the remaining space to store files on a FAT32 system. Is this possible? I’ve tried several things that were listed here:
SDB:Live USB stick - openSUSE

When I use SUSE Studio Image Writer, the entire pendrive is formatted and a new partition table is created. This works, but then I no longer have a FAT32 filesystem.

I also tried creating a FAT32 partition for my files and a ext4 partition for the openSUSE installer, then using dd_rescue to write the ISO to the ext4 partition. But then I can’t boot from USB.

What am I doing wrong?

Hello there

Not sure about having it on a FAT32 format (and if it would actually work) but for the second question (having 2 partitions on the stick and booting from one), my guess would be that you need to make the ext4 partition bootable.

See the example here. Just select the partition with opensuse on it.


I think you can also do that with gparted instead of fdisk.

I made /dev/sdb1 bootable:

Disk /dev/sdb: 8120 MB, 8120172544 bytes
250 heads, 62 sectors/track, 1023 cylinders
Units = cylinders of 15500 * 512 = 7936000 bytes
Sector size (logical/physical): 512 bytes / 512 bytes
I/O size (minimum/optimal): 512 bytes / 512 bytes
Disk identifier: 0x0006c894

   Device Boot      Start         End      Blocks   Id  System
/dev/sdb1   *           1         677     5243904   83  Linux
Partition 1 does not end on cylinder boundary.
/dev/sdb2             677        1024     2684928    c  W95 FAT32 (LBA)
Partition 2 does not end on cylinder boundary.

When I boot my PC from my USB pendrive, the bootloader doesn’t show and instead I’m presented with the GRUB bootloader on my hard drive. Is there a way to see if /dev/sdb1 was made bootable correctly?

Have you set the BIOS to boot USB first?

… and another question: did you check the md5 checksum of the image before transferring it to the usb stick?

I couldn’t get a USB made with imagewriter to boot either but using “unetbootin” on the same stick booted first try. You might give that a try.

Even better: I can press F9 at boot to choose from which medium I’d like to boot.

No, I didn’t, but the image boots fine when I mount it in a VirtualBox machine. I don’t know where I can find the MD5 checksum for openSUSE’s install media.

I have tried unetbootin in the past, but with a FAT32 partition. I’ll retry with ext4 later today.

The md5 checksum can be found on Download openSUSE 11.3
Select the version you downloaded (e.g. Live KDE) and select your computers architecture (32 bit or 64 bit). Then scroll down and you will see “Verify your download” and click the md5 checksum link. Verify that against the iso you downloaded.

I can’t believe I missed that. It didn’t occur to me that I could scroll down for the md5. :shame:

Anyhow, my checksum matches that on the site.

adf5d2a0a03c1e3aaf102fd6a4771b87  /windows/C/Users/Pieter/Downloads/openSUSE-11.3-DVD-x86_64.iso/openSUSE-11.3-DVD-x86_64.iso

I’ll give unetbootin another try later today.

You could also try the pendrivelinux tools but those will want FAT32 I think.

A tutorial to install from KDE live CD is available there also: How to Install SUSE to a USB Flash Drive | USB Pen Drive Linux but that require you to unplug all HDD’s and to use a script from them.


I am wondering if making/changing a/the second partition (after the live-image partition) of/to FAT 32 may be a way to achieve what is wanted (goal: a usb-drive both to start a openSUSE live system from and a place to save and access data not only from Linux based but also form Microsoft systems).

With fdisk?
Compare: Start openSUSE 11.3 from external USB drive? (post #25)

Just a thought (not jet tested…) .


I tried creating a bootable USB pendrive with unetbootin v0.0.433-1.2. Since it only works with FAT32 file systems, I had to do some reformatting. When I tried booting from the pendrive, I saw an error stating “Could not find kernel image: gfxboot”. What do I do?

I don’t need an installed system on my pendrive that stores my data and settings. I just want to use it as an install disk.