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dobbydobbs
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Registered: ‎06-06-2018
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Message 1 of 11

T580 Cannot boot USB

I have a brand new T580 in front of me. I am trying unsuccessfully to boot it from a USB stick. In case it makes any difference I am trying to do this before ever booting into Windows. Here is what I have tried.

 

First attempt: Power On; Hit Enter at Lenovo splash screen; Hit F12 at Startup Interupt Menu; Select my USB drive from list; Hit Enter; screen goes back for about one second and then the F12 menu reappears like nothing happened. Force power off by pressing and holding the power button.

 

Second attempt: Power On; Hit Enter at Lenovo splash screen; Hit F1 at Startup Interupt Menu; to eter the BIOS Setup. Disable secure boot (Security > Secure Boot). Save (F10); repeat first attempt. Same result.

 

Third attempt: as before except that I additionally set Startup > UEFI/Legacy Boot to Both and tried again. Same result.

 

Fourth attmpt: as before except that I changed the boot priority to put legacy first. Same result.

 

Fifth attempt: as before except that I set  Startup > UEFI/Legacy Boot  to Legacy Only. Same result.

 

The USB stick has Grub on it and boots Linux distributions. It works in about a dozen other machines that I use it on regularly.  I tried two separate USB sticks and I tried both USB ports on the right-hand side of the computer.

 

If I can't get this to work then it's going back.

 

I am stuck. Please help!

dobbydobbs
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Message 2 of 11

Re: T580 Cannot boot USB

I have just burned another USB stick using the Arch Linux ISO and it worked. So there must be something different about my USB stick that stops it working. My USB stick has GPT and MBR partition tables and is configured for a BIOS boot.

 

At the risk of going off-topic, if anyone has any useful thoughts about why my USB stick doesn't work, it'd be much appreciated.

 

But, as for the T580 not being able to boot from USB, it can. So that part's solved. But the fact remains that it cannot boot of any USB.

pjc123
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Message 3 of 11

Re: T580 Cannot boot USB

I can't speak for booting from GRUB, but I use a program called YUMI on my T470 to load Linux and diagnostic programs from a USB stick, about 10 or so Linux OS's, Hiren's Boot Cd, etc.  There are BIOS and UEFI versions of YUMI, and I have installed all my OS's on both versions so I can boot old and new hardware.  They have tested it with a bunch of programs, and it installs each with the method that works best using syslinux and GRUB.  The other settings you have are correct....Disable secure boot, Enable legacy + UEFI, and I selected legacy first just to make sure I catch old stuff, and then I hit the F12 key to boot from the USB stick or my second hard drive.

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Message 4 of 11

Re: T580 Cannot boot USB


@dobbydobbs wrote:
...

At the risk of going off-topic, if anyone has any useful thoughts about why my USB stick doesn't work, it'd be much appreciated.

...

How about more info on that stick.  What version of grub?  What distro - if any - is the base install?  Is it legacy or EFI, or both?  Live or ???  How is the flash drive formatted? MBR + FAT32?  Is it intended to be UEFI-bootable?  If it's a legacy-boot-only thing, does it have an active partition?  etc, etc...

 

The way I make bootable flash drives from modern distros that are EFI-bootable:  copy the _contents_ of the ISO to a MBR/FAT32-formatted flash drive that DOES NOT have an active partition.  An active partition can fool some BIOSen into trying to boot an EFI-bootable drive in legacy mode.

 

[edit to add] It's entirely possible to build a drive that can boot in both Legacy and UEFI mode by copying ISO contents to the drive and also running grub-install.  In that case one has to be careful to select the boot mode in BIOS or one could boot (and install) in the wrong/undesired mode.

 

To extract the contents of an ISO to a flash drive: with Win 10 just use Windows explorer to open the ISO and copy the files. If that isn't available use something like the (free, and very useful0 7zip.  Fancy-schmancy flash drive builders like Rufus and others aren't necessary.

 

Fedora (IIRC) and Ubuntu (for sure) are bootable in Secure Boot/EFI mode.

 

I tend to use a live Ubuntu's grub2, or stand-alone grub2, on my "Swiss Army" flash drives to boot a bunch of stuff:  assorted distros via ISO, forensics tools, Acronis, etc...

 

FWIW,

Z.


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dobbydobbs
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Message 5 of 11

Re: T580 Cannot boot USB

fff

 


@zoltanthegypsy

How about more info on that stick.  What version of grub?  What distro - if any - is the base install?  Is it legacy or EFI, or both?  Live or ???  How is the flash drive formatted? MBR + FAT32?  Is it intended to be UEFI-bootable?  If it's a legacy-boot-only thing, does it have an active partition?  etc, etc...

 

 

Hi the stick is, like yours I expect, a homebrew "swiss army knife". It uses an up to date Grub 2.02 configured for BIOS booting. It uses both GPT and a protective MBR configured in such a way that windows machines that use the MBR only see its data partition (see below). It has a BIOS Boot partition (gdisk type EF02) and an ext4 partition (gdisk type 8300) which contains the Grub files in /grub and a load of isos which the grub config is configured to boot from a menu. All hand-configured but that is all irrelevant seeing that I can't even get Grub to load. Another partition is formatted vfat so it can be used as a plain data stick in windows machines.

 

I have not set any "flags" on any partitions. Perhaps that is the problem? I've just looked in gdisk and can see there is a 'legacy BIOS bootable' flag. I might try that...

 

Up until today I never had a real UEFI host to try things on. I would have expected the legacy boot mode to boot anything that a BIOS system could. And I have been using this stick (and others like it) on several other machines for a very long time without issue (none are UEFI however).

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Message 6 of 11

Re: T580 Cannot boot USB

I've had several machines that required the "bootable/active" flag ("a" option in fdisk, "active" command in DISKPART) to be set to boot in legacy mode.  Can't say how common that is but IIRC I've also had more recent ThinkPads boot in legacy mode without the active flag set.

 

Never had much luck with flash drives with more than one partition. Couldn't manipulate them in Windows, and I'm lazy.  That's one of the reasons I resorted to a single FAT32 partition  - which is also how I set up Ubuntu and tools on secondary drives in Windows machines.  It forces running "live"  instead of installed but for my purposes it simplifies a lot of things - including backups.  Does make it hard to update a distro though (on HDD or flash) since persistence isn't really ideal for that.

 

I've got a rather dated write-up on the way I set things up.  Due for a re-write for sure, but it's what works for me. I wouldn't mind more details on your setup - but that might be getting a bit too OT for this thread.

 

A FOB STORY: some notes on bootable flash drives

 

Z.

 


The large print: please read the Community Participation Rules before posting. Include as much information as possible: model, machine type, operating system, and a descriptive subject line. Do not include personal information: serial number, telephone number, email address, etc.


The fine print: I do not work for, nor do I speak for Lenovo. Unsolicited private messages will be ignored - questions and answers belong in the forum so that others may benefit. ... GeezBlog

 

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dobbydobbs
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Message 7 of 11

Re: T580 Cannot boot USB

Well I've been playing around with this for a while but have not been able to get my USB stick to boot in legacy mode despite setting boot flags and trying a protective MBR instead of a hybrid MBR, and plenty of other things.

 

I did, however, successfully modify my USB stick so that it supports UEFI and that works as it should (and still works on other BIOS machines as it should).

 

I noticed that the Arch Linux USB that worked did not use GPT, so I created a Grub MBR ONLY boot stick and that works fine.

 

I suspect that the ThinkPad firmware will only boot off MBR in legacy mode and, if there is a GPT present, it ignores the MBR. I could, of course, have that totally wrong. I don't know if there's any way to definitively determine that ?

 

But I should leave it there now. I have something that works. I can get on with setting up my new machine...

Mykie
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Message 8 of 11

Re: T580 Cannot boot USB

Hey @dobbydobbs i hv this same problem with my new t580; i have cracked my head for the last 3 days but in vain; what was your solution? I am trying to install linux ; ubuntu or opensuse , my flash drive is a ‘hp’
dobbydobbs
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Message 9 of 11

Re: T580 Cannot boot USB

@Mykie your USB stick needs to either boot by old-fashioned MBR and booted through legacy boot OR have an EFI system partition on a GPT partition table and boot through UEFI. You will need to disable secure boot.

 

My trial and error seems to show that a USB stick that has both MBR and GPT hybrid partitioning will only work by UEFI. As soon as you have a GPT table the bios seems to totally ignore the MBR. This would appear to be the case even if it lacks an EFI system partition necessary for UEFI boot - it doesn't fall back to using booting from the MBR boot sector. It will only boot MBR if there is no GPT at all (and you also need legacy booting enabled in the BIOS for that to work).

 

My stick has both MBR and GPT and can boot both. But the Thinkpad will only boot it via UEFI.

 

I am not sure what you need help with, whether it's creating a USB stick or just getting the thing to boot. If it's the latter then do this... Press ENTER on boot, go into the BIOS (press F1) and then "Security>Secure Boot" and disable secure boot. Put an appropriate ISO onto a blank USB stick (you can just do "cp /dev/sr0 /dev/sdX") using another computer. Stick it in the USB of the Thinkpad, power on, hit ENTER then F12, select the stick and it should boot.

 

By "appropriate", I mean an ISO that can be copied onto a USB and booted. Not all can. You'll need to check the ISO that you have for that.

 

I don't know if it helps at all but I did write a live ISO (I think it was the Arch Linux 18.07 iso) onto a usb stick and it just worked. 

 

If you want help around creating a custom USB stick reply here and I'll check back but it probably won't be for a week or two Smiley Happy

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Message 10 of 11

Re: T580 Cannot boot USB


@dobbydobbs wrote:

@Mykie your USB stick needs to either boot by old-fashioned MBR and booted through legacy boot OR have an EFI system partition on a GPT partition table and boot through UEFI. You will need to disable secure boot.

...

My stick has both MBR and GPT and can boot both. But the Thinkpad will only boot it via UEFI.

...

By "appropriate", I mean an ISO that can be copied onto a USB and booted. Not all can. You'll need to check the ISO that you have for that.

...

A couple of things:

 

I'm reasonably sure you can't have both MBR and GPT partitioning on the same drive.  The whole drive is either MBR or GPT.  MBR can be used for both/either legacy and/or UEFI booting.

 

Perhaps you mean legacy and/or EFI?  You can have either or both depending on whether there's an EFI bootloader and whether there's a legacy boot loader in the active partition's boot sector.

 

Copying an ISO to a flash drive isn't likely to produce a bootable drive.  Extracting the ISO contents will, if the drive is prepped correctly.  For UEFI booting, just extract to a single FAT32 partition.  For legacy booting it's necessary to install a boot loader.  For Windows media that can be done via DISKPART. Some Win versions will require an NTFS-formatted partition.  For others - Linux for example - grub-install can do the job.  This can be done by hand or with one of the automated prep tools around the interwebs.

 

Z.


The large print: please read the Community Participation Rules before posting. Include as much information as possible: model, machine type, operating system, and a descriptive subject line. Do not include personal information: serial number, telephone number, email address, etc.


The fine print: I do not work for, nor do I speak for Lenovo. Unsolicited private messages will be ignored - questions and answers belong in the forum so that others may benefit. ... GeezBlog

 

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