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Ubuntu USB boot problem workaround

There are so many options for making an Ubuntu boot USB memory stick now that it becomes a convenient method to propagate a new system to several systems with a clean install. Most fairly current machines will boot off USB but sometimes there are problems. Whatever. If you already have Ubuntu installed with GRUB on the hard drive, you can boot the USB without having to change BIOS settings or fussing with the BIOS bootability of the USB device,

  1. At the Grub menu press ‘c’ to get to the command line.
  2. find /wubi.exe‘ – that looks for a file at the root of the USB stick with a recent Ubuntu install system. You should get a (hd1,0) or some such that tells you the USB drive and partition identification.
  3. root (hd1,0)‘ – this sets the root device, use the results from your find (step 2) if not (hd1,0)
  4. chainloader +1‘ – this loads the first sector on the root partition
  5. boot‘ – executes the boot that was loaded

This should boot the system you have installed on your USB memory device.

see the Grub manual command section for more about these commands. The Ubuntu Guide describes this process and some alternatives for USB booting.

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