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Easy2Boot USB flash drive freezes BIOS

easy2boot syslinux grub4dos

Best Answer RobertoMN , 25 September 2021 - 08:00 AM

RMPrepUSB allows you to install grub4dos MBR, Syslinux MBR, standard NTLDR MBR, standard NT6 MBR. grub2 MBR, MSDOS and WEE MBR. So you could try those if you believe the MBR is the cause.

i.e.

1. Make a YUMI drive that does not cause a hang

2. Use RMPrepUSB - Drive Info to discover what the MBR is and what partitions were created

3. Install one of the available bootloaders onto the working YUMI drive - does it freeze system on boot?

4. Repeat 3 with various bootloaders.

I solved the problem by installing a grub2 MBR. I typed "grub-install /dev/sdd" and created the /boot/grub/grub.cfg file with the following content:

default=0
timeout=0
menuentry "Grub4Dos" {
insmod ntldr
ntldr /grldr
}

 

Now I can boot my Easy2Boot pendrive plugged on my computer, BIOS is not freezing with grub2. Thank you for your help.

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#1 RobertoMN

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Posted 20 September 2021 - 05:42 AM

I made an Easy2Boot USB flash drive following exactly the link instructions https://www.easy2boo...ke-using-linux/, but it freezes the BIOS when I turn on my computer if it is plugged in the USB port, even if I disable the usb boot in the bios. I can not turn on the computer if the pendrive is connected to it. My motherboard was manufactured in 2008 and there is no more update for the BIOS. The pendrive has two partitions, the first NTFS and the second FAT32. I noticed that the same pendrive worked well when YUMI was installed on it (only one partition). YUMI uses syslinux to boot, so I tried to fix my pendrive by changing it's mbr to syslinux. I performed the following commands:

syslinux -i -m -a -f -d / boot / syslinux f:

And I place the file "f: /boot/syslinux/syslinux.cfg" with the following content:

LABEL grub4dos
MENU LABEL Grub4dos
BOOT /grldr

The idea is to use syslinux to boot and chain load grub4dos so that the Easy2Boot menu appears. After this, the BIOS did not froze again and the computer turn on with the pendrive plugged, however when I try to boot the pendrive the following syslinux error is shown:

No child node, aborting...
No DEFAULT or UI configuration directive found!
boot:

I have already checked the files from the "f:/boot/syslinux" folder, they are there and their names are correct (ldlinux.c32, ldlinux.sys, syslinux.cfg).
I do not understand what is generating the error. What's happening? How to fix this?



#2 Wonko the Sane

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Posted 20 September 2021 - 07:43 AM

I don't think the grldr can be chainloaded directly by syslinux,

try instread:

KERNEL /grub.exe

 

or 

 

COM32 /chain.c32
APPEND ntldr=/grldr

 

Check:

https://rmprepusb.co...and-vice-versa/

 

Out of curiosity, which BIOS has your motherboard? Insyde?

There has been issues with some BIOSes, but I thought that they were solved.

 

If the Syslinux workaround works, good, otherwise you can still try a couple other ones, namely renaming the grldr to ntldr or bootmgr (or change the name of the boot file in the partition PBR) or try using the UMBR "special" MBR code.

 

:duff:

Wonko



#3 steve6375

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Posted 20 September 2021 - 08:13 AM

Interesting, please report all test results here.

 

P.S. When performing tests it is very important to keep all variables to a minimum.

1. Always switch off the PC - wait 10 seconds - then switch on - when booting to USB. Do NOT warm boot, restart, etc. This is because some BIOSes only detect the type of USB drive on power up and not restarting.

2. Always use the same USB port (avoid using any extension cables/hubs) and same USB drive.

3. Other USB devices that are connected can affect the behaviour on POST, so try re-ordering USB devices and disconnecting USB devices (e.g. you don't need a USB keyboard or mouse or SD reader if you set the BIOS to boot from the USB drive - does it still freeze?).

 

P.S. Can you use a Windows system to prepare the E2B USB drive? The boot code will be slightly different if you use use the Windows utility provided.


Edited by steve6375, 20 September 2021 - 10:59 AM.


#4 RobertoMN

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Posted 22 September 2021 - 09:53 AM

I don't think the grldr can be chainloaded directly by syslinux,

try instread:

KERNEL /grub.exe

 

or 

 

COM32 /chain.c32
APPEND ntldr=/grldr

 

Check:

https://rmprepusb.co...and-vice-versa/

 

Out of curiosity, which BIOS has your motherboard? Insyde?

There has been issues with some BIOSes, but I thought that they were solved.

 

If the Syslinux workaround works, good, otherwise you can still try a couple other ones, namely renaming the grldr to ntldr or bootmgr (or change the name of the boot file in the partition PBR) or try using the UMBR "special" MBR code.

 

:duff:

Wonko

You are wrong, grldr can be chainloaded directly by syslinux, I have already done it before, I did it in a pendrive that had syslinux and grub4dos on the same USB drive. This is not the problem, the fact is that even if I want to try the solution you posted (kernel /grub.exe) this is not possible because syslinux nor initializes, it crashes before enter the menu that I wrote, then the menu To run the grub4dos nor is it shown.
My motherboard is foxconn-45cmx-k, the BIOS is Phoenix Technologies, Ltd Version 6.0 (08/03/2008).



#5 RobertoMN

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Posted 22 September 2021 - 09:55 AM

Interesting, please report all test results here.

 

P.S. When performing tests it is very important to keep all variables to a minimum.

1. Always switch off the PC - wait 10 seconds - then switch on - when booting to USB. Do NOT warm boot, restart, etc. This is because some BIOSes only detect the type of USB drive on power up and not restarting.

2. Always use the same USB port (avoid using any extension cables/hubs) and same USB drive.

3. Other USB devices that are connected can affect the behaviour on POST, so try re-ordering USB devices and disconnecting USB devices (e.g. you don't need a USB keyboard or mouse or SD reader if you set the BIOS to boot from the USB drive - does it still freeze?).

 

P.S. Can you use a Windows system to prepare the E2B USB drive? The boot code will be slightly different if you use use the Windows utility provided.

I have already disconnected all the USB devices from the computer, but the same problem happens. I do not have a Windows 10 installation to create the boot device at the time, can I use Windows XP? I read that Windows XP can not be used because it does not access the second partition of the device. A Linux solution wold be best for me.



#6 steve6375

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Posted 22 September 2021 - 10:17 AM

You say that YUMI worked before. Does it still work now?

If so, what are contents of MBR and PBR of the YUMI USB drive?

You can use XP and RMPrepUSB.exe - Drive Info to display contents.



#7 steve6375

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Posted 22 September 2021 - 10:27 AM

You can also use RMPrepUSB.exe under XP to add grub4dos MBR and PBR. This may make a more compatible USB drive.



#8 Wonko the Sane

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Posted 22 September 2021 - 12:15 PM

but the

boot:

prompt is a sort of command line, you can enter the commands there temporarily, to see what happens.

 

There must have been *something wrong* in the syslinux installation if ti doesn't find the syslinux.cfg, but before fixing it I would check if manual commands work to boot grub4dos.

 

 

 

can I use Windows XP? I read that Windows XP can not be used because it does not access the second partition of the device. A Linux solution wold be best for me.

There are a few workarounds for that, JFYI.

The issue revolves around most USB sticks declaring themselves as "Removable" devices (and thus mounting only one partition in XP), usually the USB stick firmware can be set (via a manufacturer tool if available) set as "Fixed" device (once and for all), but it is easier/safer to use a filter driver, there are a few suitable ones, dummy.sys or the toshiba filter driver, but nowadays I would suggest the diskmod, see here:

http://reboot.pro/in...showtopic=22249

 

 

:duff:

Wonko



#9 RobertoMN

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Posted 23 September 2021 - 10:24 AM

You say that YUMI worked before. Does it still work now?

If so, what are contents of MBR and PBR of the YUMI USB drive?

You can use XP and RMPrepUSB.exe - Drive Info to display contents.

Yes, I tested the YUMI boot pendrive today, it's working perfectly. I used RMPrepUSB.exe under Windows XP to add grub4dos MBR and PBR, but the bios froze again. It seems that BIOS generates error with the grub4dos MBR. I need to use syslinux MBR so that the bios do not freezes when USB is connected. Can anyone help me fix syslinux boot? Why the Error "in the child node, aborting ..." and "in default or ui configuration directive found"? How to attach YUMI's MBR to this message? I did "sudo dd if=/dev/sdd of=yumi_mbr.bin bs=512 count=1" to save the MBR.



#10 RobertoMN

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Posted 23 September 2021 - 10:37 AM

but the

boot:

prompt is a sort of command line, you can enter the commands there temporarily, to see what happens.

 

There must have been *something wrong* in the syslinux installation if ti doesn't find the syslinux.cfg, but before fixing it I would check if manual commands work to boot grub4dos.

No command I write on the "Boot:" line runs. Thank you for talking about "diskmod", now i can access the driver second patition from Windows XP.



#11 Wonko the Sane

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Posted 23 September 2021 - 12:29 PM

Since you have XP running, try the standard XP MBR.

You can use mbrfix under XP to write it:

https://sysint.no/en/mbrfix/

Decide whether your first partition (active) is the NTFS or the FAT32 one.

Make sure that the volume chosen has the XP PBR (or if you prefer that it was formatted under XP).

Put in the root of the volume NTLDR (I cannot remember if NTDETECT.COM is also needed) and a BOOT.INI with these contents:

[boot loader]
Timeout=30
default=C:\grldr
[operating systems]
C:\grldr="grub4dos"

I have a couple oldish mini-PC's (more properly Thin Clients) with a (stupid) Insyde BIOS that could not boot from either grub4dos nor syslinux MBR, but that boot just fine with either the XP or the Plop MBR. (but I am talking many years ago, so it could have been with the whatever version of grub4dos and syslinux were current at the time).

More generally the Dos, 2K/XP and Vista/7 MBR's are like the most common ones so they tend to work everywhere because they are likely to have been tested by the BIOS developers.

 

Alternatively, since you have also a Linux of kinds at hand,  try again installing syslinux from Linux, the failed install might have been caused by a glitch in the matrix or by the install under Windows (the command line you posted looks fine).

 

:duff:

Wonko



#12 steve6375

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Posted 23 September 2021 - 03:39 PM

RMPrepUSB allows you to install grub4dos MBR, Syslinux MBR, standard NTLDR MBR, standard NT6 MBR. grub2 MBR, MSDOS and WEE MBR. So you could try those if you believe the MBR is the cause.

i.e.

1. Make a YUMI drive that does not cause a hang

2. Use RMPrepUSB - Drive Info to discover what the MBR is and what partitions were created

3. Install one of the available bootloaders onto the working YUMI drive - does it freeze system on boot?

4. Repeat 3 with various bootloaders.



#13 RobertoMN

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Posted 25 September 2021 - 07:43 AM

Since you have XP running, try the standard XP MBR.

You can use mbrfix under XP to write it:

https://sysint.no/en/mbrfix/

Decide whether your first partition (active) is the NTFS or the FAT32 one.

Make sure that the volume chosen has the XP PBR (or if you prefer that it was formatted under XP).

Put in the root of the volume NTLDR (I cannot remember if NTDETECT.COM is also needed) and a BOOT.INI with these contents:

[boot loader]
Timeout=30
default=C:\grldr
[operating systems]
C:\grldr="grub4dos"

I have a couple oldish mini-PC's (more properly Thin Clients) with a (stupid) Insyde BIOS that could not boot from either grub4dos nor syslinux MBR, but that boot just fine with either the XP or the Plop MBR. (but I am talking many years ago, so it could have been with the whatever version of grub4dos and syslinux were current at the time).

More generally the Dos, 2K/XP and Vista/7 MBR's are like the most common ones so they tend to work everywhere because they are likely to have been tested by the BIOS developers.

 

Alternatively, since you have also a Linux of kinds at hand,  try again installing syslinux from Linux, the failed install might have been caused by a glitch in the matrix or by the install under Windows (the command line you posted looks fine).

 

:duff:

Wonko

I did what you said, I used the mbrfix program to create a new MBR and added the NTLDR, NTDETECT.COM and BOOT.INI files to the first partition of the pendrive but it did not work. The following error message is displayed:
Error Loading Operating System

Even so, thank you for presenting the idea. Really use Windows MBR can avoid compatibility issues.



#14 RobertoMN

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Posted 25 September 2021 - 08:00 AM   Best Answer

RMPrepUSB allows you to install grub4dos MBR, Syslinux MBR, standard NTLDR MBR, standard NT6 MBR. grub2 MBR, MSDOS and WEE MBR. So you could try those if you believe the MBR is the cause.

i.e.

1. Make a YUMI drive that does not cause a hang

2. Use RMPrepUSB - Drive Info to discover what the MBR is and what partitions were created

3. Install one of the available bootloaders onto the working YUMI drive - does it freeze system on boot?

4. Repeat 3 with various bootloaders.

I solved the problem by installing a grub2 MBR. I typed "grub-install /dev/sdd" and created the /boot/grub/grub.cfg file with the following content:

default=0
timeout=0
menuentry "Grub4Dos" {
insmod ntldr
ntldr /grldr
}

 

Now I can boot my Easy2Boot pendrive plugged on my computer, BIOS is not freezing with grub2. Thank you for your help.



#15 steve6375

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Posted 25 September 2021 - 08:12 AM

sure, but we are no nearer solving the mystery - why does your system freeze when the USB drive is connected?

What is it about the contents of the sectors on the USB drive which has this affect?



#16 steve6375

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Posted 25 September 2021 - 08:22 AM

e.g.

1. Make a USB drive that freezes the system

2. Use dd to delete the MBR - e.g.  dd if=/dev/zero of=/dev/sdX bs=512 count=1, where sdX is the USB device

Does it still freeze on power-on?

If not then we know that the MBR alone is causing the freeze.



#17 steve6375

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Posted 25 September 2021 - 08:26 AM

If clearing the whole Sector in test above prevented the system from freezing then...

1. Make a USB drive that freezes the system

2. use dd to remove the boot code but not the partition table

dd if=/dev/zero of=/dev/sdX bs=446 count=1

 

Does it still freeze the system?



#18 Wonko the Sane

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Posted 25 September 2021 - 01:52 PM

I did what you said, I used the mbrfix program to create a new MBR and added the NTLDR, NTDETECT.COM and BOOT.INI files to the first partition of the pendrive but it did not work. The following error message is displayed:
Error Loading Operating System

Even so, thank you for presenting the idea. Really use Windows MBR can avoid compatibility issues.

 

The string "Error Loading Operating System" is in the XP MBR that has:

Invalid partition table

Error loading operating system

Missing operating system

messages.

 

SInce you get over the first one (that revolves around checking the partition table), the issue is likely in the partition/volume bootsector, very likely there is something in the BPB (Bios Parameter Block) that is "wrong".

 

But are you still using the syslinux bootsector or did you restore the XP one?

 

Usually programs like MBRFIX, RMPREPUSB and the various bootloader/bootmanager installing programs write new code to the VBR/PBR while keeping the BPB intact (correctly), so you won't fix the base issue with any of those, and that would explain nicely why the syslinux install was "botched" (Syslinux ultimately loads the VBR/PBR to chainload ldlinux).

 

Other loaders (such as grub2) that happily bypass a large part of the VBR/PBR may get away with it.

 

Still, as Steve6375 said, it is strange that the computer freezes even when you choose not to boot from it (that it fails, halts, or catches fire :w00t: :ph34r:) when you try to boot from it is "normal", but the mere presence on the stick on a USB port causing the freeze is "queer",

 

:duff:

Wonko






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