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Installing Debian from USB disk

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Now this has me VERY confused.

 

See, there was once upon a time where I could fire up unetbootin or yumi, install a debian iso to an usb drive and be done with it. Now it fails installation on both of them (with yumi, installer doesn't recognizes the simulated cd-rom drive, with unetbootin it recognises it but fails to read some files after a while).

 

(Have In mind that I'm talking about a netbook here, so no real CD drive)

 

Now if you search for "debian usb install" I get some links that either assume a lot of things, or I'm too stupid to understand what is really going on, or were written by authors who where living in another universe that isn't mine. Something about just plain copying the debian iso to the usb drive and automagically works! (it doesn't actually) or some other needed file (boot.img) that also needs to be copied for it to automagically work! (it doesn't either).

 

So now I'm just out of ideas. I downloaded the xfce image from here: http://cdimage.debian.org/cdimage/weekly-builds/amd64/iso-cd/ Or that's what I think. There is a 10Mb difference between my iso and that iso, trying to download again, but that might be related with the fact that there is 800 branches in debian's directory tree so who knows if I ended up in the weekly builds or not...

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There is a 10Mb difference between my iso and that iso

 

Are you using the checksums provided to verify that the entire iso made it to your hard drive? Perhaps the images you downloaded simply got corrupted. Then I'd check if your USB drive is actually working, "fails to read some files" sounds worrying. Always diagnose hardware before software. unetbootin has always worked fine for me.

 

Is it just debian or do other distros fail as well?

Edited by Bacterius

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Im downloading a new image right now because power went off after I posted this (1-2 hs wait, 70-90Kb/s dl speed).

 

Checksums are different, but I think the images are different, though I haven't found a 637Mb xfce amd64 iso so it might be corrupted.

 

Anyway, tried to manually extract the iso and extracts fine. Checked the usb drive and passes fine.

 

EDIT: Ha! Got to see the syslog, md5 error :D Just finished downloading the new image. I'll try with that one.

Edited by TheChubu

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Good news. It worked! Seems like the .iso was damaged, the new one installed perfectly. But instead of using inetbootin and friends I did it the "debian way", which needs a working Linux install for doing some things (like 4 commands, nothing VMWare Player can't fix though).

 

Just download boot.img.gz from somewhere in debian's FTP directories (good luck finding the right one, there is testing, stable, daily, weekly, pink, green, chocolate flavored, etc) and the iso of your choice (in my case, debian testing amd64, for an Atom N450 which isn't supposed to support x86_64 but it does).

 

Plug the usb drive but don't mount it. Type zcat boot.img.gz > /dev/sdx (it will extract the .gz into your raw drive, note that you don't have to select the partition, ie sdc1, just the drive, sdb in my case).

 

Now you have the installer thingies copied to your drive. It will be useless for anything else right now and everything inside it has been be erased from existence. You should feel proud. Type sync so the changes are flushed to the drive.

 

Right after committing usb-drive murder, you just need to copy debian's iso into the drive. Again, without mounting it. Type cat yourdebian.iso > /dev/sdx. Once it finishes type sync again just in case.

 

Restart, boot from the usb drive and you should have a nice debian screen waiting for you to select the install options... Or a boot error message.

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Good to hear! And thanks for the step by step guide, hopefully some lost souls will find it useful (installing linux can be rather tedious when things don't go as planned)

 

Restart, boot from the usb drive and you should have a nice debian screen waiting for you to select the install options... Or a boot error message.

 

There is nothing more honest than a boot error message happy.png

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