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Need help booting from USB (Dell BIOS)





Animal
I'm currently running a Dell Inspiron 8200 laptop - it's a good few years old, but serves my purpose well.

Here's the problem: I want to run a couple of Live CDs, but my internal CD drive that came with the computer has toasted itself, so it only reads CDs at about 1x speed - therefore booting a live CD is a non-option.

I have both an external CD/DVD drive that works and a USB drive big enough to take the Linux data - but both of these require the ability to boot from the USB port.

I've heard on good authority that the Dell BIOS blocks you from booting from USB purposefully. Does anyone know if this is bypass-able? If not, I know that you can edit the BIOS using the BIOS company's software tools - does anyone have any experience / advice on using this?

Thanks for any input Very Happy
Bones
Have a look in your BIOS for boot sequence or boot device priority or something like that, and see if boot from USB device is one of the options.
If it isn't then AFAIK you'd be out of luck although a bios flash might possibly add this function.

One other thing you might wanna try is pressing F11 or F12 during POST (not sure which key it is on a Dell) and it should bring up a menu asking you which device to boot from
Animal
Bones wrote:
Have a look in your BIOS for boot sequence or boot device priority or something like that, and see if boot from USB device is one of the options.

Yeah, I've tried that but there isn't an option for USB.

Bones wrote:
If it isn't then AFAIK you'd be out of luck although a bios flash might possibly add this function.

Yeah - this is actually what I was looking for information on Wink

Bones wrote:
One other thing you might wanna try is pressing F11 or F12 during POST (not sure which key it is on a Dell) and it should bring up a menu asking you which device to boot from

Again, tried that and the USB devices aren't there.
KHO
http://gentoo-wiki.com/HOWTO_Create_a_DOS_boot_USB_flash_drive

Looks like that has your answer, you will need to install linux to start with i guess, maybe just deal with the extremelly slow speed, but l have found no other way. Good luck with this, hope you have another computer to deal with while that one spends a day or two installing lol.
Animal
KHO wrote:
http://gentoo-wiki.com/HOWTO_Create_a_DOS_boot_USB_flash_drive

Looks like that has your answer, you will need to install linux to start with i guess, maybe just deal with the extremelly slow speed, but l have found no other way. Good luck with this, hope you have another computer to deal with while that one spends a day or two installing lol.


Thanks for the suggestion, but there's a problem... This tells you how to create a bootable USB Drive - I know how to do this. The problem is that my computer's BIOS doesn't allow you to boot from a USB drive. I need help "encouraging" the BIOS to allow the computer to boot from USB Drives and devices.
kernel_geek
If i can remembre correctly you can use a modified version of dos.

If not there is a program (cant remember the name off it Smile) that is a live floppy that includes all sorts of utilities, including support for booting usb drives.

sorry for the lack of help, i will get back to you on the name of the prorgam.


Good luck, on fiddling with your bios, i have done something similar before its not to hard but if you can back up your rom before doing it. http://www.modfatha.com/ma_BIOS_savior.html

You could use pxe boot ??

Thats what i did to install gentoo on a cd-less computer.
kernel_geek
I have had a little llok around and pxe boot looks like you best option, and certinally, the cheapest and safest Very Happy.
IceCreamTruck
OK, seems like a lot of people are trying to boot OS over USB, but you are all running into the same basic problem. The bios doesn't contain drivers for USB. In other words the computer is waiting for the OS to load drivers for USB so it can access that hardware. For the most part the bios doesn't even know USB exists, and I've yet to see a computer that gives USB as an option for initial boot.

Yeah you could use dos to boot the computer, load usb drivers, and then you have access to another OS but why are you waisting all that time. Here's what I suggest...ensure that your computer has a viable internal hard drive and load the OS on that drive, and make sure that you have USB drivers installed (comes standard with most OSs) then you can install all of your programs on the USB drive...but wait...why would you want to?

USB is so much slower than even low-end interal hard drives. 5400rpm is low end hard drive speed, 7200rpm is what we've all gotten used to by now, and with SATA drives speeds have jumped to over 10,000 rpms witch is as fast as SCUSI drives on servers. Why take a set back like USB. even USB 2 isn't that much faster than USB 1. The only real plus side to USB is data storage that is portable. You can plug your USB drive up to any computer and you have all of your work, but programs and the OS needs to remain on a faster internal hard drive.

Sorry for ranting, but I just don't understand the need to put an OS on a USB drive. You'll end up waiting for like 15 minutes for your computer to boot off of USB, assuming you get it to work.

OK I did some homework for you guys:
USB 1.0 data transfer rate = 12 mb/s
USB 2.0 data transfer rate = max 480 mb/s
7200rpm internal hard drive transfer rate = 1.3 GB/s
SATA (super ata) internal hard drive transfer rate = 3 GB/s

DO YOU SEE THE BIG JOKE NOW? even if you have USB 2.0 you aren't even getting close to hard drive transfer rates that are the standard now. Keep your OS on a hard drive that will let you get some work done this year and don't wait till next year to figure this out!
kernel_geek
lol, you have completely missed, the point, his cd drive is broken, so he wants to use a usb cd drive, so he can run some live cds, (ones you dont install), and yes the bios does no about usb, especialy if its onboard, most computers have a boot usb option, if a drive is detected, it is probally, blocked, for security, reasons or similar. So what you said has nothing to do with the topic in discussion.
IceCreamTruck
Can he run the live CD from another computer on the network? because the transfer rates still apply! USB is going to be horribly slow. This isn't the only topic on this issue, it's just the second one I came across.

My explanation does apply better to the other topic I read, and I guess I made a mistake because the topic here was similar. Do really know how I ended up over here I meant to post a response to the other topic I just came back from doing something else and thought this was the topic I had read.

The transfer rates still apply though, and maybe this guy should look at getting a new CD drive to install in his laptop. It can be done, and I would considder it if the CD drive on my laptop was broken.

Check this out!! Replacement CD drive for inspiron 8200 and it's only 35 dollars! Wink
kernel_geek
No, actually, it was my idear to use PXE boot, so dont class it as your own, the usb transfer speeds are sufficient to use live cds, as most of the data is loaded into the ram etc. But anyway, as i said previously, i would use pxe boot, editing your bios, is a complicated and tedious task ...
You wouldn't actually be able to boot a shared cd drive as that would require an os ... and you cant boot an os from in an os etc ... Does your laptop support pxe booting, if not there is a boot floppy that boots pxe for you ... (cant remember the name again ...Very Happy)
kttja
I have a dell 5160 and to boot from the USB drive I used these steps:

1. Put the USB stick (flash drive) into the usb port on the computer FIRST (before turning the computer on)

2. Turn the computer on

3. Hit F12 to book from another device (there may be another button you need to push -just look at your screen and it will tell you)

4. Choose USB drive (from the list of drives to boot from) note: the usb option did not show up in my list until after I began putting the usb stick in FIRST

-----------------------------------------------

if this doesn't work for you
download ubuntu.com free operating system at http://www.ubuntu.com/getubuntu/download
and burn to disk (using ashampoo free burning rom)
google these or download from www.download.com - after downloading ubunto to burn this boot disk to a blank disk open Ashampoo burning rom software and choose the ashampoo burning option that says burn "create/burn a disk images" then select "burn a cd/dvd from a disk image" and select the ubuntu .iso file you just downloaded.


run the ubuntu.com software from the CD (put your usb stick in first) and when the window pulls up
you will see your usb stick folder showing on the screen and click it to run any files or get any files off of the usb stick.

this worked for me as well, but note: I did not have an operating system installed on my computer when I put the ubunt disk in. So if you have an operating system, I'm not sure if you will get the same screen as I did. When the ubuntu screen came up, it asked me if I wanted to install ubuntu, run some other program, and it showed my usb drive I could click on to see all my files. You did not have to install the operating system if you did not want to. they ask you before hand. Just F.Y.I.
the zephyrus
If I remember, you can boot off a USB even if you BIOS doesn't support it directly. You just need to boot off another medium to a boot loader than will then load the appropriate drivers and boot off the USB. There was a good tutorial for this. Sadly, I don't remember the link, and Google is not cooperating right now.

I have a later Dell from a rebranded but possibly similar line. (It's from their business division. A Vostro. But those are just rebranded Inspirons.) My BIOS has a "press XYZ button to enter boot menu" sorta prompt at boot, though. I don't know if a newer firmware could help introduce such a feature, but I kinda have doubts.

http://www.supergrubdisk.org/
This is a generic GRUB boot disc. (Disclaimer: I use GRUB but not this particular disc.) GRUB is definitely capable of chainloading a USB device, although I can't give you specific advice.

http://www.supergrubdisk.org/w/index.php5?title=Howto_Boot_Windows_From_A_Second_Hard_Disk
Here is a tutorial for a second hard disk, which should be analogous to an external device.

I'm pretty sure that if you get GRUB to boot off another medium and then point it at (hd1,0) it should go from there. (The pair means physical_disk,logical_partition.) The numbers start from 0 being your primary hard disk. Then I assume there's nothing else it cares about, and goes to 1 for the USB.)

Having not done strange things using GRUB for a long time, I can't really be sure what you need. I've only used GRUB a lot for internal disks and normal dual-booting between Windows and Linux. But it should be the same process.

EDIT:

The normal way to get GRUB to run Linux is to tell it where to find the kernel and everything. (Are your LiveCDs Linux? I don't know.) But in your case, there is already a bootloader on the USB and you just need it to hand it off.

If your LiveCDs are CD images, you might need to do a bit of finagling to get it bootable onto a USB stick. I seem to remember you need to enclose a CD image in something special. (Once again, haven't poked this stuff recently.) You should be using the external CD for the above process.

EDIT2:

Oh gosh, did I accidentally help necro a post? Sorry.
Magued
Animal wrote:
I'm currently running a Dell Inspiron 8200 laptop - it's a good few years old, but serves my purpose well.

Here's the problem: I want to run a couple of Live CDs, but my internal CD drive that came with the computer has toasted itself, so it only reads CDs at about 1x speed - therefore booting a live CD is a non-option.

I have both an external CD/DVD drive that works and a USB drive big enough to take the Linux data - but both of these require the ability to boot from the USB port.

I've heard on good authority that the Dell BIOS blocks you from booting from USB purposefully. Does anyone know if this is bypass-able? If not, I know that you can edit the BIOS using the BIOS company's software tools - does anyone have any experience / advice on using this?

Thanks for any input Very Happy


Remove the internal DVD and do the F12 thing, it worked with me...
shyingboy
Maybe, this is a solution.

Firstly, you should download a Linux based system which can work in a live CD. There are a lot of choices, like Ubuntu, Pubby. Besides, if you use Windows, a WinPE system may help too.

Secondly, extract the image(usually a ISO format) to the root directory of a drive.

Then, install GRUB4DOS and add the boot item linked to the above extracted image.

Lastly, restart your computer. When it comes to the boot menu, select the newly added boot item.

Usually, it can boot from it.

Good Luck!
easeltine
Just put mine away. I have on it Windows ME with a bunch of programs, (4.5 GB out of the 10 GB HD). These laptops are pretty slow on the Internet nowadays. There is so much graphics that it just slows everything down. The best Browser for this edition that I have found is Sea Monkey and Firefox.

If anyone out there is coming here and thinking of making a LINUX Box out of there Inspiron and wants to boot with a USB, don't waste your time! The CD Roms for these Laptops are very, very cheap on Ebay. Someone mentioned Ubantu. I have Kubantu on my Dell Optiplex GX620 upstairs and it is working great on that computer, but this computer is not fast enough, unless you have 1 GB it really could use more RAM. The Live Linux versions will work.

It is my opinion that this Laptop is best to use for non-Internet related functions with an external keyboard. The keyboards are not my favorite on this Laptop.

My Inspiron 8000 has a Windows ME COA on it. When I got it the laptop had been upgraded to Windows 2000. Windows 2000 is just too slow for this computer, (800 Mhz, 512 MB Ram, 10 GB Hard Drive...so I lowered it to Windows ME, and it is a pretty good experience without having to go to the Internet...which I just did via my Wireless Modem and a PC Card...but this Toshiba Duo Core I'm typing on is much faster LOL.

...BUT THE TANK LIVES ON!
jdelfire
lol reviving a an old post I see.. Posted: Sat Jun 03, 2006 1:49 am...
metalfreek
Very old post indeed. But here is my answer for those who might stumble here from search or something.

1. Make a bootable USB drive. If you want linux than there are software to help you with that. If you are looking for windows there is a software provided by microsoft to do the same. But I think this software by microsoft works only when you wish to make bootable windows 7 or windows 8. You should have ISO file to do this.

2. Turn off your computer and insert bootable USB and start the computer. Press F12 to go to boot device selection menu. This has to be done when dell logo starts to appear on the screen.

3. From the list select USB drive and done. You should be booting from the USB.

5. If you don't see your USB drive restart the process and make sure that your USB device has all windows files in it.
sge_sge
To add to the above, you can easily create bootable floppy disk that allows booting from USB drives on the Inspiron 8200, even though the BIOS doesn't support booting.

I followed this guide: http://viewfinderdesign.co.uk/archive/534/booting-linux-from-a-usb-stick-using-a-floppy/, which explains how to install the "plop" boot manager onto a floppy disk (you need a computer with a working floppy disk drive for this). Plop can be downloaded here: http://www.plop.at/en/bootmanager/plpbt.bin.html

Once plop is booted I was able to boot a CD from the previously unbootable DVD drive (but I wasn't able to replicate that)

As has been mentioned, the Inspiron 8200 only has USB1 support, so file transfers are VERY slow - I get 1MB/s when doing transfers on this laptop - which is around the theoretical maximum of USB1 after protocol overhead (12Mbps maximum = 1.5MB theoretical maximum)

Also note, the laptop also supports network booting via PXE boot, but the setup required for that is a bit more involved that just creating a bootable floppy disk.

Hope that helps somebody
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