Tuesday, June 07, 2016

Bootable USB device for Mageia 5

If you Google "create a bootable USB drive in Linux" most of the returns you get will tell you to use Rufus for Windows or netbootin for Linux.

The problem is that Mageia no longer provides unetbootin and instead provides their own tool, IsoDumper. Still in development, IsoDumper can only save as a disk image of the existing files, write an image file to the USB device, or format the USB device with a FAT, NTFS or EXT filesystem. It would be nice if Mageia provided a bootable FreeDOS image for you so that you could easily do BIOS and firmware updates since Linux has yet to produce a usable tool for that.

It's always good to know how to do that from the command line if the GUI tools are not available, so that's what we will do.

You can get a USB image containing FreeDOS from this site. There are three different images depending on the size of your USB stick. Mine is 2GB, so I could choose either of the first two. I chose the second image.

Once downloaded, you need to uncompress the file like this:

$ bunzip2 FreeDOS-1.1-memstick-2-256M.img.bz2

Now it's simply a matter of using dd to copy the image file to the USB device. On my system, the USB device was detected as /dev/sdj and /dev/sdj1 was auto-mounted at /run/media//. That's OK to let it do that, no need to unmount it, just note what the device is named by your system. Note that we use dd to write to the device, not the filesystem that may be on it.

$ dd -if=FreeDOS-1.1-memstick-2-256M.img of=dev/sdj bs=512

For good measure, invoke the sync command and unmount the device.

$ sync && sudo umount /dev/sdj

Reinsert the USB device, allow the system to auto-mount it, and transfer whatever BIOS/firmware and installation program you need. Use the USB device to boot your computer which will leave you at a command prompt to invoke whatever installation program you have. I prefer to use autoexec.bat to run the commands for a hands-off update.


Rufus Download

unetbootin homepage

IsoDumper Homepage

dd manpage

FreeDOS for USB/PXE Homepage

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