Install Ubuntu based GNU/LINUX from USB drive in System with No BIOS Usb-boot Support

11:05 PM , 0 Comments

Are you wasting a lot of CDs/DVDs to try new Ubuntu based OSs just because your system does not have a BIOS USB - Boot Support ( Or maybe you forgot the BIOS password and then locked it down). Then there is a solution to this problem. The following method might (in most cases, will) work for you :

Ubuntu Logo

Prerequisites :

This method requires a GNU/LINUX OS to be present on your system. So I make the following assumptions about your system :
  1. You've got a GNU/LINUX OS already installed in your system
  2. You have root privieleges for your system
  3. You have an ISO image of Ubuntu or its derivatives
  4. And finally a USB drive with sufficient space
All these prerequisites may sound pretty dumb to you, but its just a reminder.

Getting Started :

I grouped the process into three stages :
  1. Finding the GRUB version (Depending on this, the next steps will vary)
  2. Preparing your GRUB for USB Boot
  3. Preparing your USB Drive

Finding the GRUB version :

This article tells you how to USB Boot your system by manipulating the GRUB 2 Entry. If its GRUB 1, then there is already an article on the web which you can follow to complete the rest of the step.
To find out your GRUB version, open up the terminal and type the following :
grub-install -v
If it reads 0.9x , then it means you are using GRUB 1. If it reads 1.9x or 2.00, then you are using GRUB 2. If the result is GRUB 1, then head out to this article on LINUXFORU : Install Linux from USB on System without BIOS Support for USB Boot
If it is GRUB 2, then continue with this article.

Preparing your GRUB for USB Boot :

  1. Mount the ISO file (or) Extract the contents of the ISO file.
  2. Now, open the terminal and enter the following :
    sudo mkdir /boot/usb-boot
    gksu nautilus
  3. Now copy the contents of 'casper' directory within the mounted iso and paste it into /boot/usb-boot/
  4. Close nautilus (File Manager)
  5. Now make a note of the volume in which your GNU/LINUX is installed. This can be done by opening the Disk Utility. You can find the Device Name like this /dev/sdXY ( In my case it is /dev/sda1. You will see "Yes, Mounted at FileSystem Root" next to "In Use" label ). You can translate it to (hdX,Y) - this will be used later. So for me, it will be (hd0,3). X=a means 0, X=b means 1 and so on...
  6. Disk Utility with Volume indicated
  7. Back in the terminal, type the following :
    sudo gedit /etc/grub.d/40_custom
  8. Append the following lines to the file :
    menuentry "My Linux Distro" {
    set root=(hdX-1,Y)  (For me, (hd0,3))
    linux /boot/usb-boot/vmlinuz file=/cdrom/preseed/ubuntu.seed boot=casper noprompt cdrom-detect/try-usb=true persistent quite splash
    (Note 'vmlinuz'can also be named as 'vmlinuz.efi', in which case, you will need to replace vmlinuz with vmlinuz.efi')
    initrd /boot/usb-boot/initrd.lz
  9. Save the file and close it. In the terminal, type the following :
    sudo update-grub(Very important)
  10. Video : Modifying GRUB - Please note that the code provided in the video is only for guidance purpose and may not actually work. Please read the post carefully for detailed instructions
  11. Now, move onto the next step of making your Live USB disk

Preparing your USB Drive

This method is the one that everyone knows. Just make your USB drive bootable with the GNU/LINUX ISO with Unetbootin ( or else with LiLi Boot / Universal USB installer from Windows )
Now you are ready to install Ubuntu or its derivates in your System from the USB drive.
Note : If your BIOS is locked and if something goes wrong at the time of installation, we are not responsible for any consequences. Make sure you have backed up important data

Now install and enjoy the latest Ubuntu or its derivatives. 

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A LINUX enthusiast and tech passionate guy. Love to watch Anime and play cricket. Got extra bit of care in myself, guess that's what people call selfishness :-P Google+