Install GRUB2 on USB from Ubuntu Linux

How to Install Grub2 on USB from Linux: In the following tutorial, I'll show you one way to easily install Grub2 to a USB Flash Drive from a running Live Ubuntu Operating Environment. I personally used an Ubuntu Live CD to perform all of the following steps.

Note: This Grub2 USB Flash Drive Install tutorial assumes you will be running from an Ubuntu Live CD to create your Grub2 enabled Flash Drive. It may or may not work from another Linux operating environment.
Grub2 USB Install From Ubuntu Live CD Essentials:

  • Ubuntu Live CD --
  • A PC that can boot from USB/CD
  • 1GB or larger USB Flash Drive
  • No Fear of the Terminal

Grub2 USB Flash Drive Install using the Ubuntu Live CD:

Before proceeding, take note:
Old versions of grub used --root-directory=/mnt/USB
while current versions use --boot-directory=/mnt/USB/boot

If you do use the wrong syntax, you will receive an error stating "Installation is impossible. Aborting"

  1. Boot from your Live Ubuntu Linux CD
  2. Once booted, insert your USB Flash Drive
  3. Open a terminal and type sudo su
  4. Type fdisk -l (and note which device is your USB)
  5. Type mkdir /mnt/USB && mount /dev/sdx1 /mnt/USB (replacing x with your actual usb device)
  6. Type grub-install --force --no-floppy --boot-directory=/mnt/USB/boot /dev/sdx (replacing  x with your actual USB device)
  7. Type cd /mnt/USB/boot/grub
  8. Type wget pendrivelinux.com/downloads/grub.cfg
  9. Type df (and locate where cdrom is mounted I.E./dev/sr0)
  10. Type dd if=/dev/sr0 of=/mnt/USB/ubuntu.iso (replacing sr0 with the device found in step 9)
  11. Remove your Live CD and reboot your PC, setting your BIOS or Boot Menu to boot from the USB device.

If all goes well, you should now be booting into your Grub2 prepared USB Flash Drive, with a Grub2 Boot Menu option to Boot from the Ubuntu ISO you copied to your USB in step 10.

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