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I have two custom computers that are hardware identical (except the power button). One CMOS is newer than the other (and FWIW both machines run 14.04 server). Both machines have i7 CPUs, 16 GB RAM, and 256 GB SSD.

Some time ago I created a USB Live (12.04) on a thumb drive and that one boots on both machines. Since I had moved from 12.04 to 14.04 on both machines I decided to use Ubuntu's disk creator (on a Ubuntu 14.04 desktop). On boot on the older machine it stops with Grub displayed asking if I want to try Ubuntu. If I choose that option the screen goes black for some time and then Grub pops up. On the newer it works. I've tried this with different thumb drives and with 16.04 but it's always the same.

None of the answers I've seen appear to apply to me. I guess I can stick with the 12.04 live Ubuntu but I'd like to use a more current one.

Does the format of the USB stick matter?

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    Yes, it matters in relation to the format of the SSDs. Actually, the partition table style (msdos/MBR or GPT) is the one that matters. The USB stick and the SSD must have the same partition table style in order for GRUB to install correctly. It can be both MBR, or both GPT, but not mixed. Since you have exactly identical hardware, this is the only logical explanation i can think of. You can check the partition table style with (Gnome) Disks. – ipse lute Jun 29 '16 at 17:35

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