Solved Need a 'workaround': BIOS doesn't facilitate USB Boot

December 15, 2014 at 15:24:55
Specs: XP
XP SP3 on Dell Dimension 4600
BIOS A08, 1/15/2004
This BIOS has no provision to allow USB devices to boot.
I want to dual-boot linux - have HDD partitioned, and one partition formatted ext3 for linux.

I have spent more time on this than I can afford, but "gotta git 'er dun"!

Thanks in advance for your help.


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✔ Best Answer
December 15, 2014 at 23:02:22
Found on a Dell site - after a lot of rabbit trails:

"Somehow, I doubt you're going to be able to configure a 4600 to boot from a USB key. USB keys were just starting to become popular when those machines were designed."

This was way down on a post about flashing the BIOS.

I have looked at the posts and decided to attempt adding a 'stray' DVD-R/RW to this machine, because I know my DVD is good = it loaded on another machine, and all that needed to be done was click the icon that said 'install'. Really can't get much more simple than that.

Thanks to all of you for attempting to help. I'm just tired of trying to beat this horse into submission. [Honey catches more flies than vinegar, anyway!]

You all have a very Merry Christmas and a Happy and Blessed New Year! Ya hear?



#1
December 15, 2014 at 15:53:05
You can install Linux from a CD.

Download the distros ISO image file and burn as image to make it bootable.


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#2
December 15, 2014 at 16:09:20
"This BIOS has no provision to allow USB devices to boot"
The USB device has to be plugged in, before the bios will see it.

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#3
December 15, 2014 at 16:23:36
Yes, the USB DVD+/- R,RW was plugged in! [Somebody has to find a mistake or we aren't having enough 'fun', right!?]
The *.iso in bootable form is almost a DVD-full ... don't think a CD will handle the job.

I 'could' buy a DVD for the box ... not here in town, though.

Anyone know how to do this over LAN? Both Win7 and iMac are available, and they both have DVDs.


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Related Solutions

#4
December 15, 2014 at 16:28:12
"The *.iso in bootable form is almost a DVD-full"
I don't use CD/DVD's any more.

Rufus
http://www.softpedia.com/get/System...
http://www.freewarefiles.com/Rufus_...
http://www.freewarefiles.com/screen...
http://rufus.akeo.ie/
UEFI
Select the GPT partition scheme for UEFI computers.


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#5
December 15, 2014 at 16:32:06
You say the Dimension 4600 bios doesn't allow a usb boot? The Dell support area seems to imply otherwise...

http://www.dell.com/support/article...

Whilst not answering your specific question, the above link may at least guide you more clearly in terms of accessing the bios settings and inspecting the usb option; which it seems is actually enabled by default - even if not set as first boot device. Boot order is a specific page in the bios settings, and usually first boot is either hdd or cd/dvd, and other devices can be moved up to first option.

And way down the page in this Dell discussion it appears to support Johnw re' ensuring the bootable device (media)is connected at time of power on/boot up; which will then boot.... (All things being equal, shipshape 'n Bristol fashion...)

http://en.community.dell.com/suppor...

Whilst it refers to a flash drive, may apply equally to a usb drive?


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#6
December 15, 2014 at 16:37:54
Another point, try different USB ports.

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#7
December 15, 2014 at 16:42:00
Linux over a lan...

Never tried it but this guide may be of interest...

http://www.tldp.org/HOWTO/Network-I...

You will need a boot floppy of sorts, so hopefully the 4600 has one?

http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread....

http://tinyurl.com/npw63nm

And youtube...

http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=mPARmf...

Haven't tested any of the above, but they seem reasonably viable?


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#8
December 15, 2014 at 17:56:18
My Dell Dimension 2400 does USB boot, but that's a USB pen drive boot. Yours too probably. You can get those distros for USB sticks as well. Done right you may be able to load USB/CDROM drivers such that your data is now accessible with a stick boot, but I have never gone there and done that. I have only seen the drivers for same and concluded that this page was NOT for me and my USB stick as I don't even have a USB/CDROM drive to start with. F12 for boot selection at power up. F2 to enter setup, you will probably need a ps2 keyboard next? Search for Rufus, very small non-installed pen drive formatter and iso writer - works great here for 9x boot installing Win98 via USB stick. The world is almost overrun with Linux USB pen drive formatters for to make them boot linux and install it. Page I reference is bootdisk.com but they want to sell you the drivers - with a little leg work you can find them on your own. Great place to start:
http://www.computing.net/dos/wwwboa...

Lee


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#9
December 15, 2014 at 23:02:22
✔ Best Answer
Found on a Dell site - after a lot of rabbit trails:

"Somehow, I doubt you're going to be able to configure a 4600 to boot from a USB key. USB keys were just starting to become popular when those machines were designed."

This was way down on a post about flashing the BIOS.

I have looked at the posts and decided to attempt adding a 'stray' DVD-R/RW to this machine, because I know my DVD is good = it loaded on another machine, and all that needed to be done was click the icon that said 'install'. Really can't get much more simple than that.

Thanks to all of you for attempting to help. I'm just tired of trying to beat this horse into submission. [Honey catches more flies than vinegar, anyway!]

You all have a very Merry Christmas and a Happy and Blessed New Year! Ya hear?


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#10
February 15, 2015 at 03:42:00
Not just a little ironical that you found that sage advise on a deeply tucked away BIOS update page and on a Dell support site to boot. Your 4600 system and my 2400 were born 3 days apart back in june 03. Yet mine at BIOS level A05 can boot usb and yours at BIOS level A08 can not? Did you even notice that Dell offers for you A12 version of BIOS while on that page? First google hit for a Dell site and only three down with a search for dell dimension 4600. I take it you're much better at beating horses into submission?

One other comment I have to make is that Dell requires the USB jump drive be inserted before power up or you don't get a USB device listing to select if you then press F12 to make a boot choice. With drive present at power up the numbers for choices change as well. It's a different boot choice menu depending only on if you have a USB drive already inserted. How were you going to boot from it if it wasn't plugged in? Now you can talk all you want to about simple.

This post really isn't about you, you have your solution I take it. It's more for the next guy that might actually apply some common sense while trying to help himself first.

Lee


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#11
February 17, 2015 at 19:54:41
Have you considered installing Linux from within Windows using WUBI?

https://wiki.ubuntu.com/WubiGuide


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