Having problems creating USB installation mediums

Help with issues regarding installation of Debian

Having problems creating USB installation mediums

Postby qyron » 2020-04-20 22:33

I spent my entire day trying to figure what I am doing wrong and at this point I'm done.

While trying to rescue my main system I somehow managed to make things even worst and wanting to rescue at least a few files I have in the disk I decided to create a live medium, using the Windows I have in dual boot. I have used Windows to create USB installation mediums before, so I wasn't expecting the sort of complications I've met.

Usually I use Rufus. I grab a netinst, burn it and run i, as I l'm not aiming to rescue files. This time I opted to grab a bunch of live CD's, from Debian and a few Ubuntu flavours, just in case. The recording of the image I first picked went without a problem but when trying to run it, the system failed to recognize the medium as valid. I formatted it, by hand, picked a different ISO, repeated the process, and came to the same result.

I tried different programs: MultiBoot, YUMI, some other program that has a thumb drive stylized as a rocket for a thumbnail/icon... all ran flawless and every single time I tried booting the images the system failed to recognize it has a valid medium. At this point I considered I might have a faulty pen drive. After switching thumb drives, downloading fresh images and going through the same process I kept getting the same result: mediums are not valid. At this point I fetched a different machine. Maybe my fumbling went deeper. On a stable system, running a basically vanilla Bunsen Labs Hydrogen, installed from an USB, the images keep failling to be recognized.

In a last effort, I fetched an image of MultiSystem, yet another method that returned good results in the past. It works best with Ubuntu, so after fetching a new set of images, I moved to my entertainement system, where the only disc drive is, burned an image to a disc, booted the machine from it, installed a thumb drive with MultiSystem and a few more images, flawlessly, and tested it, successfully. The thumb drive loads, all loaded images are available and I even tried a live image of Xubuntu.

Happy and relieved, I went back to my main system and the thumb drive is not recognized. As well as on the Hydrogen machine.

Please, somebody share some ideas on this.

Thanks.
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Re: Having problems creating USB installation mediums

Postby Head_on_a_Stick » 2020-04-21 09:18

https://www.debian.org/releases/buster/ ... 03.en.html

tl;dr:
Code: Select all
# cp debian.iso /dev/sdX ; sync

EDIT: BunsenLabs is not supported here, please ask on their forums if there are any further problems.
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Re: Having problems creating USB installation mediums

Postby qyron » 2020-04-21 17:22

To prepare the USB stick, you will need a system where GNU/Linux is already running and where USB is supported.


Are we gate keeping GNU/Linux, nowadays?

I'll try this method. At this point, I have nothing to lose, considering the attempts I've already made. But what if I had no way to follow that tutorial, by not having access to an already running GNU/Linux system? Considering the Debian main download page does not alert to this, it is fair to assume that any image of Debian (or any other distro, by extension), put to an USB drive by any method available to an average user (like one of those I've already used, found through a quick Google search) should work as a valid installation medium when, as I've reported with great detail, do not.

Considering I'm not being able to set up bootable thumb drives, at face value, I can consider several scenarios:

a) all my images are corrupted
--> I've downloaded several images, of several different distros, several times, at different hours; just by playing the odds, I should at least get one working image.

b) the USB drives I'm using are faulty or badly
--> Both drives work correctly on an already running system, were tested on three different machines, report no bad sectors when tested, were formatted several times and set up, both manually and through the several applications I've experimented with.

c) the USB ports on the computers are faulty
--> One computer has six ports and another has three, one is a desktop, the other a laptop. All work and read the USB sticks, one running Linux, the other running Windows. Both have been previously installed using USB sticks.

d) all the methods/programs I'm trying are failing
--> one thumb drive set up using one of the methods ran on a computer. Then failed to boot on two others. It is possible but, again, just by playing the law of averages I should get at least one success, on all machines.

At this point, I don't know what else to do. It makes no sense. Luckily I still have a DVD drive; considering I was able to boot an image from a disc, that may be my last resort to accessing, salvaging and reinstalling my main machine. But if I can't set up images on USB sticks, I have no Idea how I'll be able to install laptops in the future.
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Re: Having problems creating USB installation mediums

Postby Head_on_a_Stick » 2020-04-21 18:18

qyron wrote:
To prepare the USB stick, you will need a system where GNU/Linux is already running and where USB is supported.


Are we gate keeping GNU/Linux, nowadays?

Are we not reading through the entire guide nowadays?
Official Debian buster installation guide wrote:Information about how to do this on other operating systems can be found in the Debian CD FAQ.

^ That's literally the next line after the cp command I posted above.
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Re: Having problems creating USB installation mediums

Postby cuckooflew » 2020-04-21 21:09

Firstm since the OP does not even say thank you, I will,..Thank you Head_on_a_Stick , for trying to help this person,you are doing a great job !
qyron >> But what if I had no way to follow that tutorial, by not having access to an already running GNU/Linux system?

One reason I can not help you is your posts ramble way to much, and it is difficult to understand exactly what is the problem you are having, it appears you can not read the tutorials, etc. Or ??? Then I noticed the "What if", part, if you have internet access, you can read/print/follow the tutorial, you can do that even with ms malware/windows,..but to print it you would need a working printer, once you have it printed, you can follow it step by step, no need for being connected or on line,...
Head_on_a_Stick »Are we not reading through the entire guide nowadays?
I am wondering the same, or if there is some other real handicap involved, by real, I mean a actual factor that prevents you from using the tutorial, not a childish "what if " situation,...with that said, I would be willing to simply make a usb stick for you, and mail it to you, but I still could not guarantee it would work on your hardware,... but I think if you actually read all of the tutorial you should be able to figure it out, you claim to be a "average usr", I assume you mean average linux user, ...me, I am way below average, with some severe learning disabilities, (handicaps), combined with very poor eye site, any way, I am slow, it took me a few days of really reading it, and trying what it said, eventually I did get a usb installation device , that works on my hardware, it took a few tries though, so any way I am sure you will figure it out, hope so anyway.
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Re: Having problems creating USB installation mediums

Postby cuckooflew » 2020-04-21 21:18

by qyron » But if I can't set up images on USB sticks, I have no Idea how I'll be able to install laptops in the future

Is that the problem ? Before I figured out how to put a working install image on a USB stick, what I did is I used a portable USB optical drive, and install from a CD, actually that is what I still do because it is much more reliable, and easy. The portable USB optical drive was not very expensive and I have been using it for several years now, so any way, if that is the problem , it would be worth the cost and effort to get one. Try using some imagination and logic, it does wonders,... :mrgreen:
Last edited by cuckooflew on 2020-04-22 01:25, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Having problems creating USB installation mediums

Postby NFT5 » 2020-04-22 00:33

qyron wrote:Please, somebody share some ideas on this.


I feel for you. Even following the set procedures to the letter I've had mixed success with "cp" and "dd", although the latter is maybe slightly more successful transferring an image to a USB. Most of the time I just gave up and wrote to a CD or DVD and, fortunately, the machines I wanted to do the installation on had optical drives. I've never been able to work out why this is a problem, but if I do it on a different machine, e.g. a notebook, it seems to work perfectly. So, I believe that the issue is somehow hardware related and has something to do with how the partition table is created.

Then I came across balenaEtcher, recommended in a thread here. Installed the AppImage in /opt and it works flawlessly, every time. For me, problem solved.
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Re: Having problems creating USB installation mediums

Postby Head_on_a_Stick » 2020-04-22 10:54

NFT5 wrote:I've had mixed success with "cp" and "dd"

Really? They both use the same syscalls and so should be exactly equivalent (block size notwithstanding) :?

Did you always flush the buffers after calling the command?
Code: Select all
sync

^ That is absolutely critical, if it isn't called and you remove the stick before the buffers are copied then the image will be incomplete.

I imagine those crappy GUIs do this for you. Along with all the extra bugs and vulnerabilities their huge superfluous codebase adds... :mrgreen:
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Re: Having problems creating USB installation mediums

Postby NFT5 » 2020-04-22 20:18

Head_on_a_Stick wrote:Really?


Really. I use:
Code: Select all
dd if=<file> of=<device> bs=4M; sync


As I said, fails on both my desktops, which have the same motherboard and similar CPUs, but works on any of the notebooks. Hence my suspicion that there may be some hardware related issue. Anyway, my problem is off topic here.

Head_on_a_Stick wrote:I imagine those crappy GUIs do this for you. Along with all the extra bugs and vulnerabilities their huge superfluous codebase adds... :mrgreen:


Yeah, I know how much you love GUIs. :D Regardless, some do work and my experience is that balenaEtcher is one of those. Like most of Linux, there are multiple ways to skin the proverbial cat. The suggestion may solve OP's problem, too.
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