[syslinux] Booting LINUX from external USB Hard Drive

Quinn plattel at tiscali.dk
Thu Oct 21 13:30:17 PDT 2004

H. Peter Anvin wrote:

> Quinn wrote:
>> Beware there is a bug in syslinux's memdisk in that it cannot boot 
>> msdos images while the usb drive is the primary hard drive.
> This is news to me, could you elaborate?  This could just as easily be 
> a BIOS bug.
>     -hpa

It has been mentioned before in the following articles:

Basically, it boils down to that when the USB-drive is the primary hard 
drive, ms-dos does boot properly when booting from a physical floppy but 
not when an image of that floppy is loaded via memdisk and booted from - 
you get either
"Starting PC-DOS..." or nothing and the system just hangs. 

Dag Wieers has had success in booting msdos directly from the USB drive, 
but I have not yet had success either with the 'fdisk /mbr', 'sys c:' 
procedure or the 'fdisk /mbr', 'syslinux /dev/sda1' procedure.

I don't think it is a BIOS bug but I have only tested this on two 
different IBM machines - one desktop and one laptop.  I believe Dag did 
a bit more testing than I did.


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