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Ultimate goal: Boot a live system on Vaio desktop PC (model pcv-rs204, P4 with only 1GB RAM)) from USB stick.

I downloaded the 64 bit 16.04.1 image and dd'ed it to an usb stick. The Vaio machine automatically booted from it, but I got the message that this machine isn't 64bit capable (or something alike).

Next, I downloaded the 32bit image, verified MD5, and dd'ed it to the same stick.

Problem: The 32bit image doesn't boot, as the system doesn't recognize the usb stick as being bootable.

I verified that the partition that's created on the stick is bootable using cfdisk - it is. The partition type is "17 - Hidden HPFS/NTFS", is this OK?

I also tried with Lubuntu 16.04.1 32bit, but after dd'ing the image to the stick, the stick is not recognized by the PC, just like with Ubuntu.

What can I try next?

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  • From my experience, if you dd the ISO, the flash drive should only have a CDFS partition on it. – You'reAGitForNotUsingGit Aug 30 '16 at 15:37
  • If system is P4 vintage, full Ubuntu will not work, you need Lubuntu or Xubuntu flavors. And system that old may have USB ports, but may not be bootable. That was just the time when they started to change to allow USB booting. DVD should work. With 1GB of RAM, you also should be only using the 32 bit image. – oldfred Aug 30 '16 at 17:55
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As per our discussion in the comments...

Burn Lubuntu 16.04.1 32bit .iso to a DVD and you'll probably boot to it fine. Run the live system to see how it works on your machine before trying to install it. Cheers, Al

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after you made the "dd" to the stick "file -s " is showing the type of boot-sector - if there is one.
( should be the one of the usb stick) It should show something like

DOS/MBR boot sector ISO 9660 CD-ROM filesystem data (DOS/MBR boot
sector) 'Ubuntu-Server 16.04 LTS amd64' (bootable); partition 2 : ID=0xef,
start-CHS (0x3ff,254,63), end-CHS (0x3ff,254,63), startsector 957368, 4736 sectors

'Ubuntu-Server 16.04 LTS amd64' may be different depending on the iso/Distro file you use. And it doesn't matter if you use a 64Bit or 32Bit operating system. This is just to make sure the device is able to boot.

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Having sacrificed half a day of my life I have given up. I tried various images, but it seems that either the stick or the Vaio PC is not booting reliably and I can't reproduce its behavior.

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  • Burn Lubuntu 16.04.1 32bit .iso to a DVD and you'll probably boot to it fine. Run the live system to see how it works on your machine before trying to install it. Cheers, Al – heynnema Aug 30 '16 at 20:30
  • Funny thing but this is exactly what I did - and it worked :-) – Jan Sep 3 '16 at 9:46
  • I moved my comment to an answer. Please vote/accept it if you can. Cheers, Al – heynnema Sep 3 '16 at 13:57

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