A FOB STORY: some notes on bootable flash drives

Stuff that doesn't work ... yet

There are a couple of things I haven’t been able to get working, so the “Swiss Army” flash drive isn’t perfect.  Any suggestions and/or fixes would be very welcome.

Windows repair CDs (their ISOs, actually) can be loop-mounted and booted.  Once running, they haven’t been able to find the target OS on HDD for repair, at least in my testing.  I suspect it’s just the way they’re coded, but if there’s a work-around, that would be just peachy.

This boots, but isn’t useful:

menuentry "Windows 7 SP1 repair 64-bit ISO" {
    linux16 /boot/isolinux/memdisk-6.02 iso raw
    initrd16 /bootable/iso/Windows-7-SP1-64-bit-Repair-Disc.iso
}

Likewise, Acronis in UEFI mode also fails.  If the contents of a recent Acronis CD or USB media is copied to the root of the flash drive, it will boot in UEFI mode.  Chainloading its UEFI boot loader – after moving Acronis another directory – fails with a “bootwiz.efi  error“:

menuentry "Acronis UEFI chainload" {
   chainloader "/bootable/Recovery Manager/bootwiz.efi"
}

ISO booting, or extracting the .dat files and booting directly both fail with “unable to handle kernel paging request“:

menuentry "acronis 2014 bootable media ISO boot" {
set isofile="/bootable/iso/Acronis-2014-Recovery.iso"
    loopback loop $isofile
    linux (loop)"/Recovery Manager/kernel64.dat"
    initrd (loop)"/Recovery Manager/ramdisk64.dat"
}
menuentry "acronis 2014 bootable media unpacked" {
    linux "/Recovery Manager/kernel64.dat"
    initrd "/Recovery Manager/ramdisk64.dat"
}

12 December 2016 update:  it is now possible to boot an Acronis ISO in UEFI and legacy modes.  I’m working on the details and will update this article soon.  Or later… hoping to get to it…

Lenovo Twist issues:

The Twist has some issues when booting Ubuntu on flash.  After a cold boot, often the mouse and keyboard don’t work.  After a warm reboot from Windows or Ubuntu keyboard and mouse work.  External USB keyboard and mouse work even when the inbuilt ones don’t, but that’s not very convenient.

After a “bad” boot, the laptop does respond to a quick press of the power button and brings up the shutdown menu.  More good news: the touchscreen seems to work.  Press the power button once to bring up the shutdown menu, then press the reboot icon.  Fn-F12, then boot Ubuntu.  Better than nothing, I guess…

It’s possible that different Ubuntu start-up options would get around this.  Once in a while, though, this happens before Ubuntu is even booted.  The keyboard works to select the BIOS boot menu (Fn-F12) but is dead once the menu comes up.  This may indicate a Twist BIOS problem, rather than a Ubuntu problem.  Further investigation is warranted…

Minor Twist issue: no wifi with Ubuntu 14.04.1.  There may be an updated driver available.

Well, that’s the end of this soliloquy.  If you’ve made it this far, I admire your fortitude!  Again, corrections and additions are very welcome.

The G.

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