Test a PC with free UBUNTU on USB

13 Sep 2010
Posted by Laptop Junction

Quickly validate a PC system if it starts and runs? Test drive it with UBUNTU installed on a USB stick pen drive without installing or changing anything. Here’s an example of how to quickly test a PC from your pocket – quick and easy.
 

UBUNTU on a USB pen drive – memory drive – memory stick

UBUNTU is a free user friendly LINUX (debian) installation which comes with support for popular (WIFI) network cards and several internet tools such as FireFox.

Quickly test a PC system with UBUNTU installed on a USB pen drive / memory stick / memory drive
Booting from a USB memory stick with UBUNTU - ir's free and a great PC system quick test.

A neat combination to quickly test-drive for instance a PC system without windows installed. Or also common; a windows installation which doesn’t start.

Running UBUNTU from USB pen drive / memory stick / memory drive is also more robust compared to the larger and scratch sensitive CD / DVD disks.
 

UBUNTU USB recipe

The installation recipe for the UBUNTU quick test system:

-    USB memory stick / pen drive of minimal 700 Mb
-    An internet connected PC to download UBUNTU and installation tools
-    A PC with USB boot option in BIOS

It allows you to create a bootable USB pen drive / memory stick / memory drive from which UBUNTU can be run directly or if needed installed on a hard disk.

The UBUNTU website explains what to do – find it on the UBUNTU download page.

How to prepare UBUNTO to boot from a USB pen drive / memory stick / memory drive
How to prepare UBUNTO to boot from a USB pen drive / memory stick / memory drive

When installing on a hard disk, it’s possible to retain the currently installed operating system.  UBUNTU creates a multi-boot menu from which the UBUNTU and for instance Windows can be selected.
 

Problems creating UBUNTU USB boot systems

The UBUNTU USB pen drive / memory stick / memory drive installation was swift process using the pen drive installer from PenDriveLunix.com. Unfortunately after running the USB stick the following error appeared:

Casper/vmlinux
Could not find ramdisk image: /casper/initrd.lz

It seemed the installation on the USB stick wasn’t properly prepared. The solution to overcome this error is:

Copy or rename initrd.gz to initrd.lz located in the /casper folder.

This phenomena was seen with UBUNTU installer version:

UBUNTU Desktop version 10.4.1 in image ubuntu-10.04.1-desktop-i386.iso

And pen drive creator version

Universal-USB-Installer-1.7.9.5.exe
 

Running UBUNTU with corrupt RAM or DVD/CD disks

When I/O input/output errors occur during installation of execution of UBUNTU most likely the CD/DVD is scratched or RAM modules are faulty.

During an UBUNTU installation from CD/DVD – errors occurred because of CDROM failures. The CDROM was lightly scratched on the edges – enough to cause failures during installation. Bootable USB pen drives are much more reliable.

During an UBUNTU pen drive installation on a different system, several files couldn’t be read from the RAM drive. In this case a RAM module was corrupt. The memory test in the UBUNTU boot menu proved a several addresses that couldn’t be accessed anymore.

The failing 1Gb SDRAM DDR2 module was the following:

Memory test trapped 1GB PC-4200 SDRAM DDR2 memory module
Memory test trapped a corrupt 1GB PC-4200 SDRAM DDR2 memory module
 

 

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