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If from any reason you are not able to install Ubuntu Lucid Lynx Linux from conventional CD/DVD-ROM or you just do not want to walk around with cd's, there is always an option to use USB memory stick to do this job. This short tutorial will describe this simple task from preparing your USB stick, load a Ubuntu Lucid Lynx Linux image and finishing with boot process. Although this guide describes this procedure specifically for Ubuntu Lucid Lynx Linux i386, it can be used with simple modifications to create Ubuntu USB install stick for any Ubuntu versions available including different architectures.

1. Download boot images

First we need to download two files:

The current version of lucid-desktop-i386.iso image needed for installation can be downloaded from the Ubuntu Lucid Lynx mirror. Download it and save it somewhere into your home directory along with boot.img.gz which contains all installer files.

2. Prepare USB stick

Find USB device name Plug in your USB stick and find its device file name by:

fdisk -l

For the rest of this guide we are going to use /dev/sdb as our target.
WARNING: DO NOT COPY AND PASTE COMMANDS FROM THIS PAGE UNLESS YOUR TARGET DEVICE IS ALSO /dev/sdb !!

2.1. Create FAT16 partition

Next we need to create FAT16 partition. For this we can use cfdisk with -z option.

This command will completely remove all your data from your USB stick, so backup first !:

cfdisk -z /dev/sdb

and create a first primary partition with the minimal size of 1000MB and leave the rest unpartitioned or create second partition with some other filesystem for normal use of your USB stick.

Your partitioned USB stick may look like this:

Disk /dev/sdb: 2064 MB, 2064646144 bytes
255 heads, 63 sectors/track, 251 cylinders
Units = cylinders of 16065 * 512 = 8225280 bytes
Disk identifier: 0x00000000

Device Boot Start End Blocks Id System
/dev/sdb1 1 122 979933+ 6 FAT16
/dev/sdb2 123 251 1036192+ b W95 FAT32

NOTE: it is fine to create a single partition with full size of your USB memory stick but you will not be able to use the rest of the memory available on your USB stick

3. Copy a boot image to USB partition

At this stage we need to copy previously downloaded boot.img.gz to first partition of our USB drive which in our case is /dev/sdb1:

NOTE: although boot.img.gz has less that 20MB it will expand to more than 750MB to be able fit entire installation image so following command may take some time !

zcat /path/to/your/downloaded/boot.img.gz > /dev/sdb1

4. Copy Ubuntu Lucid Lynx Linux ISO

At this point is time to copy Ubuntu Lucid Lynx Linux image to our /dev/sdb1 partition. To do that we need to mount /dev/sdb1:

# mkdir /mnt/sdb1
# mount /dev/sdb1 /mnt/sdb1
# cp /path/to/your/downloaded/lucid-desktop-i386.iso /mnt/sdb1
# umount /mnt/sdb1

5. Install Master Boot Record

To be able boot from our USB stick a MBR ( Master Boot Record ) needs to be installed.

# install-mbr /dev/sdb 

if you do not have a install-mbr command available install mbr package:

# apt-get install mbr

At this stage all should be ready to boot from USB stick and install Ubuntu Lucid Lynx Linux.

6. Change BIOS boot settings and boot

Place your USB stick into to USB port of your PC / Laptop and change BIOS settings to boot from USB HDD . After reboot you will see MBR FA: press "a" followed by "1" and ENTER.



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