Installing Ubuntu (or Mint) from usb-stick when booting from usb doesn't work

By | May 12, 2012

My semi-old computer doesn’t boot from a USB-stick/pendrive even when configured in the BIOS to do so. I really don’t want to burn a cd or dvd every time I (re)install Linux on a new drive.
Here’s how I worked around the issue, allowing me to boot from usb. No previous Linux-installation is required.

From Windows install Easy BCD and enable its “Grub bootloader” (autoNeoGrub1).
This gives you an old grub version for MS-DOS or so. We’ll use that to load the Linux installer.

Ubuntu (and Mint and others) has this new hybrid boot solution, where you can very easily install Linux from a USB-stick.
Start by writing the install-image, for example Ubuntu, to the USB-stick.

First locate the boot-partition on the usb-stick.
Try ls (hd1,0)/ to list the contents of the first partition on the second disk
(assuming that hd1 is the usb-stick). You should see a list of files from the install-image, i.e. not your regular files.

Then enter these grub commands to load the installer from the USB-stick:

module linux
set root=(hdX,0)
kernel /casper/vmlinuz boot=casper noprompt noeject
initrd /casper/initrd.lz
boot

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