Ubuntu Karmic Live persistent USB won't boot after first update.

Asked by Ashkan_Akhavein on 2010-02-02

I have installed Ubuntu 9.10 Karmic Koala on a USB drive using
directions given at pendrivelinux.com.

Everything works fine but after running the update manager for the first time and
downloading/installing the updates, it requests a reboot and after rebooting the system,
it just won't come up.

Unfortunately I couldn't capture the error since it was in a text-only prompt.

I tried it twice: once with grub updates and with default options of grub update
and once without grub update. Both failed to boot.

Please help. I am an obsessive person and will literally suffer if I don't get the latest updates.


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Can you boot to the older kernel?
Have you fsck'd the device to check for errors?


Thank you for taking the time to answer my question.

I don't know what you mean by booting to the older kernel,but
I use the final release of Karmic Koala and I suppose the update
process didn't upgrade the kernel? I don't know, sorry for my lack
of knowledge.

I didn't check the device for errors but I think there is none
because after the failure of Karmic USB to boot I quick formatted
the drive in Windows Vista and re-installed Karmic on it and everything was
fine again,just like before the update attempt.

Thanks again for your response.

Anyone? Anything?

If you have solved the issue please mark as solved.


Just wanted to note that this isn't solved.
Still waiting for suggestion/answer.

Thank you.

Jeremy Visser (jeremy-visser) said : #6

You really need to find out what updates are causing the breakage.

Start with the linux-image-* updates and the grub updates — they are the most likely candidates. If they succeed, then try more updates.

If you don't want to break your system again, I'm sorry, but if you want to help fix the problem, then that's what you'll have to be prepared to do.

Thank You Jeremy.

I'll try installing different updates and see what happens in a few
weeks.(right now I really can't risk the health of my system.)

And BTW,is there any difference between marking/applying upgrades
via Synaptic package manager and using the update manager from
the administration menu?

And one other thing, as I mentioned before,I tried installing all updates BUT grub once,and
again the same thing happened.does that rule out grub as the culprit?

thanks again.

Jeremy Visser (jeremy-visser) said : #8

Updating from the Update Manager or Synaptic is exactly the same.

And yeah, I'd say grub is not the likely culprit. Doubly so because I just checked out the pendrivelinux.com website, and it looks like it uses the original live fs, with a casper-rw partition. The live system doesn't use GRUB to boot — it uses isolinux (or syslinux if installed to a USB flash drive) to boot.

I have to say, I really don't recommend installing updates on a setup like that. Partly because it is not really designed to be updated in that fashion, and partly because it is not really designed to be used as an everyday system, and partly because it is inefficient — the original system is stored intact, with the old versions still stored in the image. So if you update most of the system, you will be taking up twice the disk space you should.

Instead, I would install the system to the flash drive like you would to a normal hard drive. That way, the flash drive is directly formatted with an ext4 filesystem (or you should use ext2 if you are concerned about wear and tear from journalling), and can be updated in the same fashion as an ordinary desktop install.

I have done it before, and I know it works (though I can't remember whether I did it from the live CD or alternate CD, and whether it was graphical or not, because I did it so long ago).

Hi Again!

Wow! that was a quick response! :)

Actually "installing" Ubuntu on an USB flash drive would be nice.(since I can't
install it on my PC 'cause other people are using it and they can not cope even
with a dual boot system.So,I kinda use my Ubuntu pendrive as my own personal OS)

Does installing Ubuntu on USB flashdrive interfere with Windows boot loader anyhow?

Thank you very much.

Jeremy Visser (jeremy-visser) said : #10

I just booted an Ubuntu live CD with a flash drive plugged in, and I confirm that the flash drive appears as an installable target in the installer. I didn't actually try installing though, as I didn't want to format the drive.

It won't interfere with the Windows bootloader, as long as on the Advanced page of the last page of the Install wizard, you make sure the GRUB bootloader won't be installed on the Windows drive.

I'm not sure if GRUB can boot from flash drives. If not, then once it's installed, we can replace the GRUB bootloader with a syslinux bootloader, which will work the same way. Then, you will have a completely readable and writable system, on which installing updates should be much more efficient and resilient.

Launchpad Janitor (janitor) said : #11

This question was expired because it remained in the 'Open' state without activity for the last 15 days.