I installed Ubuntu onto a USB key using pendrivelinux.com. I need to boot off the pen drive now but the bios doesn't support this. I can still boot into Linux without X support ( broken X is one of the reason I want to boot off the pen drive to reinstall) on the computer directly. Is there some way to boot off a USB key from a running installation of linux or some other way of doing this?
Add (usb support via) plop boot manager in grub menu - Ubuntu 12.04 . (Console Mode)
This answer is based on tutorial from Ubuntu Greek Community
Now , the procedure is easiest from the Desktop Environment but for you, because you have to interfere with console mode, it will be little more difficult. If you pay attention and follow the steps I believe you will succeed.
Download Plop boot manager via wget
Extract via 7z. If you don't have the package , install
Now is the difficult part for you (because you haven't graphical environment and I don't know any other way). You have to note down some lines from the
Open the file
find (scroll down with arrow keys) the Ubuntu entry. It will begin like
Note the 3 lines
replace X with your actual numbers. Close the file with Ctrl+X
Now open another file where you have to input these lines plus another. Root privileges required here
at the end of this file add the lines you noted down before plus one more important line
important line is
An example of the contents inside
save the file with Ctrl+X then Y(es) then ENTER
Plug in your usb flash drive, reboot and select plop boot manager from Grub menu , then select USB.