Friday Jan 11, 2013

How to Install Oracle Linux from a USB Stick

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If you want to install Oracle Linux from a USB drive, keep in mind that not all hardware supports USB device booting. Also, during the boot process you may have to instruct your BIOS to boot from that specific USB device. Finally, keep in mind that this method of installation is not officially sanctioned by Oracle support. You'll need an Oracle Linux 6.0 or higher system to produce the key. Earlier versions may work, but additional prerequisites may be required. The examples in this article assume a USB key device name of /dev/sdb1. Be sure to verify the device name of your USB key to avoid accident data loss.

Prerequisites

  1. The first thing you will need is an ISO image of Oracle Linux. The quickest way to obtain an ISO image is from the Oracle Software Delivery Cloud
  2. You will need a desktop or server system running Oracle Linux in order to prepare your USB drive.
  3. You will also need to download this script to create the bootable USB drive.
  4. Your Oracle Linux system will also need the package syslinux installed. You can install syslinux using yum with the following command:
  5. yum install syslinux

Marking Partition One as Bootable

Once your prerequisites are in order, you need to designate partition one as bootable. Use the parted application, as in this example:

[root@host]# parted /dev/sdb 
GNU Parted 2.1 Using /dev/sdb Welcome to GNU Parted! Type 'help' to view a list of commands.
(parted) toggle 1 boot
(parted) quit
Information: You may need to update /etc/fstab.

The example above uses a USB key labelled /dev/sdb. The parted application will only accept device files without partition numbers. So, if we had selected /dev/sdb1 instead, we would have gotten an error message when we tried to write the changes to disk.

Creating the USB Key

Now you can start creating USB key via the script that you downloaded earlier. The script accepts two paths: first the source ISO file and then the USB key:

[root@host]# sh Install_OL_fromUSBStick_Script --reset-mbr /home/user/OL6.3.iso /dev/sdb1 
Verifying image...
livecd-iso-to-disk.sh: line 527: checkisomd5: command not found Are you SURE you want to continue?
Press Enter to continue or ctrl-c to abort
Size of DVD image: 2957
Size of images/install.img: 132
Available space: 31186
Copying DVD image to USB stick
install.img
    137834496 100%   10.87MB/s    0:00:12 (xfer#1, to-check=0/1)
sent 137851396 bytes  received 31 bytes  11028114.16 bytes/sec total size is 137834496  speedup is 1.00
sent 37 bytes  received 12 bytes  98.00 bytes/sec total size is 3100217344  speedup is 63269741.71 Updating boot config file Installing boot loader USB stick set up as live image!

Once the script is finished running you have a bootable USB drive that can install Oracle Linux. While booting, pay attention to your BIOS boot screens as they will often provide direction on how to select a specific boot device other than the ones in the standard boot sequence. For some older systems you may need to go directly into the BIOS setup utility to specify the USB device in your boot sequence. Once you have booted successfully off of your USB device and the installer starts installation will proceed just like an installation from regular DVD media.

- Robert Chase

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