[syslinux] USB stick won't boot anymore

Quinn plattel at tiscali.dk
Tue May 24 09:58:41 PDT 2005

lanas wrote:

>Hi all,
>  This surely has nothing to do with syslinux, but since many people
>here ar eusing USB sticks as booting devices (using syslinux) this is a
>good place to ask, I think.
>  I have an Apacer 1GB USB stick that was happily booting PCs using
>syslinux.  But now, after some tests, it does not anymore.  It does not
>even produce some kind of message from syslinux when booting.  Nothing. 
>The computer simply hangs there after doing its initial chores.  And the
>BIOS settings are OK.  At one point during tests I did a 'dd
>if=/dev/zero of=/mnt/sda bs=512 count=1000', maybe that thrashed the USB
>stick ?  Anyhow, I tried everything, I think, to make it alive again,
>including copying the mbr.bin file on it ('cat mbr.bin > /dev/sda'). 
>The procedure to make it boot otherwise stayed the same:
>  - make one partition using fdisk
>  - make it type 6 
>  - make it active
>  - use mkdosfs -I to format it
>  - copy the initrd.gz file
>  - copy a kernel
>  - copy an extremly basic syslinux.cfg file
>  - unmount it
>  - run syslinux against it
>  But still, it does no boot any machine.  Has someone ever found the
>same situation withan USB stick and what to do ?
Here is an alternative If you have DOS or Windows 95/98/98SE DOS:

- Configure your BIOS to use the USB stick as a HDD device (if it has 
the option).
- Disable any hard drive systems you have in the system like IDE/SCSI 
(use the BIOS)
- Start the system with a DOS boot disk and with the USB stick in while 
- Use DOS fdisk to create a bootable partition on the USB stick
- Reboot the system with a DOS boot disk and with the USB stick in while 
- Format the partition (format c: /s)
- Re-enable your regular hard drive system

Now you should be able to boot dos directly from the USB stick.

- If you want syslinux on it, then boot into windows and run the windows 
version of
syslinux on the stick (syslinux e:)

Now syslinux should be able to boot from the USB stick.

Hope this helps,


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