HowTos

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Contents

Naming convention

Since Syslinux version 3.73, the following naming conventions are adopted:

The moniker "The Syslinux Project" (standard proper noun capitalization) shall be used to refer to the project as a whole.

The all-caps form shall be used to refer to a particular loader variant, such as "SYSLINUX" for the standard disk, or "ISOLINUX" for "El Torito no-emulation" bootloader.

The all-lower-case form should be used to refer to a particular installer, such as "syslinux-mtools" for the mtools-based installer for SYSLINUX, or the "extlinux" command for EXTLINUX.

"Syslinux" (initial upper-case) refers to "The Syslinux Project", or to a generic term for the user to replace with one/some/any/every/all bootloader variants of the Syslinux family.

Note: There is still a chance that some official document or some page in the official Syslinux wiki might use inadequate naming / casing. To report typos, or when in doubt, please contact The Syslinux Project.

New users

For newbies to Syslinux, the following links might be helpful as an introduction / learning curve into The Syslinux Project. There is no need to read them all; practical experience and specific interests might suggest what to read / search for.

There are many additional wiki pages; use the "search box".

Several Linux distributions also have their own documentation about Syslinux and Syslinux-related packages.



Please add more HowTo's here. We can start with the questions, and later fill up the answers.

SYSLINUX Configuration

  • How to write the config file for {PXE/ISO/EXT}LINUX?
  • How to create the simple menu system?
  • How to create the graphical menu system?

Links

installing syslinux / how to create a bootable...


How to Create a Bootable USB: Windows XP and Vista

STEP 0: Your motherboard (BIOS) has to support boot from usb (usb-key or usb-hdd). You don't need to know which of these types your media is though, your BIOS recognizes the usb controller in the device, and this determines usb-key or usb-hdd type.
In case your motherboard does not support booting from usb, the PLoP Boot Manager might be a solution.

STEP 1: Download the latest copy of Syslinux and extract it.

STEP 2: Open a command prompt and cd to your 'syslinux\win32' folder. Run syslinux.exe -m -a X: replacing X with the drive letter of your media. This will install suitable MBR code into your flash drive and mark the partition on it as active.

STEP 3: Copy a Linux kernel image (like vmlinuz) to the root (X:\) of your media.

STEP 4: Lastly, create a 'syslinux.cfg' file in the root of your media (X:\) and
enter any configuration options you need/want.


You can also use RMPrepUSB to format your UFD and to install SYSLINUX.

How to Create a Bootable USB: For Linux

STEP 0: Your motherboard (BIOS) has to support boot from usb (usb-key or usb-hdd).
You don't need to know which of these types your media is though, your BIOS recognizes
the usb controller in the device, and this determines usb-key or usb-hdd type.

STEP 1: Download the latest copy of Syslinux and extract it.

STEP 2: Open a command prompt and cd to your 'syslinux/linux' folder. Run ./syslinux -i /dev/sdX1
replacing X with the device node of your media.

STEP 3: Ensure the usb drive is bootable. For that, we need a working MBR code and an active partition.
Open a command prompt and cd to your 'syslinux/mbr' folder. Run the following two commands,
replacing X with the device node of your usb drive:

dd conv=notrunc bs=440 count=1 if=mbr.bin of=/dev/sdX
parted /dev/sdX set 1 boot on

This will write the Syslinux mbr code (mbr.bin) into the master boot record of the drive,
and mark first partition as active (bootable). For the second task, you can use fdisk or other
disk partitioning tools.

STEP 4: Copy a Linux kernel image (like vmlinuz) to the root (/dev/sdX1) of your media.

STEP 5: Lastly, create a 'syslinux.cfg' file in the root of your media (/dev/sdX1) and
enter any configuration options you need/want.

Creating bootable images

Booting

No native BIOS support

  • Possible to boot from CD if there is no native CD support in bios?
  • Possible to boot from USB if there is no native USB support in bios?
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