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The main computer for Elive development is an old Core2duo, if you have some more recent hardware that you don't use and you want to donate it to Elive it will be very appreciated :)

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Booting your computer with Elive

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…

Pick your flavour

Tags: boot, error, faq, usb

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

Here is the list of function keys used by a manufacturer:

  • Acer – F2 or delete
  • Asus – F2, F9 or delete
  • Compaq – F10
  • Dell – F2
  • Emachines – tab or delete
  • HP – Escape, F1 or F10
  • Lenovo – F1 or F2
  • NEC – F2
  • Packard Bell – F1 or F2
  • Samsung – F2 or F10
  • Sharp – F2
  • Sony – F1, F2 or F3
  • Toshiba – Escape, F1, F2 or F12

If your computer uses those newer BIOS that ships with Windows 8 with the restriction to use other operating systems, you need to enter in your BIOS setup and basically:

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

If you need more info about the UEFI and “Secure Boot” of the bios make a look to our other FAQ article

There’s some other interesting articles about this topic:

Pick your flavour

There are multiple reasons that your computer will not be able to boot from USB but in any case we will help you to boot from USB with a few tricks 🙂

Make sure to...

  • The USB is min. 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 suggested to load Elive on it, most of the “bootable maker tools” changes the internal structure of the system, which is not reliable most of the time (and in very small cases it can help you to make to boot it)
  • If your computer comes with Microsoft Windows 8 or bigger you may need to disable the UEFI and other options from the BIOS first
  • Your computer is not a Chromebook, see Cause 4
  • If these solutions fail, 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.

Solution

  • 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

Solution

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:

Solution

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, they are not hard to do and you can just follow these 3 very simple steps from our other FAQ’s

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.

Solution

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? 🙂

Pick your flavour

Tags: bios, boot, faq, problem, usb

For record the old Stable 2.0 version:

To boot the Stable 2.0 version Topaz from USB, it will not work because the structure was not made for it, but you can use a tool like unetbootin that can make it work (it modifies the bootable files), you can download our own copy of an old version that we know that it works.

Beta versions:

Use the DVD or the USB one?

For sure you should use the IMG file to record your USB’s, they includes specific and well configured partitions to boot your computer with Elive including the most reliable options, you can also create a second partition later if you want to use the rest of the disk for your data

By other side, there’s some few computers that they are unable to read the USB-HDD modes and the only way to boot from an USB is using the .ISO image instead, so you can try to use this one in case the .img fails

Check all the common issues with different computers if you still having problems booting from USB.

You need an USB of at least 4 GB of space from a reliable trademark, most of cheap USB devices are unable to boot live systems.

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From Windows

There’s simple graphical tools that writes correctly the images on the USB devices, like:

With them, select the downloaded .img of Elive (for USB), pick your USB media and write it, that’s all! Be sure to follow the other instructions to make your computer to boot from USB and the common causes of possible problems.

Note: if the USB doesn’t boot in your computer you can try to write the .iso image instead of the .img one, sometimes there’s computers that doesn’t recognize the .img structures and only boots from the .iso ones (configured as hybrid to be able to boot from usb’s too)

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From any Linux

From a graphical tool

Some Linux distributions has available a tool called USB-ImageWritewhich is compatible with our format, you can use both the .img or the .iso images on it

From terminal (suggested)

You should use the famous ‘dd’  from a terminal, the syntax is very simple:

$ sudo dd if=your_downloaded_elive_image.img of=/dev/yourdeviceusb bs=4M
$ sync

In more detail, you should open a terminal where the downloaded image (iso or usb) of Elive is downloaded, the “if=” will tell to use this image and the “of=” will say where to dump the image into, which is the name of the USB device where you are going to record it

Important: all the data of this device is going to be removed. Also please note that this command is very dangerous if you use a wrong device in the “of=” parameter, in other words if you say to dump it in your hard disk it will delete all your contents entirely, no matter what

You should always double-check if the “of=” is the correct device to use, you can also run “sudo gparted” to visually see the name of each device much better

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From Mac

In Mac you can use too the ‘dd’ command, with the help of diskutil too:

$ diskutil list
$ sudo dd if=your_downloaded_elive_image.img of=/dev/yourdeviceusb bs=1M
$ sync

Check the details listed for the Linux part too, the “diskutil list” line will show you where is your usb device

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From Elive

In the stable versions of Elive you can already found a small graphical application to record Elive in your USB’s, much more friendly and secure, specially because only the USB devices are listed and you can see everything more graphically.

You can hit “Alt + ESC” to run the launch and type the “usb-bootable-elive” tool.

Pick your flavour

Tags: boot, faq, record, usb