how to boot usb stick from grub (no BIOS support)

Asked by Rolf Leggewie on 2010-12-31

I've been told that the newest grub2 includes modules for USB support and should be able to boot a USB-attached device even if the underlying BIOS is too old to support this. I was given the URL http://grub.enbug.org/USBSupport but even after I input "insmod uhci;insmod usbms" at the grub prompt "ls -l" still only lists the internal HD.

How can I boot from a USB stick on my Thinkpad X20 where the BIOS is too old to support that?

The internal hard drive has a full ubuntu installation, so I can use grub2 and anything else that's available from there.

Question information

Language:
English Edit question
Status:
Answered
For:
Ubuntu grub2 Edit question
Assignee:
No assignee Edit question
Last query:
2010-12-31
Last reply:
2011-01-01
delance (olivier-delance) said : #1

"I've been told that the newest grub2 includes modules for USB support and should be able to boot a USB-attached device even if the underlying BIOS is too old to support this." No, Grub's programmers are not wizard. It's simply impossible!
You have any solution, but to install a new firmwire to BIOS EEPROM, it it exists.
What's underlying problem ?

There is a floppy image on pendrivelinux which allows you to boot floppy and will make the usb boot. May sort you out

Rolf Leggewie (r0lf) said : #3

Thanks to both of you for having a look. Actionparship, yours would be a good idea if the Thinkpad X20 had a flopyy, but it doesn't. Back to square one. Olivier, I think your answer used to be correct but not any longer. grub2 has recently grown some usb modules and the lack of those was what previously made your comment correct but it's no longer true.

delance (olivier-delance) said : #4

If the BIOS doesn't try to read USB device, it will never read new modules installed on this USB device.
Perhaps the problem you talk is, BIOS tried to read USB device and bootloader installed on USB stick was wrong.
If you have not a USB option in boot order, you will never boot.
If you have a USB option, it should exist a solution.

Tom (tom6) said : #5

Hi :)

I think this sort of thing is something the Grub2 (upstream) developers are working on at the moment. The module/patch/update might have reached alpha testing but i haven't been following the list too closely lately. If you are willing to alpha-test things for grub2 then this mailing list is quite useful

http://lists.gnu.org/mailman/listinfo/grub-devel

Note that most packages are tweaked by Ubuntu developers before being accepted into Ubuntu repositories so going upstream can sometimes produce unexpected differences. I think it would be good if the upstream one was alpha&beta tested in Ubuntu so that the amount of tweaks needed is kept to a minimum. But i am not quite sure how this all works so maybe it doesn't make much difference. Beta testing doesn't require much programming or trouble-shooting skills as people can help guide you through getting the right logs. Beta testing helps us get the required level of Quality Testing done faster so that updates can be released faster. It can give you the advantage of having extra functionality faster

Regards from
Tom :)

Sebastian Powell (telattract) said : #6

I apologize I did not mean to be a source for answers about Ubuntu ...It is
actually I that needs help for I am brand new to this system and have very
little skill sets when it comes to knowing my way around....I do apologize,
I can assure you though that the level of knowledge and help that I have
received amongst the Open Source / Launch Pad and Overall Ubuntu help
experience has been more than adequate, in fact down right helpful...so I AM
SURE SOMEONE WILL ANSWER YOUR QUESTIONS PROPERLY AND BEST OF LUCK!

Respectfully,

Sebastian Powell

On Fri, Dec 31, 2010 at 9:54 PM, Tom
<email address hidden>wrote:

> Question #139728 on grub2 in ubuntu changed:
> https://answers.launchpad.net/ubuntu/+source/grub2/+question/139728
>
> Status: Open => Answered
>
> Tom proposed the following answer:
> Hi :)
>
> I think this sort of thing is something the Grub2 (upstream) developers
> are working on at the moment. The module/patch/update might have
> reached alpha testing but i haven't been following the list too closely
> lately. If you are willing to alpha-test things for grub2 then this
> mailing list is quite useful
>
> http://lists.gnu.org/mailman/listinfo/grub-devel
>
> Note that most packages are tweaked by Ubuntu developers before being
> accepted into Ubuntu repositories so going upstream can sometimes
> produce unexpected differences. I think it would be good if the
> upstream one was alpha&beta tested in Ubuntu so that the amount of
> tweaks needed is kept to a minimum. But i am not quite sure how this
> all works so maybe it doesn't make much difference. Beta testing
> doesn't require much programming or trouble-shooting skills as people
> can help guide you through getting the right logs. Beta testing helps
> us get the required level of Quality Testing done faster so that updates
> can be released faster. It can give you the advantage of having extra
> functionality faster
>
> Regards from
> Tom :)
>
> --
> You received this question notification because you are an answer
> contact for Ubuntu.
>

Tom (tom6) said : #7

Sebastian :)

Don't worry. People are here answering. You are not being relied on! you can help if you want with an odd comment occasionally or you can ignore, either way you can be sure there are other people here helping people.

The fastest way to clear you in-box is to sort the inbox by subject (just click at the top of the column on the word "subject"). Then scroll down the list to find subjects that start with
Re: [Question #
[Question #
and that should help you be able to delete batches of emails all at the same time. I would click on the first one and then scroll down to the last one and then press Shift&click to select them all to delete.

Please visit your personal page
https://launchpad.net/~telattract
to unsubscribe yourself as "answer contact" or unsubscribe from being notified of questions in certain categories.

Good luck and regards from
Tom :)

Roger R. Cruz (roger-r-cruz) said : #8

I tried insmod uhci and insmod usbms on my Ubuntu 1.99~rc1 grub version and then plugged in a USB FAT-formatted stick and it did not see it when I typed ls -l on my Lenovo T500. However, as soon as plugged in a different brand USB stick, it showed both. If I remove it, I can see my original stick. So maybe your problem is that it doesn't like the USB stick you use.. have you tried different brands?

Roger R. Cruz

Roger R. Cruz (roger-r-cruz) said : #9

I meant "I _can't _ see my original stick" once I remove the other brand.

Tom (tom6) said : #10

Hi :)
This is a very old thread so hopefully the person has resolved the issue somehow! It is good to have a look through old questions occasionally but it's probably better to focus on the newest ones and try to go back a day or few at most if you have time.

Good work though chap :)
Good to see :))
Regards from
Tom :)

darkonc (samuel-bcgreen) said : #11

try to insmod usbms and ehci .

ohci and uhci are usb1.x drivers (slow=1mb/s max) while ehci is usb2 (480mb/s max)

Can you help with this problem?

Provide an answer of your own, or ask Rolf Leggewie for more information if necessary.

To post a message you must log in.