Using Windows to prepare USB install of Ubuntu 8.10

Only hard part was sorting through all the bull that is around. The correct one is this one at

The goal is quite simple: create a bootable FAT filesystem with syslinux on an USB-stick and copy the following four files onto there: initrd.gz, vmlinuz, syslinux.cfg, ubuntu-8.10-server-i386.iso.

  1. Creating a bootable FAT: Grab syslinux at Start a command shell in the win directory and run syslinux -m -a I:, replacing I: with your usb driveletter. -m option writes MBR to make the system bootable and -aactivates the partition.
  2. Grab ubuntu-8.10-server-i386.iso at a nearby mirror or by bittorrent
  3. Grab vmlinuz and initrd.gz from…/hd-media (link is to uk mirror).
  4. Write your own syslinux.cfg as described in the article

That’s it. You are ready to roll. Just to check, your usb should look like this:

 Volume in drive I has no label.
 Volume Serial Number is 6138-3138

 Directory of I:\

26-10-2008  06:03         6.348.557 initrd.gz
26-10-2008  06:03         2.244.272 vmlinuz
30-10-2008  14:13       668.274.688 ubuntu-8.10-server-i386.iso
31-10-2008  00:03                40 syslinux.cfg
               4 File(s)    676.867.557 bytes
               0 Dir(s)   1.353.973.760 bytes free

and syslinux.cfg like so:

default vmlinuz
append initrd=initrd.gz


I wanted to put this on my trusted Via Epia ME6000 board. This seems to require some fiddling with the BIOS settings for the screen. Also, be aware of the 1.16 BIOS update.

2nd update

Just for my own memory: it is already running the 1.16 BIOS. Graphics issues during installation went away when I set the “advanced chipset” options to CRT output only at 640x480.