I have a machine which does not have a DVD drive. This machine does not have provision of booting from usb directly. Currently the machine is operating on ubuntu 9.04 version. I have downloaded ubuntu version 13.04 from the ubuntu site on to my usb stick. I have also made it a bootable disk as recommended in the ubuntu forums. The size is large and I cannot write it onto a CD and I do not have a DVD drive as I have brought out earlier. It's there any way to install ubuntu from my usb stick given the above conditions? If yes, can anyone guide me through the process as I am not very constant with the commands. Thanks

  • Welcome to AskUbuntu. Plugin your usb stick, setup the 1st boot to usb. After boot you will get two option, "Try Ubuntu" or "Install". – penreturns Oct 3 '13 at 7:34
  • "This machine does not have provision of booting from usb directly", care to explain a little more about it? – Mitch Oct 3 '13 at 7:40
  • Thanks for asking Mitch. I mean, my machine does not boot from USB even if i set the boot priority (to boot through USB) through BIOS... – Scorpy Oct 4 '13 at 3:02
  • @Scorpy - 1.) usb-stick needs boot-flag (can be set with gparted) - 2.) bootable usb-stick with iso-image of Ubuntu (for any machine to be bootable) can only be done with a tool like multisystem, unetbootin, Linux-live-USB-creator and else ... – dschinn1001 Oct 4 '13 at 11:25

Booting via GRUB

The easiest way to boot from a USB Drive is to boot via GRUB. To check if your BIOS is able to detect the USB drive and hand it over to GRUB, just run GRUB from your hard drive if it already installed, or from a GRUB boot floppy or CD. At the GRUB menu, hit the C key to enter command mode. Now search for your USB drive, using the root command to choose a drive/partition and the find command to see if you found the right one.

You can go through your devices like in this example:

grub> root (hd0,0)   # first harddrive, first partition
grub> find /[tab]    # type the slash then press [tab], and it will try to list files on this partition
Error 17: Cannot mount selected partition   # Oops no file system here
grub> root (hd0,1)   # first harddrive, second partition
grub> find /[tab]
 Possible files are: lost+found var etc media ...   # That was my hard drive with my linux install
grub> root (hd1,0)   # second hard drive usually is the USB drive if you have only one internal drive
grub> find /[tab]
 Possible files are: ldlinux.sys mydoc myfile mystick syslinux.cfg  # Bingo, that's the USB stick

Note: If you have two internal drives including your CD/DVD drive, the USB drive probably is hd2,0 and so on.

Boot the drive by entering:

chainloader +1

For convenience, add these commands to your GRUB configuration (usually in /boot/grub/menu.lst):

# to boot from a USB device
title    Boot USB drive
root     (hd1,0)
chainloader +1

You can check the documentation for more info : BootFromUSB


Unetbootin can help you, but only if you have 2 hard-drives.

By using a hard-drive as a usb-key, you can install ubuntu directly from it ! But there's a catch : Ubuntu can't be installed on the disk who is running the live-session. So you need 2 drives.

So on your second hard-drive you need to create a new partition - for exemple at the end - with gparted.

Now with Unetbootin, you need to choose this partition : check the option "Show All Drive" and select the proper partition. #BEWARE THIS ACTION WILL REWRITE THE BOOT SECTOR OF THE SECOND DRIVE

More Information about Unetbootin : From Ubuntu Wiki

  • Thanks Romain. Will try what you have said (although much of it seems greek and latin to me... :)) Never a bad time to learn is there.... :)? – Scorpy Oct 4 '13 at 2:59

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