How to create a bootable USB pendrive Debian netinstall

**NOTE 1** There are various ways to create pendrive Linux installs, some work and some fail depending on the pendrive model and also how the computer BIOS boots from USB.
**NOTE 2** This didn’t work with a HP 4Gb pendrive, but did with my Kingston pendrive. Also, it worked with my laptop and netbook but didn’t boot on a RAID Cluster server at work when trying to install Debian Lenny Netinstall.

For other distros with Pendrive Install guides, see the end of this post

1. Insert the USB stick, but do not mount it, yet. If it automounts, unmount it.

2. Get the sid install files (even if you install etch/lenny/squeeze):
a) wget\current/images/netboot/debian-installer/i386/linux
b) wget\current/images/netboot/debian-installer/i386/initrd.gz
c) wget\current/images/netboot/mini.iso

3. Insure these packages are installed on your machine:

apt-get install mbr syslinux mtools -y

4. Apply the following commands, replaceing sdb with the propper device name.

install-mbr /dev/sdb
syslinux /dev/sdb1
mount /dev/sdb1 /media/usb

cp linux initrd.gz mini.iso /media/usb

*NOTE* These are 3 separate commands, do NOT copy, paste and issue as one command. Hit “Enter” after each line.

echo -e "default linux\nappend priority=low vga=normal "\
"initrd=initrd.gz ramdisk_size=12000 root=/dev/ram rw"\
> /media/usb/syslinux.cfg

Now umount from /media/usb
umount /dev/sdb1

Other Distro Pendrive Guides
Crunchbang Statler (Debian Squeeze)
Crunchbang Statler on EeePc
Debian Installer from USB
Debian on USB + Links


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