I am running Ubuntu from a bootable USB drive on an old machine. The graphical interface is using up all the memory and I actually just need a terminal.
Is there a way to not start the desktop environment from a live OS image?
With a UEFI boot (without CSM enabled in firmware), the media boots into a GRUB menu.
UEFI booting can be troublesome, some firmware has the tendency to change from UEFI to BIOS boot in between reboots. Other times the USB stick needs to be plugged in a different port after each boot for the firmware to recognize it.
When you see a graphical (not text) Ubuntu boot screen it is likely that your firmware has enabled CSM and in effect disabled UEFI boot. Go back in your firmware and re-enable the (ultra) fast boot mode.
*Try Ubuntu without installing is selected in the GRUB menu.
Press e to edit this line.
Move your cursor to the
using the arrow keys ↓ and →
Type (insert) the word
text and a space there.
Press F10 to boot.
You might want to replace the existing
quiet splash with
text to get rid of the graphical splash screen and see the dmesg output on screen.