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I'm trying to make my 32GB flash drive bootable with archlinux. Beginning from release 2010.05, all ISO files can be directly written to USB media. So, what I've did:

dd if=archlinux.iso of=/dev/sdc

Copying has succesfully finished, but I still can't boot from my flash drive.

Are there any additional things, that I should to do? Or, maybe, some flash drive is not able to be bootable? Or what I've missed?

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Pro tip: use cp instead of dd. No fiddling with blocksizes, works well and is less complicated to use, thus involving less errors. Remeber to sync afterwards. – Max Ried Jun 22 at 5:19

3 Answers 3

I want to post my experience.

It took me a while to understand how to create a live-usb with arch linux. The solution is simple. I just wrote:

$ dd if=/adress/of/iso-file of=/adress/of/usb-stick/sda/not/sdaY/don't/write/the/partition/number

I worked a lot with gnome disk utility and gparted. It's okay to clear the partition table of the USB-Stick.

One interesting fact is important. If dd ends with just 100-400 files, then something went wrong. Sometimes it took more time but I abborted because I didn't want to wait so long. Then I did once until it's finished. I'm sure it took about 20 minutes that time and suddely dd shows up with about 10000 files correctly transmitted. I booted the stick and everything works fine. I didn't know about the amount of files and I think if you do it the way I did (as you can see I didn't use the bs=part) and wait about 30 minutes, everything should be fine.

An USB 3.0 stick really can help you.

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(1) How is what you did different from what the OP did?  (2) What are you talking about with dd transmitting files? – G-Man Jun 22 at 2:47
(3) Note that this answer is identical (down to the same typos) to this one on Unix & Linux (by the same new user). – G-Man Jun 22 at 3:05
up vote 1 down vote accepted

Oh, problem was on computer side. And it start to works, when I manually chose my flash drive to boot.

But I don't know why the boot device priority with flash drive on the top hadn't made the same effect.

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I think you will have to create a FAT32 partition (so, say, /dev/sdc1) that is the same size as the ISO, then use dd to copy to it. Then use parted or some other tool to mark the partition as bootable. If it is the same device, then you would type parted /dev/sdc then type set 1 boot on.

I'm not certain about this, so make sure you use the right device and that you've backed up everything important off it if you haven't already.

EDIT: unetbootin might be able to make the process easier. It specifically says it supports ArchLinux 2010.05.

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This won't make a difference, dd will overwrite the partition table anyway. – Rob Jul 24 '12 at 18:35
@Rob Not if you specify a partition rather than the device, i.e. "create a FAT32 partition... then use dd to copy to it [the partition /dev/sdc1]." – Doddy Jul 25 '12 at 19:12
I'm bad at reading, you're right. – Rob Jul 26 '12 at 4:36

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