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#1 2013-11-01 18:14:21

geo909
Member
Registered: 2008-09-07
Posts: 276

[SOLVED] Cannot boot USB installation media

Hi all,

I have had my fair amount of formats on my 2008-bought inspiron 1525 dell laptop,
and never had any problem installing arch linux using USB installation media. Now
I need to format again and install arch linux. I only have access to windows XP for
now, but both the universal USB installer and Unetbootin failed to create a bootable
usb stick with today's latest arch linux core iso (November 1st). I further tried to
change the label to ARCH_201311 but the same problem occurs: when I boot from
my usb I get:

boot/syslinux/shichsys_c32: not a COM32R image

I believe this is the first time that I stuck like this, not being able to boot the
installation media.

I started reading around and realized for the first time that there is this EFI vs BIOS
story that I had never heard before, although apparently BIOS is not used anymore
since a couple of years ago. I suspect that my problem is related to that?

Could somebody give me any directions to what I should do from here and where
my problem comes from? I'm a bit lost..

Many thanks in advance.

EDIT: I don't know if that makes any difference, but I already dual boot windows XP
with an old broken arch installation that does not boot anymore. Let me know if you
need any further info

Last edited by geo909 (2013-11-02 23:12:46)

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#2 2013-11-01 18:22:57

the.ridikulus.rat
Member
From: Indiana, USA
Registered: 2011-10-04
Posts: 765

Re: [SOLVED] Cannot boot USB installation media

geo909 wrote:
boot/syslinux/shichsys_c32: not a COM32R image

This error is because you are trying to use syslinux v6 *.c32 files (used by Arch) from syslinux v4 (currently installed in the USB). They are incompatible. You need to manually install syslinux v6 in your USB https://wiki.archlinux.org/index.php/Sy … al_install. Do not forget to update the MBR as well.

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#3 2013-11-01 18:50:46

geo909
Member
Registered: 2008-09-07
Posts: 276

Re: [SOLVED] Cannot boot USB installation media

the.ridikulus.rat wrote:

This error is because you are trying to use syslinux v6 *.c32 files (used by Arch) from syslinux v4 (currently installed in the USB). They are incompatible.

Thanks. Would that mean that if I use a different media, e.g. a CD, I won't have that problem?

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#4 2013-11-02 10:51:09

the.ridikulus.rat
Member
From: Indiana, USA
Registered: 2011-10-04
Posts: 765

Re: [SOLVED] Cannot boot USB installation media

geo909 wrote:
the.ridikulus.rat wrote:

This error is because you are trying to use syslinux v6 *.c32 files (used by Arch) from syslinux v4 (currently installed in the USB). They are incompatible.

Thanks. Would that mean that if I use a different media, e.g. a CD, I won't have that problem?

No, I meant, the MBR code (syslinux stage 1), ldlinux.sys (syslinux stage 2, installed by "extlinux" command) and the *.c32 files (syslinux modules) should be from the same syslinux version. You should not mix files from different syslinux versions. Sometimes you will get boot failure when you mix even files from different minor versions, eg. 6.00 and 6.02 (which is the latest release ATM).

The "Bootable USB Creators" programs in Windows typically include their own copy of syslinux which they use to install the MBR and ldlinux.sys (stages 1 and 2) but simply copy the *.c32 files available in the ISO, they do not overwrite the *.c32 files already present in the iso with the *.c32 files from their own copy of syslinux. I guess the USB creators include syslinux 4.xx version (mostly 4.06 or 4.07) and the Arch iso contains files from syslinux 6.xx (either 6.01 or 6.02). Therefore you have a version mismatch and syslinux fails to boot.

Since syslinux 6.xx is a major change from syslinux 4.xx versions, it is obvious it is failing to boot. You can infer that from the error message "boot/syslinux/whichsys_c32: not a COM32R image", since the *.c32 files in syslinux 6.xx are not COM32 files (they are ELF), but syslinux 4.xx ldlinux.sys expects COM32 *.c32 files. Hope this helps.

EDIT 1: The closest doc regarding manual install of syslinux from within Windows I can find is http://www.syslinux.org/wiki/index.php/ … _and_Vista . But this is not complete IMO.

EDIT 2: See http://www.syslinux.org/wiki/index.php/ … .2F2K.2FXP

Last edited by the.ridikulus.rat (2013-11-08 09:27:44)

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#5 2013-11-02 18:32:47

geo909
Member
Registered: 2008-09-07
Posts: 276

Re: [SOLVED] Cannot boot USB installation media

the.ridikulus.rat wrote:
geo909 wrote:
the.ridikulus.rat wrote:

This error is because you are trying to use syslinux v6 *.c32 files (used by Arch) from syslinux v4 (currently installed in the USB). They are incompatible.

Thanks. Would that mean that if I use a different media, e.g. a CD, I won't have that problem?

No, I meant, the MBR code (syslinux stage 1), ldlinux.sys (syslinux stage 2, installed by "extlinux" command) and the *.c32 files (syslinux modules) should be from the same syslinux version. You should not mix files from different syslinux versions. Sometimes you will get boot failure when you mix even files from different minor versions, eg. 6.00 and 6.02 (which is the latest release ATM).

The "Bootable USB Creators" programs in Windows typically include their own copy of syslinux which they use to install the MBR and ldlinux.sys (stages 1 and 2) but simply copy the *.c32 files available in the ISO, they do not overwrite the *.c32 files already present in the iso with the *.c32 files from their own copy of syslinux. I guess the USB creators include syslinux 4.xx version (mostly 4.06 or 4.07) and the Arch iso contains files from syslinux 6.xx (either 6.01 or 6.02). Therefore you have a version mismatch and syslinux fails to boot.

Since syslinux 6.xx is a major change from syslinux 4.xx versions, it is obvious it is failing to boot. You can infer that from the error message "boot/syslinux/shichsys_c32: not a COM32R image", since the *.c32 files in syslinux 6.xx are not COM32 files (they are ELF), but syslinux 4.xx ldlinux.sys expects COM32 *.c32 files. Hope this helps.

EDIT 1: The closest doc regarding manual install of syslinux from within Windows I can find is http://www.syslinux.org/wiki/index.php/ … _and_Vista . But this is not complete IMO.

EDIT 2: See http://www.syslinux.org/wiki/index.php/ … .2F2K.2FXP

Many thanks!! Mystery solved. I did go out in the meanwhile and bought a CD, and sure
enough it worked with no problems and I'm writing now from my arch installation. I will
keep that in mind for next time.

The "Bootable USB Creators" programs in Windows typically include their own copy of syslinux which they use to install the MBR and ldlinux.sys (stages 1 and 2) but simply copy the *.c32 files available in the ISO, they do not overwrite the *.c32 files already present in the iso with the *.c32 files from their own copy of syslinux. I guess the USB creators include syslinux 4.xx version (mostly 4.06 or 4.07) and the Arch iso contains files from syslinux 6.xx (either 6.01 or 6.02). Therefore you have a version mismatch and syslinux fails to boot.

Just curious, what would be the reason for doing so? It obviously creates problems..

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#6 2013-11-02 21:27:15

Hydranix
Member
Registered: 2013-02-10
Posts: 49

Re: [SOLVED] Cannot boot USB installation media

geo909 wrote:

Just curious, what would be the reason for doing so? It obviously creates problems..



A multitude of reasons.

Typically the tools on windows were created back when 4.x was the current version.


You can always download syslinux/extlinux for windows and write the MBR and stage2 files yourself. They also include all the required modules.

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#7 2013-11-02 23:11:45

geo909
Member
Registered: 2008-09-07
Posts: 276

Re: [SOLVED] Cannot boot USB installation media

Hydranix wrote:
geo909 wrote:

Just curious, what would be the reason for doing so? It obviously creates problems..



A multitude of reasons.

Typically the tools on windows were created back when 4.x was the current version.


You can always download syslinux/extlinux for windows and write the MBR and stage2 files yourself. They also include all the required modules.

Thanks..

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#8 2014-04-02 13:41:35

Saren
Member
Registered: 2014-04-02
Posts: 12

Re: [SOLVED] Cannot boot USB installation media

Registered few minutes before just to say something more about this solved problem.
Sorry for bumping old thread.

I had the same problem too, I was using Universal USB installer but it gave me the same error as OP's
then I switched to a generic USB ISO writer like the url below, it wrote the ISO directly to the USB drive, and the problem got solved.
https://www.dropbox.com/s/4bb85gjv8iuyp … er-1.1.zip

Last edited by Saren (2014-04-02 13:41:55)

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#9 2014-04-03 14:13:43

raccoon
Member
From: Austria
Registered: 2014-01-27
Posts: 4

Re: [SOLVED] Cannot boot USB installation media

Hello,

I used the program recommended by Saren, but I downloaded v1.2 from Sourceforge: http://sourceforge.net/projects/usbwriter

Everything works as expected.

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#10 2014-04-14 04:15:45

simbasad24
Member
From: Chandannagar, India
Registered: 2014-04-13
Posts: 8

Re: [SOLVED] Cannot boot USB installation media


Keep It Simple, Stupid

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#11 2014-05-21 09:32:09

jooch
Member
From: The Netherlands
Registered: 2010-03-09
Posts: 7
Website

Re: [SOLVED] Cannot boot USB installation media

@the.ridikulus.rat
Thanks for the excellent write up on the subject.

I was never able to make iso's bootable with unetbootin. At first i thought something was wrong with my config. Then i discovered the dd method which worked fine, albeit a little clumsy.
live-usb-install is the solution i've been looking for, even better than unetbootin.

I have been frustrated with this problem for a long time, so thanks!

Last edited by jooch (2014-05-21 09:42:08)

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