You’d think that it’d be the dead-simplest thing in the world.  You set your computer’s BIOS to boot from a USB device, plug in a flash drive with the OS you’d like to boot from on it and restart the computer.

Funny thing is that it isn’t that simple.  I don’t know why, but I have found that a flash drive that will boot my laptop for example, will absolutely NOT boot my desktop computer.  It will try, the OS on the flash drive (Kubuntu 9.10) begins to start up but before it gets far enough to show anything on the display the process stops and falls to a command line with an error message that says something about not being able to find some part of the OS.

I realize that the flash drive I’m using for this isn’t the top of the line unit, it’s something that I got on sale for a great price.  Thing is, this exact same flash drive, without ANY changes to it at all, will boot my laptop easily.  (well, when the laptop will start up at all that is, but that’s another issue entirely)

kingston 64gb flash driveSo…. What I’m going to try next is a different flash drive and just to be sure in terms of the quality of the hardware, I think I need to go with a Kingston unit.  Those generic no-name flash drives are all fine and dandy for a lot of things, but when you want to be absolutely sure that you’ve got good, solidly reliable hardware, such as for installing an OS on which you’re going to run mission critical apps, it’s time to go with a name like Kingston that has one of the best reputations in memory devices around.

And since I’m going to be putting a full OS on it, I thing it only makes sense to go with something like the Kingston 64GB DataTraveler.  I figure that 64 gigabytes is enough room to not only install the base operating system but to go ahead and fully customize it and make sure that everything is fully up to date as well.

The thing I don’t get about flash drives is why some can be made bootable and others can’t.  Why some will boot one computer and will fail to boot entirely on anther one.  All I can think to do for now is to eliminate quality as a concern by going with the best name I know in memory devices and trying again.

Technorati Tags: flash drive, boot flash, boot from usb, kubuntu, kingston

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