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Old 07-27-2010, 08:19 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default One flash drive boots, the other doesn't, but they both mount!

Hello all, this is just a general question I've been looking for an answer to for a long time. Normally I just lurk the Linux forum, but I figure I'll pick your brains with this one...
I have two flash drives, a 4GB Kingston DataTraveler and a 16GB SanDisk Cruzer. When plugged in to any computer running any operating system they both work wonderfully, mounting properly and storing data. I work as a sysadmin for a professor here at my school, and occasionally I need to boot linux from a live USB to fix a broken/failing computer. I generally use Unetbootin to create it, but I've used other methods. I've tried to boot from both drives and only the 16GB drive works... most of the time. A few computers including my primary laptop, an Acer Aspire 5920G, will boot from both of them. My netbook, an Acer Aspire One D150, will not, and it's newer than my laptop. Most of the computers here at work are very old, anywhere from 1-10+years (some of these beasts are running Fedora Core 1). None of them will boot from the 4GB, but all work with the 16GB.
Does anyone know why? The only thing I can think of is the U3 partition on the 16GB that fools computers into thinking it's a CD (or something like that). Still, why would a computer be much more likely to boot from a live CD than a live USB? If it's a driver problem, wouldn't Unetbootin take care of that? All of these computers have the ability in BIOS, and I've set the boot order to boot from USB Device, but they either skip it completely or just kinda hang at bootup. I could understand why both work or why both don't work, but why one and not the other?
The main reason I finally decided to post is because I left my 16GB at my parents house when I visited last weekend, and only have the 4GB. I have 5 busted computers here and no CDs!
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Old 07-28-2010, 10:54 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: One flash drive boots, the other doesn't, but they both mount!

I have a feeling it is how the U3 based one communicates with the PC, as they are literally, a different breed of flash drives.
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Old 07-28-2010, 12:02 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: One flash drive boots, the other doesn't, but they both mount!

Not all flash drives are bootable, I know kingston have one series that are totally imposable to work with for bootable media.
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Old 07-28-2010, 02:29 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: One flash drive boots, the other doesn't, but they both mount!

I just tried my coworker's Ativa 4GB drive, and it doesn't work either. It's gotta be the U3 thing. Before now I always thought it was annoying when two icons popped up for one drive. I've tried several times to clear that little 5MB partition, but I'm glad I failed.
It still doesn't really make sense to me though... The 4GB Kingston drive does boot on some computers. If it works on some, why won't it work on all? I would at least expect it to work on computers that are newer than my 3 year old laptop.
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Old 08-06-2010, 05:03 PM   #5 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: One flash drive boots, the other doesn't, but they both mount!

I've used U3 and non-U3 drives both and never had issues. In my case the PC either supported USB boot or it did not, U3 has never made a difference for me. Plus I'm not sure if the U3 "partition" is actually seen by the BIOS, U3 drives show up as CD drives to Windows but I'm not sure if the BIOS sees that. I used a SanDisk Cruzer 8GB to install Win7 on my netbook without issue but I had uninstalled U3 with the uninstall tool as soon as I got the drive (it can be restored with a program included on the drive).
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Old 08-09-2010, 04:54 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: One flash drive boots, the other doesn't, but they both mount!

With the U3 drive installed, and the software enabled, my computer sees it as a scsi adapter for some reason, with out the software, it sees the drive as a regular old flash drive, not sure why that happens though, and it's just this single PC.
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