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Frequently Asked Questions

Use the Search feature in the menu to find your answer. Our Forums also include more FAQs and a very friendly active user’s community.

Booting your computer with Elive

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.

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 (pressing TAB key in the first boot menu)


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: 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…


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.


Apple / Mac users: You will simply need to power-on the computer with the USB stick inserted while the Option/alt(⌥) key is pressed.

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


List of function keys used commonly by 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
  • Lenovo Thinkpad – F12
  • 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 (or more recent) with the “feature” to restriction to use on it 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


Other interesting articles about this topic:

Download Elive

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 :)

  • The USB is min. 4 GB and is from a known trademark (suggestion: Sandisk Ultra or Extreme)
  • You know the Magic “F-num” 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
  • Some computers can only boot from one of their USB ports, make sure to try from all of them if doesn’t boots
  • If these solutions fail, try to upgrade your BIOS firmware

Apple / Mac users: You will simply need to power-on the computer with the USB stick inserted while the Option/alt(⌥) key is pressed.

No USB boot?

– You can try the “plop linux bios extender” boot loader which can help making it boot on old computers
– Use the “changedevice” boot parameter to continue the boot from USB if you booted from CD (note: USB 1.0 are extremely slow!)

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 monopolistic strategy 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, they are not hard to do and you can How to disable UEFI mode in the BIOS on windowsjust 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.


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

Cause 5: Apple / Macs


You will simply need to power-on the computer with the USB stick inserted while the Option/alt(⌥) key is pressed.

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? :)

Download Stable

If you need to disable UEFI boot option from the BIOS to be able to boot from USB any linux system that the windows 8 default settings don’t allow, you basically need to follow 3 simple steps:

  1. Press Shift while you click in the icon that looks like a power button and without release it select the option that says Reboot
  2. You will enter in a menu, select the option “Solve Problems” or “troubleshooting” and then search for UEFI settings option if you have it, or “boot options” or something similar
  3. It will reboot your computer, then it will automatically enter in the BIOS or you need to enter on it by using the F1 or ESC key (maybe is another key in your computer, read the boot messages, it is not possible to enter in the bios if you don’t do the previous steps).

Now you just need to browse inside your BIOS settings and mark these options, they can look a bit different in every computer, some ones don’t even exists, and you need to change these settings:

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

Save the settings and reboot your computer (probably the key F10), maybe you need to run the Boot Menu in order to select the USB to boot from, How to open the boot menu check our other FAQ link for this.

Important: Some computers can only boot from one of their USB ports, you should try from all of them if your boot fails.

Some nice articles with more details:

Don’t waste time with unreliable operating systems, download Elive entirely cost-free!

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The IMG (usb) image is much improved and should be the correct choice to use with USB’s, it also features persistence. By other side, there’s some few rare computers that they are unable to read the USB-HDD structure 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. Finally, if your computer is unable to boot from USB we have a special trick for this.


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 (Sandisk Ultra or Extreme is recommended). By technical reasons some of cheap USB devices are unable to boot live systems.

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We recommend to use this simple and reliable graphical tool:



With it, 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 Elive:

Use the usb-bootable-elive included tool which is simple to use and safe, you can also record images of other Linux OS’s using this tool


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 (advanced)

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

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

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 it will overwrite all the data of this device entirely, so always triple-check your device, run “sudo gparted” to visually see the name of them.

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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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  • Some computers can only boot from one of their USB ports, make sure to try from all of them if doesn’t boots
  • You need to have disabled in your BIOS the options “Secure Boot”, “UEFI”, and also, enable “Legacy Mode” and “CSM”

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For the version 2.0 Topaz specifically, use unetbootin, not other tool like ‘dd’, because it make it work by modifying the bootable files since this version was not made to boot from USB, you can download our own copy of an old version that we know that it works.

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Elive Topic

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Category: Elive Topic

You should know that ‘free’ has nothing to do with ‘gratis’, in fact, the GNU website strongly encourages you to sell free software. And due to this confusion of terms, the word free software has changed to open source software in 1998.


Contrary to some beliefs, Elive is not a commercial distro and has not an enterprise behind it, it is managed by a single person, which sometimes receives extra help and sometimes pays for extra services like programming.


Since more than 12 years, Elive has been supported and continued as an alive project thanks to the payment required to install (or to download, which has been in the past), unfortunately this is a need on this capitalist system and limits a lot Elive to be expanded to new horizons.


Elive is always searching ways to not force the users to pay like giving free installations in exchange to articles, an automated detection of 20 poorest country’s to not include the payment, invitation codes, etc…


So in the end, there was always a more deep desire to give it for free than make it paying, so nothing restricts you to use Elive without need to pay, and in the same time nobody forces you to use Elive, you have the choice.


Extra: 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.

Category: Elive Topic