How to Boot from a USB Drive without BIOS support

Do you own a laptop/desktop which does not Boot from a USB Device but your BIOS does not support booting from it. If your BIOS does not provide you the functanility you can induce the funcantliuty so boot you machine from any bootable USB device known.

Sure you can use a DVD/CD – ROM Drive to boot your live CD but why to go thru all the hassle of burning a CD when you can use a reliable USB device.. you can also save the cost of buying blank CD’s 😉 and protect the environment..

Prerequisite: I am assuming that your PC has Linux installed on it preferably a Ubuntu variant. I am using Xubuntu 12.04 (substitute the commands according for your Ubuntu variant)

Let us see how…

Step 1: Download the Plop Boot manager from here (Download the latest version [zip file])

Step 2: Extract the zip file where it was downloaded. Mine was downloaded in the Download folder under your home directory..

Step 3: Press Alt+F2 to launch the Application Finder and type the following :

gksudo thunar /

(for ubuntu use "nautilus" instead of "thunar")

To launch the file manager with root privileges. You will be presented with a dialogue box to enter password.. authenticate. Now you will see the contents of the root [/] folder (with root privileges).

Step 4: Once you in the root folder, open the /boot folder.

Step 5: Now go to the folder you extracted in Step 2 and within that folder click on the Linux folder. In that folder you will find two files: “plpbt.bin” and “plpcfgbt” . Copy and paste these files to the /boot folder you opened in Step 4.

Step 6: Once the files are copied into the /boot folder, open the following file in texteditor

gksudo leafpad /etc/grub.d/40_custom

(use "gedit" instead of "leafpad" for Ubuntu)

and type the following in the file as it is..

menuentry "Hacked USB Boot" {
    insmod ext2
    set root='hd0,msdos1'
    search --no-floppy --fs-uuid --set=root a1209b62-19f7-4a07-bf45-bc8a8fbd85b9    
    linux16 /boot/plpbt.bin

Make sure you add at least two blank lines after last curly-brace. Save it.

The 40_custom file should look like this

Step 7: Make sure you saved the 40_custom file in the last step. Exit all windows. Open Terminal and type the following..

sudo update-grub

Now, your grub will be updated. To verify that the new entry is added to the grub.conf, open the file /boot/grub/grub.conf and verify the entry by searching “40_custom” in the file.

Step 8: Reboot your machine with your Live USB plugged in. If you have a single OS Ubuntu/Xubunt then you need to press shift key at the time of booting to show the grub boot manager. Select ” Hacked USB Boot ” and boot from your USB Drive. 🙂

When you select the USB option in the PLOP Boot manager.. press SHIFT + Enter key combo to boot from the USB Drive..

I hope you have successfully booted your machine from the USB by now. enjoy..

Till next time.. Be Curious.. 🙂

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