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Make Windows or Linux Bootable on almost anything (Garanteed)


I keep seeing Jerry telling everyone to use Etcher or Rufus via his release announcements, and this annoys me greatly because both apps are bloated and terrible and have circumstances where they fail.

What I offer you is a simple, enlightening and powerful full proof method to install any OS to any medium except flash cards that works with any Linux including Live Linux pending 4-8GB RAM (for Live).  As an example, you can install tails to your internal hard drive or emmc. 

So you have Linux loaded and have downloaded the image file of your favorite distribution ready to be etched to your anything of sufficient capacity other than flash cards.

Let's begin.

Open terminal of choice.

Step 1:

cd /media
sudo mkdir iso
sudo mount -o loop /path/to/iso /media/iso
If you got no errors continue to step 2
Failure to put both paths or incorrectly expressed will produce an error.
If you see the following error: wrong fs type, bad option, bad superblock on /dev/loop0, missing codepage...
sudo fdisk -l -u=sectors pathtoiso
This will display the sector size of the image as well as the starting sector.
Just multiply them, so if sector size is 512, sector start is 2048 = 1048576
sudo mount -o loop,offset=1048576 pathtoiso /media/iso

Step 2:

sudo apt install gparted
sudo gparted
Find your target, delete all partitions on it, and apply.
In some instances, i.e., ISO9660, you cannot delete the partition thus you must format to "cleared" and apply.
Click on Device, create partition table, ms-dos.
Click on Partition, new, change partition type to FAT32, and apply.
Right-click on this new partition, select manage flags, and select boot.
Take note the /dev/ name of that partition which for me is sdc1 in the next step.

Step 3:

cd /media
sudo mkdir drive
sudo mount /dev/sdc1 /media/drive/
Be careful, a partition cannot end with a /, but a folder can.
sudo cp -a --no-preserve=mode,ownership /media/iso/. /media/drive/
Disregard all errors regarding symlinks; no critical/important live boot or installation file is ever symlinked.
FAT doesn't support symlinks, but is need for BIOS/EFI boot capability.
df -h
Look for the last loop device which refers to the /media/iso loop we created earlier
sudo umount /dev/loop0 (failure to do this step will yield device in use error in the next step)
sudo umount /media/drive/ (this will take a while but when complete the files are copied)
Before you go any further wait for your file manager to also show the drive is unmounted.

Step 4:

Set your bios to support legacy boot, turn off secure boot, at grub menu choose EFI boot option if available.
Normally EFI requires secure boot files, but many distros don't include them.
We do the above to bypass errors.
It goes without saying that many unofficial Windows distributions are flawed and may produce errors.
Often the solution is to use the original boot.wim (which includes all the drivers).
Authors trim this, and that is largely stupid.
As for Tails, it likes virtualization to be ON in BIOS/EFI and you need to remove "live-media=removable" from the boot sequence, and press F10 to continue to a successful boot.


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