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Boot From USB Device



June 6th, 2009 17:26 pm | by Ed |

Not long ago I wrote about creating a Linux boot disk on a USB flash drive and went through the procedure myself with a cheap flash drive I had handy. I found that while my desktop computer did recognize it as a bootable device, the boot process would only get just so far and stop with an error complaining that it couldn't find the Linux kernel.

kingston data traveler 100Since then I've found out that not all flash drives are created equal. For no apparent reason some can be made into successful working boot disks and others cannot. Apparently the two that I've got both fall into the latter category.

This sent me first to the search engines to find out more and then to the sale pages to try to get another one that would work in this capacity. I found out that a lot of these devices, even when they're the same make and model can have varying success as boot devices. Exactly why this is true isn't clear to me at all.

Based on some input from users, some makes have a better record as boot devices than others and it should have been no surprise that the Kingston DataTraveler apparently has a higher success rate as a boot drive than a lot of other makes.

This shouldn't have surprised me. Kingston has been an authority in computer memory devices pretty much from their start and since one of the drives I have is a Sandisk Cruiser 1gb and the other is a generic no-name 8gb, I shouldn't expect Kingston performance out of them. So what I need to do is get myself a quality kingston unit (or three) and give it another go with that.

Then all I need to do is find a way to convince the laptop (an HP Compaq F500) to boot from the flash drive (which it CAN and has done in the past) without hanging becasue it's main hard drive is dead. Seems to me that if the hdd is dead and there's a bootable CD or USB device that it SHOULD go ahead and boot. Unfortunately this machine has other ideas. No matter what I try to boot from these days, it only gets so far and then hangs trying to access the dead primary hdd.

I know many will simply state the obvious and say "well, just replace the hdd then" and I'd do that if I could afford to. As it is, it's gonna have to wait, right now flash drives are a lot more affordable.

Technorati Tags: linux boot, flash drive, bootable flash drive, boot from USB, laptop hard drive, dead hard drive

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