Bootable USB with BIOS support

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Bootable USB with BIOS support

Postby eyeprotocol » 2018-01-06 22:09

Hello all.

I am running Debian on a Mac mini. Whenever i need to clean-install it, i am doing so by creating a bootable USB stick. The Mac, has its own boot manager, which works as follows: while the machine starts-up, one needs to hold the ALT key pressed-down, until icons representing any found bootable partitions appear on the screen. At this point, one selects the partition he/she wishes to boot and all is well.

A bootable USB stick containing the Debian installer, also appears and is selectable as above. However, if this stick is created with the Debian suggested method (using cp or dd) the icon that appears only allows booting for the stick in EFI mode. If the iso is "burned" on the stick with the Windows utility "Rufus", one has the choice of selecting EFI boot OR BIOS boot (note: partitions that may be booted in BIOS mode, appear labeled as "Windows" partitions on the Mac boot manager).

I am annoyed, having to use a Windows utility in order to properly create this USB stick for my needs, let alone that a Windows machine is not always available to me. How would one have both boot options available, on the same USB stick without resorting to anything except standard Linux utilities?

Please assist, if possible.

Panos
eyeprotocol
 
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Re: Bootable USB with BIOS support

Postby pcalvert » 2018-01-07 14:01

You could mount the ISO file, copy the files to the USB stick (I'd use rsync), and then manually install SYSLINUX. That's basically what I did to create a portable Debian system using a USB flash drive and a Debian Live DVD ISO file. I do not like the method of using dd to write the ISO file onto the USB stick, and have never used it.

Phil
“Property is the fruit of labor; property is desirable; it is a positive good
in the world. That some should be rich shows that others may become
rich, and hence is just encouragement to industry and enterprise.”
— Abraham Lincoln
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Re: Bootable USB with BIOS support

Postby eyeprotocol » 2018-01-07 14:19

This sounds good. Could you please point me to a good tutorial on installing SYSLINUX, i mean, one that you know it to be proper.
Thank you.
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Re: Bootable USB with BIOS support

Postby p.H » 2018-01-07 15:29

eyeprotocol wrote:However, if this stick is created with the Debian suggested method (using cp or dd) the icon that appears only allows booting for the stick in EFI mode.

What's wrong with booting in EFI mode ?
pcalvert wrote:I do not like the method of using dd to write the ISO file onto the USB stick

Why ?
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Re: Bootable USB with BIOS support

Postby eyeprotocol » 2018-01-07 15:39

p.H wrote:What's wrong with booting in EFI mode ?


As far as using Linux (and Debian in particular) with Macs, i have unwillingly become something of a world expert :D - for example, booting in UEFI mode restricts the resolution of the HDMI output to 1920x1080, while my monitors are rather larger than this (don't ask me to explain this, i can not).

Also, the Mac boot manager is not detecting a Linux installation on the internal drive(s), if UEFI is used, despite the fact that it actually boots the system.

As for normal PCs, there is nothing wrong with booting with UEFI, however - as i said - i find it silly to have to resort to a Windows-only app in order to create a proper bootable USB stick.

Regards
eyeprotocol
 
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Re: Bootable USB with BIOS support

Postby pcalvert » 2018-01-08 14:57

p.H wrote:
pcalvert wrote:I do not like the method of using dd to write the ISO file onto the USB stick

Why ?

Because it destroys the original partition table and all the data on the drive. But if you have a USB stick that you use for only this purpose, then it really doesn't matter. I like to use my USB flash drives for multiple purposes, and I like to set up at least one drive so it can boot multiple live systems.

Phil
“Property is the fruit of labor; property is desirable; it is a positive good
in the world. That some should be rich shows that others may become
rich, and hence is just encouragement to industry and enterprise.”
— Abraham Lincoln
pcalvert
 
Posts: 1802
Joined: 2006-04-21 11:19
Location: Sol Sector

Re: Bootable USB with BIOS support

Postby pcalvert » 2018-01-08 15:03

eyeprotocol wrote:Could you please point me to a good tutorial on installing SYSLINUX, i mean, one that you know it to be proper.

Unfortunately, I don't know of any. I had to figure out how to do it using the information on this web page:

http://www.syslinux.org/wiki/index.php?title=SYSLINUX


Here are some (potentially) easier options to consider:

https://sourceforge.net/projects/multibootusb/
(Windows and Linux versions; DEB and RPM packages available.)

http://www.easy2boot.com/

Phil
“Property is the fruit of labor; property is desirable; it is a positive good
in the world. That some should be rich shows that others may become
rich, and hence is just encouragement to industry and enterprise.”
— Abraham Lincoln
pcalvert
 
Posts: 1802
Joined: 2006-04-21 11:19
Location: Sol Sector

Re: Bootable USB with BIOS support

Postby eyeprotocol » 2018-01-08 15:07

Thank you all very much. I will be trying these and return, if needed.
:)
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