booting from usb pen drive

Erwan Velu erwan at
Wed Nov 26 04:51:25 EST 2003

> The short answer is yes.  The long answer is, it depends on your BIOS. 
> Its kinda like a few years ago when some systems would boot from CD and
> some wouldn't.
Agreed but I've played a bit with it and it seems there is many way a
bios boot an usb key.

The usb key could be detected as a USB-FDD, USB-ZIP, USB-HDD, USB-CDROM.
The geometry & the bootloader you use could change the way it is
Many BIOSes don't give the choice between this options, there is only a
"Boot USB" option which usually equals USB-ZIP or USB-FDD.

Then if you are using a FAT filesystem you can use syslinux, or
grub/lilo on all the others (FAT included).

I'm using my usb key as a firmware/bios updater when PXE is not
available and/or for booting a rescue linux for repairing some linux

Best regards,

PS: On my Asus A7N8x-Deluxe, if the Bios Option "USB LEGACY MOUSE" is
not activated I can't boot on my usb key ! :((( I took some time to find
it. I've reported it to ASUS but no news, no fix :(. I know this is not
a usual Clustering Mobo but such trick could help some of you.
Erwan Velu
Linux Cluster Distribution Project Manager
43 rue d'aboukir 75002 Paris
Phone Number : +33 (0) 1 40 41 17 94
Fax Number   : +33 (0) 1 40 41 92 00
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