[clug] building bootable USB Flash drives - any good summary sites?

steve jenkin sjenkin at canb.auug.org.au
Wed Oct 25 02:50:16 UTC 2017

Yesterday I built a bootable USB stick because I wanted a Centos 6 environment.
It didn’t help I hadn’t researched this topic well and tried to do this from Ubuntu using ‘unetbootin’.
Got it working after a few false-starts and the odd bit of collateral damage (wiped SATA disk’s boot sector for grub, _twice_).

Confirmed it worked on both a laptop and tower PC.

Later found a Centos-specific site which said after 6.5 (latest is 6.9),
 the instructions are "dd the iso image to the raw device, not a partition” - quick, simple and ‘worked as advertised’.

The Centos ‘Live’ distro on the USB stick confuses ‘parted’, which says there’s a recursive MBR.
‘fdisk’ prints an MBR, as does ‘showpart’, which I think says “unrecognised boot loader”.
using ‘xxd’, there is an x86 boot sector on the drive, didn’t know how to dig deeper than that.

My lessons were:
 - distros do things for USB installs a little differently, even in their own line. e.g. CentOS changed at 6.5.
 - need to find specific instructions for the install you’re attempting to build a bootable system on a USB.

Does anyone know of a good webpage / website that explains how the USB boot config & device setup/partitioning works,
and might explain the differences between approaches?


Steve Jenkin, IT Systems and Design 
0412 786 915 (+61 412 786 915)
PO Box 38, Kippax ACT 2615, AUSTRALIA

mailto:sjenkin at canb.auug.org.au http://members.tip.net.au/~sjenkin

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