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Using GRUB/GRUB2 to boot to USB when the BIOS doesn't allow it


pritchard9
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I only have USB1.1 ports. It's a laptop, so a Mini PCI card would be the only way to get USB2.

I've seen all the segments about this USB multipass thing. It sounds ace. But my BIOS doesn't allow USB booting of any kind.

Would it be possible to make a grub entry that allows USB1.1 usb booting? This would mean that I could:

Choose that initial grub entry on the laptop.

That would then boot to my USB Multipass drive, on which I could then choose my desired OS or tool to boot to.

This just whizzed through my mind after thinking about updating to grub2.

Is it possible? I've tried loading boot managers to CDs, then booting to them and trying to boot to USB, but every time it fails. This would hint that this isn't possible, but linux and linux related software has proven me wrong many times before.

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I've thought about this before as it would be extremely useful on some of the old boxes I have to work on.

I found this not sure if it will work or not for what we are doing with grub. I'm sure someone out there with more linux fu than myself could figure something out though.

I'm also pretty sure that I remember seeing a bootable cd a few years ago that would allow you to boot into usb without using this particular method with grub. I was looking for a way to boot into the SD card slot on my Dell lappy at the time, which btw if anyone had any info on that I would love to know also.

Hope this helps.

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So this is definately possible, even though my BIOS doesn't support USB booting, and my ports are only USB1? Wow..

Can you describe how I would go about doing this? I'll tinker with it myself just now, see if I can get it working myself though. Doubt I'll manage though.

Do I need grub2 on my USB drive? Or on my laptop?

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Grub2 isn't necessary, and probably not the best bet yet. You can use GRUB or Grub4DOS and they should both work fine. You'll need on or the bootloaders on both your hard drive and your flash drive because you'll have to chainload from the hdd to the flash drive.

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I've installed Grub4Dos on my flash, as detailed by the shownotes on the USBMultipass ep. I then used as many variations of

title USB Grub

chainloader (hd1) +1

with no success. It's telling me that hd1 doesn't exist.

EDIT:

I've now tried adding several variations of what I expect my USB drive to appear as in /boot/grub/device.map. Still nothing. Also tried mapping hd0 to hd1 and hd1 to hd0. No success. Help?

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I've installed Grub4Dos on my flash, as detailed by the shownotes on the USBMultipass ep. I then used as many variations of

title USB Grub

chainloader (hd1) +1

with no success. It's telling me that hd1 doesn't exist.

EDIT:

I've now tried adding several variations of what I expect my USB drive to appear as in /boot/grub/device.map. Still nothing. Also tried mapping hd0 to hd1 and hd1 to hd0. No success. Help?

Your flash drive or whatever your using is probably not hd anything.

Find out by booting into ubunto live and boot up the partition editor and find the device. It'll list it.

Or in a terminal window type

sudo fdisk -L to list the devices, your usb device name will be there. Make note and add it to your device map

Note: I'm a n00b. I just seen no-one post for you in a while and I believe that should help. I may be wrong. Somebody please correct me if I am

- kgonepostl

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Thank you for posting :)

I've found out it was sdb1, which I had originally guessed :).

I then added that to my /boot/grub/device.map, like so.

(sdb1)   /dev/sdb1

In my menu.lst, I have this entry.

title USB Boot Test
chainloader (sdb1) +1

.

I'll test it just now.

EDIT

Didn't work. A big fat error 23: problem parsing number. Or something. Damn. Ideas?

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Thank you for posting :)

I've found out it was sdb1, which I had originally guessed :).

I then added that to my /boot/grub/device.map, like so.

(sdb1)   /dev/sdb1

In my menu.lst, I have this entry.

title USB Boot Test
chainloader (sdb1) +1

.

I'll test it just now.

EDIT

Didn't work. A big fat error 23: problem parsing number. Or something. Damn. Ideas?

Drives don't always show up as the same device in two different distros, let alone Grub4DOS and Ubuntu. To find out which device it could be in Grub4DOS enter the command line by pressing 'c' after you boot. Type in "root (" and then press TAB. This will show all available drives. Try chainloading different ones. I'm quite certain the drive and the "+1" command need to be one string which also might be what's giving you the error. Use "(drive)+1" instead of "(drive) +1"

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Drives don't always show up as the same device in two different distros, let alone Grub4DOS and Ubuntu. To find out which device it could be in Grub4DOS enter the command line by pressing 'c' after you boot. Type in "root (" and then press TAB. This will show all available drives. Try chainloading different ones. I'm quite certain the drive and the "+1" command need to be one string which also might be what's giving you the error. Use "(drive)+1" instead of "(drive) +1"

See, that was my mistake. In a sense grub is it's own tiny os and ubuntu it's own. The device mappings are different so you have to check in grub. Good job H@lo, thanks for clearing my mistake!

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I did the "root ("<TAB> thing. The only options I get were for a floppy disk (fd0), or hd0.

What do I add into device.map for my USB to be accessible?

I don't think device.map is going to help any since the device isn't recognized at all. http://forums.fedoraforum.org/showthread.php?t=153679

How did you boot? Was the flash drive plugged in already? Or did you boot, then plug it in? Might wanna try both scenarios.

What's the make/model of your laptop? And is the BIOS up-to-date?

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