[syslinux] Using extlinux

Cullimore, Shaun (ACHE) Shaun.Cullimore at smiths-aerospace.com
Thu Jan 20 04:12:28 PST 2005

Thanks for prompt reply.

>> I am trying to boot Linux from a USB memory device containing an ext2

>> file system using extlinux and having a bit of trouble. Apologies for

>> any naiive questions and assumptions. The USB device is an 8M byte
>> Compact Flash card in a USB reader.

>Are you booting in USB-HDD or USB-ZIP mode?

The machine I am using is a Hewlett-Packard and the BIOS is badged as
It only offers the option of booting from a "USB Device" (not "USB_FDD",
"USB_ZIP", "USB_HDD", etc. as I have seen on others). I have since tried
on another machine with a Phoenix BIOS. This offers "USB HDD", "USB FDC"
and "USB KEY". I would have thought that the first option would be
but that and the second resulted in "Operating system not found". The
"USB KEY" option appears to work but what formatting assumptions lies
behind that?

>> I used fdisk to create a single partition across the whole of the
>> device (partition 4 - is that important?) and made it bootable. Fdsik

>> reported the partition table as:
>> Disk /dev/sdc: 8 MB, 8224768 bytes
>> 1 heads, 16 sectors/track, 1004 cylinders Units = cylinders of 16 *
>> 512 = 8192 bytes

>Note that what you have isn't zipdisk geometry, so if you're trying to
>in USB-ZIP mode it's going to fail.

>> I unmounted the device, put it into another computer with the BIOS
>> to boot from a USB device and got the following messages:
>> "Attempting boot from USB device
>> EXTLINUX 3.02 2005-01-04 Copyright (c) 1994-2005 H. Peter Anvin"

>This is common for a geometry mismatch; you can still read the early
parts of
>the disk, where extlinux itself tends to reside.


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