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booting the computer (4)

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There’s a special key in every BIOS (when the computer first boots) that makes you able to boot from another device that is not its hard disk.

You can either enter in the bios to configure the boot order or to hit the key that selects the device to boot “only this time”, the second option is suggested.

In short, you simply need to turn ON your computer, then immediately press multiple times the F’ key that a message should tell you something like “boot menu” until a menu appears, then just select the device which you want to boot from (the one that contains Elive in your USB or DVD).

This special F’ key is normally F12 in Acer computers and ESC in the Asus ones, you can try all the F’ keys or better search which F is in a list like here, other common F’s are F10, F2, F1 and F8

There’s some other interesting articles about this topic:

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There is multiple reasons that can make your computer not be able to boot from USB, but in any case we promise that you can boot from USB with a simple trick :)

Make sure to...

  • The USB has at least 4 GB and is from a known trademark
  • You know the Magic “F” key to tell the computer to boot from another device, otherwise see this other FAQ
  • You have used the tools that we suggest to use for record Elive on it, most of the “bootable maker tools” changes the internal structure of the system, which is not reliable most of the times (and in a very small cases it can help you to make to boot it)
  • Your computer doesn’t ship with Microsoft Windows 8 or bigger, see the Cause 3 for this problem
  • Your computer is not a Chromebook, see Cause 4
  • If these solutions fails, try to upgrade your BIOS firmware

Cause 1: Hardware Problem

One of the biggest causes to not be able to boot from USB is because the USB medium itself, the quality on how they are made and how internally works can affect a lot, for example there’s some memory sticks that are slower to startup, and so since the BIOS has a limited time to recognize them, if they don’t show up in the limited time the bios timeouts and skips it.


  • Try with various USB sticks, they are cheap, and use common trademarks
  • Don’t try to make the computer directly recognize and boot it, instead, pick the “Fx” option that shows up the menu to select from which device to boot from, on that way you give more time to the USB to be initialized and you make sure that the system will try to boot from it since it is meant to be listed.

Cause 2: Unrecognized Bootable formats

The correct way to boot an USB is with the “USB HDD” mode (bios), but some bioses are simply unable to read the filesytems, even if Elive uses a very compatible partition structure by putting the bootable files in a fat16 partition, some bios makes the bootable sectors not being recognized and so unable to boot the device


The solution is simple: If you used the .img files (USB images), try to use the .iso files instead (DVD images), they are built in hybrid mode so are recognized like an emulated cdrom from USB, in short:

the 90% of computers are able to boot the USB images, while the 80% of them are able to boot from the DVD ones (independently), and there’s a 30% of these problematic computers that only can boot one or the other.

Cause 3: Windows is f!#!%$$$ again...

Again another monopol tactic by microsh1t, this time was a painful play, they simply prohibited any computer to boot any system that is not theirs, with the simple excuse that is not a verified system, they called it “secure boot“, but who is the authority behind that certify’s that a system is trusted or not? them, of course, and what you need to do? just pay a good amount of money so that they can sign your files making the computer accept your system to be able to boot… And you cannot simply remove your windows or change your hard disk with a new one, because they simply implemented this in the machine itself, good play sadists…

Some articles about this corruption case:


Not all the chances are lost, fortunately by law they are simply not allowed to prohibit a computer to boot the system that the user wants. So you need to enter in special configurations to disable these options, but for that you can found much better articles on internet, but in short you need to:

  • disable “secure boot
  • disable “UEFI mode
  • enable “legacy boot

Some nice articles with more details:

Cause 4: Chromebooks

A Chromebook is a normally a pretty nice laptop worth of the price, unfortunately they are lock to be used only with their useless ChromeOS system, unless you are able to unlock them! but to unlock them is even a more hard task than removing the secure boot from windows (they are not good doing things even when wants to do bad), for a chromebook you even need to open it! scary huh? In any case I can tell you that it worked without problems in an Acer C720 that personally tried, a pretty nice device for its price including touchscreen and nice speakers. If you try to unlock it I don’t suggest you to try some hacks, but instead to unlock it entirely from the hardware and changing the bios.


Is better to search yourself the info in google for your specific models, but I can at least give you good articles about it:

A magical solution for old computers that cannot boot from USB...

Since the Elive 2.0 Topaz version there’s a special boot parameter that makes you to be able to boot from USB from any kind of computer in the world! promised!

It consist in a very simple trick implemented in the internal code, you just need to add to the boot options the changedevice parameter, and when the system boots, it will ask you to insert the USB, then you just need to remove the cdrom / dvd and press Enter to continue, it will continue booting then from the USB contents since it has already loaded the internal kernel and module drivers, nice trick! don’t you think? :)

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This can be due to multiple reasons, just make sure that Elive is correctly installed, I can also suggest to use the automated partitioning mode, which will remove all your disk contents but should take the best choices for your system.

If you still cannot boot your computer then you may have a very bad BIOS, I have seen this before and it is the reason that there was added (since the version 2.4.6) a special option in the booting of the live-mode of Elive which allows you to boot from your hard disks (from the Advanced menu of the first Boot on Live mode)

Notes about my specific experience: In my personal case seems like the bios thinks that the main disk is the secondary disk, but there’s no secondary disk at all and so the bios (the computer itself) is simply unable to start booting the disk, so using those options I just need to select “boot from my secondary disk” and it is able to boot correctly, it is of course not the best way to do it but at least this computer is able to work, suspension instead of shutdown can help too. In any case I’m 90% convinced that if he reset the bios (loading default settings didn’t worked) could make the bios read again the correct identifiers of the disks and work back, but to open the entire computer and search for the switch requires time, maybe upgrading the bios can help too, if there’s any update at all.

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You can found this message trying to boot from a recent computer, if is your case you should try to append the boot parameter mem=1952M or other values to the boot parameters

This parameters tells the kernel how much memory your computer has, sometimes the BIOS don’t give the correct information and so you need to assign it.

Note that this option doesn’t always works magically and you need to play with different values, like 1024M (even if you have 4G), 512M, 2G, etc…

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installing (1)

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If you are a defender of the free software but you think that Elive is not free, you must know better what are you defending, you can start from here. Free software has no relation with gratis, please read this explanation from You need to know also that due to this confusion of terms, the word free software has changed to open source software in 1998. In short, free has no relation with cost, at all.

The payment is required to pay the development of Elive, the involved 14-hours per day of work from Developer ‘Thanatermesis’, to pay some extra development (whenever is possible to) and of course also all the hosting and related services. Think that more amount of money is made and the more better Elive can be. Unfortunately the reality shows that the amount received is not even enough for living, its not worth at all of the work, and Elive still exist since more than 10 years ago.

But anyways, if you are not happy with this, why you simply worry about? nobody forces you to use Elive, so if you think that the (small) payment is not worth, why just don’t skip and search a more worth distro? Ok, ok… maybe you -really- want to use Elive but still really not want to pay for it, but think on this very simple thing: If was not because of the payment, the development of Elive would have been stopped since 2006, where was decided to search a real job for living or trying to live from Elive, so at least you have the option, instad of not having it at all.

Final note: if you want to live in a non-capitalist world where is not needed to pay taxes or to pay for software, make a look to the venus project, it proposes a concept similar to the open source applied to the society, a civilization without monetary system, I would really like to live on this world and make Elive entirely for pleasure without request money, and happier to know that on this way more people would enjoy using it… unfortunately, I open the eyes and Im stuck in a capitalism system, but seriously: If you really don’t understand the need of the payment, then I must say… “don’t use Elive!”, basically because nobody obliges you to use it and because you don’t like it as the way it exist, so why to lost time complaining? if you really think that Elive is not worth of the minimal requirement, why just don’t ignore it? I don’t want to monopolize the world with Elive, I do not care at all if you use it or not, so just use anything that you want, you have thousands of alternatives, you have the choice.

Please click here if this helped you.
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