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USB Boot Utilities

e o'rourke

USB Boot Utilities

I would love to make the follwoing:
A USB boot flash disk that can run BOTH the firmware maintenance CD and smartstart CD's. Surely, there is a way to modify the linux kernel created by the HP USB Key utility to allows us to choose which one to load! Anyone have nay experience of this?



P.S. this thread has been moved from Servers > General to ProLiant Servers (ML,DL,SL) - HP Forums moderator

Honored Contributor

Re: USB Boot Utilities

I am not familiar with firmware maintenance or smartstart CDs specifically, but I've done something similar with a RedHat Enterprise Linux installer and another utility CD.

In general, the first thing you need to do is identify the bootloader used on the CDs (or produced by the USB Key utility).

If both disks use the same bootloader, your job gets easier: you just take the bootloader configuration files from both CDs and build a merged configuration file that contains both boot choices. If different bootloaders are used, you need to familiarize yourself with both and add a "translated" version of the boot settings of one bootloader to the configuration of the other one.

Usually the bootloader cares about just two or three things:
- the Linux kernel file
- the ramdisk file (pre-loaded by the bootloader before starting the kernel; contains the tools to identify the storage devices and drivers to use them)
- zero or more boot options for the Linux environment

If both CDs have files with identical names (other than the bootloader & its config file), you must rename/move the files to resolve the conflict and then update the bootloader configuration as appropriate.

The concept would be:
- one bootloader (that provides a boot menu, allowing you to choose which kernel to boot)
- two (or more) Linux kernels and their associated files

In CD/USB disk applications, the most common Linux bootloader seems to be SYSLINUX/ISOLINUX:

ISOLINUX is designed for bootable media using the iso9660 filesystem, i.e. CDs and DVDs. SYSLINUX is for more traditional filesystems like VFAT and various other filesystems. As these are sibling projects, their configuration file syntax is exactly the same.

It would probably be easiest to first produce two separate USB keys using the HP utility, then merge the contents of one to the other manually.