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I am able to a USB bootable memory stick (My motherboard is a Gigabyte EP31-DS3L see Fig 2) using either Universal USB Installer or unetbootin if I have formatted the drive before hand to FAT see Fig 1.

Fig1

enter image description here

However if I choose FAT32 I am unable to boot and get the following displayed:

SYSLINUX 3.86 2010-04-01 CBIO Copyright (C) 1994-2010 H. Peter Anvin et al
No DEFAULT or UI configuration directive found!
boot: _

I know there isn't an issue with the USB stick as it works successfully on another machine.

Question What are the disadvantages of using FAT over FAT32 for a USB linux distro?

Fig 2

My motherboard is a Gigabyte EP31-DS3L and I am on version F5F

enter image description here

Update

I have recently brought a 32gb USB memory stick and am no longer able to format this as FAT which prevents me from creating a bootable stick. Any solution to enabling this to boot as a FAT32 disk would be great.

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Try latest boot maker –  totti Aug 21 '13 at 10:06
    
Which OS's you are trying to boot(Ubuntu?) and from which OS (Windows?). Try another linux Image. –  totti Aug 21 '13 at 10:08
    
I've tried various distros and each failed :/ Ubuntu, ElementaryOS, Etc... I believe it's my BIOS. –  Malachi Aug 21 '13 at 19:55

2 Answers 2

First, the reason why the 32GB stick isn't working is that FAT16 has a filesystem size limit of 2GiB (4GiB with 64K cluster sizes). Is your working USB stick under 4GB?

In regards to fixing the boot issue, a quick google search has turned up this result: http://www.geekzground.com/index/?p=27

Open the USB installation media, then rename the following:

isolinux –> syslinux (folder)

isolinux.bin –> syslinux.bin

isolinux.cfg –> syslinux.cfg

See if this works for you.

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I managed to 'Hack' it to work by using BOOTICE to create a 2GB partition... The media already has a syslinux folder which was created by the installer. –  Malachi Aug 21 '13 at 19:56

Your bios has issues with ANY boot-partition on USB larger than 2 GB.
This is quite common. I have seen it on a lot of machines and not just with Gigabyte motherboards (HP has it too in a lot of desktop and laptop models).

The file-system (FAT or FAT32) doesn't actually matter.
Both will work if the first partition is < 2 GB.

You already found the solution using BOOTICE: Make a small boot-partition just under 2 GB and make a second partition for the rest of the data.
Unfortunately that won't help if you really need to keep everything within 1 partition.

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