I decide to install Ubuntu 15.10 (64 bit) on an old laptop running Ubuntu (32 bit).

I download the ( 64 bit ) image to my hard disk and decide to decide to create a bootable USB.

I run the startup disc creator and after a while I get a message

"Can't install the boot loader". Nothing else and no suggestions as to what I should do.

I Google around and discover that I (probably?) should format my USB as FAT32 and try again.

I select the USB and Format -- no FAT32 option is available. I decide to go for EXT4 (suitable for all LINUX systems it says!!!!). The format routine fails some python routine some where can't find some oblock somewhere else.

I borrow my wife's WINDOWS computer and format the USB. No problems!

I put the USB back into my Linux computer and format(yet again) in EXT4. All seems well.

Once again I try the start up disc creator and once again I get the message "Can't create the boot loader".

  • Not sure why FAT32 was not available. It's been the de facto standard since 1990's and is still the standard for thumb drives. – Jason Oct 22 '15 at 20:45
  • Perhaps the question meant "no FAT32 option" but in fact there is option called "FAT", just without the figures. I'd suggest to choose "FAT" option to format the USB drive. – user37165 Oct 23 '15 at 6:32


Due to changes in syslinux, it is not currently possible to use usb-creator from 14.04 and earlier releases to write USB images for 15.04 or later; we believe that it is also not possible to use usb-creator from a 15.04 or later system to write USB images for earlier releases. For now the workaround is to use a matching release of Ubuntu to write the images, but we intend to issue updates soon to work around this incompatibility.

At launchpad they are known as bug 1325801, bug 1446646 and bug 1499746.

  • I've managed to solve this problem. There is a long standing bug that prevents creation of bootable USB drives in Ubuntu (to do with permissions I think). Using UNetbootin I was successful and my laptop is now happily running 15.10. Since most recent laptops don't have a CD drive, forcing users to create bootable USB drives, I'm surprised this bug hasn't received more attention. – spratzt Oct 24 '15 at 8:32
  • Glad you got it working. For me it did not give any error when writing the ISO to the USB drive, but it was giving strange errors at boot; eventually I managed to install. So yeah, I agree with you, the installation part is not polished so well for this release. Off topic, I had also other problems: shutting down/rebooting was taking several minutes and accessing my workplace's VPN connection did not work at all. Both of these problems disappeared when I switched back to upstart from systemd. Hope they fix these until the next LTS. – o9000 Oct 24 '15 at 17:51

Ok, first of all for thumb drives you want FAT32. It's the default choice in any windows formatter so don't be reluctant to format it from windows.

Second, if you are using an old laptop you'll want to run the 32-bit version of Ubuntu and not the 64-bit version. The 64-bit version is for multi-core processors.

  • Thanks for your advice I have followed it carefully and I still... "Can’t install the boot loader" – spratzt Oct 22 '15 at 21:45

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