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Offline zebedeeboss

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New Software to make a bootable ISO
« on: June 15, 2016, 10:18:05 am »
Hi all

Saw this on Google+ so wanted to bring it to the technical experts here to give their opinion. A new "safer" way to make a bootable USB stick ?   Bold Claims

http://www.etcher.io/

As usual Thanks in advance for you input

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Offline zebedeeboss

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Re: New Software to make a bootable ISO
« Reply #1 on: June 15, 2016, 12:04:01 pm »
Hi
I can confirm it does work as stated. Make a bootable USB of Peppermint that works
I will give it a run and see how it fairs.
I would still like some input tho   :D
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Online murraymint

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Re: New Software to make a bootable ISO
« Reply #2 on: June 15, 2016, 12:05:34 pm »
Does it boot on a UEFI machine? Is it running as a web app but taking the .iso from your local drive?

Offline zebedeeboss

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Re: New Software to make a bootable ISO
« Reply #3 on: June 15, 2016, 12:15:44 pm »
Hi
I just used it to re-install Peppermint to my UEFI Lenovo laptop (the machine I used in my Win 8.1 experiment) - so that is fine
no idea on the second, which is why I asked for the techies to look at it for us
and yes it took the iso I pointed too on my hdd
Regards
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Offline Slim.Fatz

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Re: New Software to make a bootable ISO
« Reply #4 on: June 15, 2016, 01:27:19 pm »
Hi Kyle and zebedeeboss,

Whether the distro you put on the bootable USB (made bootable by using the etcher software) will boot on UEFI machines is, to the best of my knowledge, dependent on the distro and its ability to permit this -- but does not depend on the method used by etcher to make the USB device bootable and to put the distro onto the bootable USB stick/drive. In other words, a distro such as Peppermint Five (which did not "support" or permit installation and booting on an UEFI machine will not be magically altered into a form that will permit this occur.

PCNetSpec will be able to answer this more definitively (and probably more correctly) than I.

Regards,

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Online murraymint

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Re: New Software to make a bootable ISO
« Reply #5 on: June 15, 2016, 02:00:45 pm »
It's not as simple as that, SlimFatz. If a UEFI distro won't boot after it's been put onto USB from Linux, it often will if you use Rufus (Windows program).

Offline Slim.Fatz

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Re: New Software to make a bootable ISO
« Reply #6 on: June 15, 2016, 03:55:19 pm »
Hi murraymint,

I understand your point -- but you are already starting with an UEFI-compatible distro (according to what you have just stated). And so your argument fails.

But take a distro that is not UEFI-compatible and show me a program to create a bootable USB that will also install the non-compatible distro and make it compatible with UEFI and I will then concede.  ;)

And BTW: I did not intend to imply that the situation is simple. On the contrary, I mean to imply that it is more complex than just adding a distro to a bootable USB device using some magic software technique that etcher has developed -- but perhaps I am incorrect in thinking this...

Regards,

-- Slim
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Re: New Software to make a bootable ISO
« Reply #7 on: June 15, 2016, 04:53:38 pm »
Quote from: Slim.Fatz link=topic=3655.msg36641
I understand your point -- but you are already starting with an UEFI-compatible distro (according to what you have just stated). And so your argument fails.


It's not an argument that can fail, it's what I've observed in real life. You don't understand how it can happen and neither do I but there's nothing here to disagree on.

« Last Edit: June 15, 2016, 05:07:23 pm by murraymint »

Offline zebedeeboss

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Re: New Software to make a bootable ISO
« Reply #8 on: June 15, 2016, 11:38:38 pm »
Hi Kyle and zebedeeboss,

Whether the distro you put on the bootable USB (made bootable by using the etcher software) will boot on UEFI machines is, to the best of my knowledge, dependent on the distro and its ability to permit this -- but does not depend on the method used by etcher to make the USB device bootable and to put the distro onto the bootable USB stick/drive. In other words, a distro such as Peppermint Five (which did not "support" or permit installation and booting on an UEFI machine will not be magically altered into a form that will permit this occur.

PCNetSpec will be able to answer this more definitively (and probably more correctly) than I.

Regards,

-- Slim

Hi Slim.Fatz
No one said it "could" make a non compliant UEFI distro compliant. I just happen to have chosen a "Fully" compliant distro in Peppermint6.  murraymint's question was valid in his context and I knew immediately where his question was coming from as a number of Distro's "Claiming" to be UEFI compliant are not and it is made more difficult to track down the problem by various "tools" failing to "write" the ISO correctly.  Too many times, I have had to revert to using Rufus to get things to "work" correctly.  Etcher are not claiming any magic other than a workable/bootable USB stick every time.  I have yet to validate that claim as I have only made 1so far but it would be nice to finally find a reliable "easy" tool to use in Linux.
Regards Zeb...
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Offline Slim.Fatz

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Re: New Software to make a bootable ISO
« Reply #9 on: June 15, 2016, 11:50:47 pm »
OK, I follow you now.  ;D

Yes, it would be nice to find a good tool that woks all of the time. I have not had any trouble with the mkUSB script, -- but then I probably do not use it nearly as much as active distro hoppers.

Regards,

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Offline PCNetSpec

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Re: New Software to make a bootable ISO
« Reply #10 on: June 16, 2016, 05:28:44 am »
There is no 100% reliable way to write an ISO9660 image to a USB stick because too many variables come into play, and you have to remember SYSLINUX and LiveUSB was always a bit of a hack to begin with, trying to 'con' the BIOS to boot an unpacked CD/DVD image.

The most reliable method is to do a 1:1 clone, so the USB stick contains the  same ISO9660 (CD/DVD) file system ass the CD/DVD the ISO was meant for (this requires that the ISO authors made the image 'isohybrid' .. this will NOT give you persistence, but it is the most reliable as effectively you're presenting the system with a DVDROM, but even this is not 100% reliable because of two things.

a) the USB controller in the USB stick
and
b) the way your BIOS handles USB

Theoretically UEFI (discounting secureboot) shouldn't present any more of a challenge, yet its implementation sometimes does.

AFAIK (but I could be wrong) Rufus does the same as the USB Image Writer in Peppermint 6 & 7, or 'dd', or Win32 Disk Imager .. a 1:1 clone of the ISO9660 file system, which is why it doesn't offer persistence.

The only other thing Rufus could possible be doing that might assist UEFI (which I doubt) would be to run isohbrid with the --uefi parameter on the ISO image before writing it to the USB .. I have seen distros that have done everything correctly where UEFI is concerned then made their ISO 'isohybrid' but forgot the --uefi parameter so when you make a 1:1 clone it won't boot on UEFI
« Last Edit: June 16, 2016, 05:41:28 am by PCNetSpec »
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Offline zebedeeboss

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Re: New Software to make a bootable ISO
« Reply #11 on: June 16, 2016, 07:07:06 am »
Hi PCNetSpec
Thanks for jumping in with the "Techie" details.
My only problem with 1:1 cloning is your USB drive then takes on the size of the iso image written.  So my 16gb Sandisk becomes a 1.2  or 1.8 or 2.5 depending on the size of the ISO image last written.   The ONLY way (unless I been doing it all wrong) is to boot into linux - fire up gparted and blast it back to the correct size...
Regards Zeb..

ps I just used the USB drive again to install another Distro on the lappy as a test and etcher recognised it as a 16gb drive / made the USB OK and I now have have two UEFI compatible Distro's (Peppermint and Ubu Mate) installed and Win 8.1.
« Last Edit: June 17, 2016, 05:12:52 pm by zebedeeboss »
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Offline PCNetSpec

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Re: New Software to make a bootable ISO
« Reply #12 on: June 16, 2016, 07:22:26 am »
Yep 1:1 cloning (at least in its basic form) will effectively make the USB stick only visible by the system as the size of the original image as that's the way ISO9660 works with the entire file system becoming unwriteable

I haven't really looked into the inner workings of either Rufus or this new thingy.

There ARE other ways of achieving similar results .. a few apps existed (prior to UEFI) such as MultiSystem that actually just wrote the ISO image (still as an ISO) to the USB stick then used SYSLINUX to boot them via a clever menu structure and loop mounting them.

Maybe Rufus and this new software do something similar but by adding a  proper UEFI boot partition to the USB stick .. even that though won't be 100% reliable simply because there's no standard for BIOS/UEFI and USB controllers (at least prior to USB3, I'm not sure about them) that allowed for booting, so not all USB sticks work reliably with all BIOS's

The most reliable method is still to write the image 1:1 as ISO9660 .. but yeah, that  means you'll have to reformat the USB stick if you want to use it as mass storage.

At the end of the day, ALL of these methods are 'hacks' trying to make an ISO9660 image bootable in a way it wasn't intended, so non of them will be 100% reliable in all circumstances .. even 1:1 cloning isn't 100% as older BIOS's won't recognise ISO9660 on USB mass storage devices properly.

I can only assume there was no standard because Microsoft didn't push for one .. they didn't need (or originally want) Windows to work from removeable media other than ISO9660 (CD/DVD) as an installation media .. I'm not suggesting they actively fought against it, just that they never pushed for it.
(indeed even today, Windows won't allow you to install it to removeable media, even for use on the same PC .. though you can now use it on removeable media as an installation media, but it comes with the same problems, it's not 100% reliable in all situations for the exact same reasons)



Quote
The ONLY way (unless I been doing it all wrong) is to boot into linux - fire up gparted and blast it back to the correct size...

It can be done in windows too .. you just need to write a new partition table to the stick as the ISO9660 file system will have destroyed the standard partition table.
« Last Edit: June 16, 2016, 07:56:10 am by PCNetSpec »
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Online murraymint

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Re: New Software to make a bootable ISO
« Reply #13 on: June 16, 2016, 08:54:45 am »

Theoretically UEFI (discounting secureboot) shouldn't present any more of a challenge, yet its implementation sometimes does.

A million times this. UEFI is a massive pain in the proverbial but it looks like we're stuck with it from now on. If only motherboard manufacturers would iron out a standard implementation of it but who's going to make that happen?

Online murraymint

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Re: New Software to make a bootable ISO
« Reply #14 on: July 22, 2016, 01:52:51 pm »
I wasn't keen on running this in a web browser but here's a version of Etcher you can download and use locally:

https://bintray.com/probono/AppImages/Etcher#files

You need to make it executable and run it as sudo. I'm hoping this will save me from having to drag Windows HDs out of storage to make bootable USBs!