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So first off, I'm using Debian sqeeze and I'm trying to make an Ubuntu 12. 04 Precise Pangolin Live USB. This is kind of a problem at the moment because debian does not have the "startup disk creator" app. So I looked through a number of debian forums and decided to try an app called unetbootin (apparently it's just about the only way I can make a live USB on Squeeze). I downloaded the iso file for 12.04, opened unetbootin and it extracted the files to the USB and everything was perfect. But when I reboot on my USB drive, the first thing on my screen is a unetbootin menu that only allows me to select "default". After I press enter it just loads a command prompt that starts with "(initramfs):" I can't figure out what I did wrong as I am a nub. Any Ideas or alternatives?

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Did you just burn it once? Sounds like a bad burn maybe. –  wojox Apr 27 '12 at 1:11
    
I tried trashing my USB and making another with the same app and .iso file. But it yielded the same result. Do you think redownloading the iso file might help? –  Jiskya Apr 27 '12 at 1:15
    
Definitely worth a shot. Use a torrent maybe? There is also the dd command. –  wojox Apr 27 '12 at 1:19
    
Ok, I think I'll try that. The download speed is still surprisingly slow. So it may take me awhile. –  Jiskya Apr 27 '12 at 1:22
    
Yeah the servers are pretty slammed right now =) –  wojox Apr 27 '12 at 1:24

2 Answers 2

up vote 4 down vote accepted

You can also use dd.

First, find out what the USB drive is called with sudo fdisk -l, then unmount it, then run

sudo dd if=/path_to_iso/ubuntu-12.04-desktop-i386.iso of=/dev/sdX

the /dev/sdX part is whatever fdisk had shown, usually /dev/sdb or dev/sdc.

Example

Here is the output of sudo fdisk -l showing my USB drive:

Disk /dev/sdc: 256 MB, 256900608 bytes
60 heads, 27 sectors/track, 309 cylinders
Units = cylinders of 1620 * 512 = 829440 bytes
Sector size (logical/physical): 512 bytes / 512 bytes
I/O size (minimum/optimal): 512 bytes / 512 bytes
Disk identifier: 0x00040358

   Device Boot      Start         End      Blocks   Id  System
/dev/sdc1   *           1         310      250879    b  W95 FAT32
Partition 1 has different physical/logical endings:
     phys=(31, 59, 27) logical=(309, 43, 18)

What we need is the device name, which in this case is /dev/sdc. You may have it designated differently,for example /dev/sdb or /dev/sdd (!/dev/sda is usually the hard drive, so don't use it!).

Lets assume that the ISO I want to write to that USB drive is in the Downloads folder in my home directory.

sudo dd if=Downloads/ubuntu-12.04-desktop-i386.iso of=/dev/sdc

The command will write the contents of the ISO image to the USB device.

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Forgive me, but I am extremely new to such commands. However, I did do it. I'm not sure if it was successful, though. Here was my output: ~$ sudo dd if=Downloads/ubuntu-12.04-desktop-i386.iso of=/dev/sdc2 [sudo] password for user: 1436248+0 records in 1436248+0 records out 735358976 bytes (735 MB) copied, 197.827 s, 3.7 MB/s ~$ I feel really dumb asking this, but what specifically did that command do? –  Jiskya Apr 27 '12 at 2:11
    
If you post the output of sudo fdisk -l and the ISO location, we can tell you exactly what to type. Be careful though, the command is destructive. –  mikewhatever Apr 27 '12 at 2:19
    
My USB was called, '/dev/sdc2'. But after that dd command, it's changed to '/dev/sdb2'. And the Iso locations is in my 'Downloads' Directory. –  Jiskya Apr 27 '12 at 2:28
    
Right, so /dev/sdc2 is a partition, use /dev/sdc or /dev/sdb, whatever is correct at the moment. –  mikewhatever Apr 27 '12 at 2:32
    
Grant, you asked what that command did. It is a bit copying utility. It wrote your cd completely to the usb, and now your usb should mount with mount /dev/sdb /mnt/temp (If /dev/sdb is your device, otherwise it might take /dev/sdb2 or something along those lines, and if /mnt/temp exists. ) It should mount as ISO9660, which is read only, and not good for a usb, if you intend on writing anything to that partition. –  darkdragn Apr 27 '12 at 3:05

Umm, a dd copy is probably the worst idea for booting a livecd from a usb drive. In all seriousness, unetbootin probably just isn't keeping up with the casper scripts update, and forgot a line in the boot list. If you give unetbootin one more chance, but when it's done mount the partition it used, and go into the syslinux folder. Look for a syslinux.cfg, and look for the entry list that starts with LABEL default. On the append line, make sure it has boot=casper and cdrom-detect/try-usb=true. Without those two lines, it will not boot.

(Ex. APPEND initrd=initrd.img boot=casper cdrom-detect/try-usb=true ro splash --)

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