Saturday, October 30, 2010

Problems With Ubuntu 10.x USB Installation

Recently I was trying to install Ubuntu 10.10 on one of my friends' Dell mini notebook after his windows 7 starter  crashed horribly and left him with black/blue screen and no more boots. After trying for 2-3 days to get windows back to life without any success, my friend heard some golden worlds to move to Ubuntu. We decided to get his mini a great OS. Since I ran out of blank CD/DVD, we decided to create a bootable USB with Ubuntu installer on it and install Ubuntu over the weekend.

So it was Friday night where we were quite excited to get Maverick Meerkat installed and to start with downloaded the ISO image of it from Ubuntu site. I never tried a USB install so was bit skeptic too on if it will go well on my friend's Dell mini. For this my dear friend also bought a brand new 4GB Duracell USB drive on which we decided to make a startup disk. We started following the guidelines as mentioned on Ubuntu download page. After download was complete, my friend's brand new USB drive was deflowered by creating the Ubuntu startup disk. So far so good, all went well.

After ensuring that USB device is the first in boot sequence, we started the notebook. Within seconds we saw Ubuntu up and running from USB with an icon to start installation on the desktop. Without further ado, we started the installation by clicking the install icon. It first asked for the language to select, then timezone and third was keyboard selection. So far so good, everything was going quite well. After we hit forward button from Keyboard selection, nothing happened except the tiny loading image circulating.

After sometime when nothing happened, I turned to my dear friend - Google - for rescue. Tried couple of "smart solutions" posted by many and to no help, I found a post with an unusual solution. Change the USB drive you are using as startup disk. Can you believe this? But as you know a frustrated person will do anything to get things work, I took out my PNY Micro Attaché, dumped all crap from it to my laptop and created a fresh startup disk. With very less hopes we booted friend's notebook with it and restarted the installation. To my surprise installation progressed like a charm. I did see the partition manager after clicking forward on keyboard selection dialog and rest of the installation went well.

At the end, this whole process brought my friend again back to life when he could surf and do all stuff on his notebook again and left me with many questions to which I'm still trying to understand such a behavior. What possibly could go wrong with installation and what it has to do with the make of a USB drive. If system can be booted from a USB drive and Ubuntu just working fine booted from USB then why installation can not go ahead with the same USB drive? Let me know if you have any clue or a proper answer to this.

Cheers !!!
- Jay
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