Make a USB Boot CD for Ubuntu 9.10 or 10.04

How to create a USB Boot CD that can be used to boot your Ubuntu Live USB Flash Drive from a computer with a BIOS that doesn't support booting from USB. The USB Boot CD you create via this tutorial will contain the USB drivers necessary to open a USB connection. GRUB is used to launch initrd (Initial Ram Filesystem) from the CD.  The Initial Ram Filesystem then locates the squash filesystem and persistent casper-rw persistence block file on the USB device and proceeds to boot the Live USB Persistent environment.

Essentials to make a USB Boot CD for Ubuntu

  • PC with a BIOS that does not support booting from USB
  • PC that does support Booting from USB or the Live CD
  • USB flash drive with Ubuntu preinstalled
  • Working CD Burner and USB Port
  • Active Internet Connection

How to Make a USB Boot CD for Booting a Ubuntu Flash Drive

Note: We prefer to perform the following steps by booting from a prebuilt Ubuntu 10.04 Live USB on a machine that does support booting from USB. This allows us to free up the CD Burner and use it to burn the final ISO.

  1. Insert your Ubuntu Live USB or Live CD and restart your computer, booting from the CD or Live USB
  2. Open a Terminal (Applications > Accessories > Terminal)
  3. Type sudo apt-get install grub
  4. Type mkdir -p ubcd/boot/grub
  5. Type cp /usr/lib/grub/i386-pc/stage2_eltorito ubcd/boot/grub
  6. Type gedit ubcd/boot/grub/menu.lst
    Add the following information to your menu.lst file and click save:

    title Start Ubuntu from USB DISK
    root (cd)
    kernel /boot/vmlinuz file=/cdrom/preseed/ubuntu.seed boot=casper noprompt cdrom-detect/try-usb=true persistent
    initrd /boot/initrd.lz
    boot

  7. Type cp /cdrom/casper/vmlinuz ~/ubcd/boot
  8. Type sudo gedit /etc/initramfs-tools/modules
    Add the following lines to the modules file and click save:

    usbcore
    usb-storage
    uhci_hcd
    ohci_hcd
    ehci_hcd
    sd_mod
    scsi_mod

  9. Type sudo gedit /etc/initramfs-tools/initramfs.conf
    Add the following line to the bottom of the file and click save:

    WAIT=8

  10. Type sudo mkinitramfs -o ubcd/boot/initrd.lz
  11. Type mkisofs -R -b boot/grub/stage2_eltorito -no-emul-boot -boot-load-size 4 -boot-info-table -o usbcd.iso ubcd
  12. Insert a blank CD and type brasero -i usbcd.iso (to burn the usbcd.iso to a CD)
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