Boot from USB DVD drive? How?
June 3, 2009 7:47 PM   Subscribe

Making a Hackintosh out of an EEE PC, but failing on the first step (booting from an external USB drive). What am I doing wrong?

So I bought a 900HA EEE PC thinking, "I am a relatively technically adept person, and I should be able to turn this into a hackintosh with little trouble." And I was wrong on both counts.

People with the same machine refer to this post's instructions, but I'm perpetually stuck on the first two steps due to issues with the external DVD drive.

Updating the BIOS with Alt-F2: When doing this, the DVD device whirs and searches briefly, but the system tells me "900HA.ROM not found." But it's on the DVD (and CD, once), and if I put the same file on a USB stick and update from THERE, it works. So this step is sooooort of complete, yet stil symptomatic of my problem.

Booting from the Boot-132 disk: Went into BIOS with F2, set the boot order to DVD-drive-first, and restarted. Nothing: the device doesn't even spin, and the machine boots straight into Windows, every time. If I try to use a USB stick with the Boot-132 image, it tells me it's not a system disk, which is apparently the reason this step requires I boot from a DVD/CD drive.

Has anyone had similar problems booting from an external DVD drive on any machine? I'm pretty sure the issue isn't the drive, because I've tried two fairly different drives with identical results.
posted by dougunderscorenelso to Computers & Internet (8 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
I remember trying to boot from a USB drive on a similar Asus machine previously. Besides the settings in the BIOS, I also had to press a button during the boot phase to select the boot device. In my case it was the Escape key (if this doesn't work, try other random keys, except for the key to enter the BIOS, obviously).
posted by Gomez_in_the_South at 9:49 PM on June 3, 2009

My MSI Wind will boot from USB DVD but not from any of the USB ports. The DVD needs to be plugged into the right side port. You might have a similar issue.
posted by chairface at 10:10 PM on June 3, 2009

I'm a 1000HE owner, and whenever I find myself asking myself these types of questions, I always go to these forums and search. The group there is very helpful.

EEEUser Forums.

Good luck!
posted by willmize at 1:35 AM on June 4, 2009

Thanks for the tips! In the HA's case, there are two ports on the right and one on the left, but I'm guessing one of them is primary (like chairface says). I'll look into the random key and the proper USB port tonight.
posted by dougunderscorenelso at 4:04 AM on June 4, 2009

I installed Ubuntu from a USB key onto a laptop with no CD drive, only by plugging the key into a USB hub first. There seemed to be timing problems in BIOS and USB initialization that the extra hub branch avoided.

My laptop was a Thinkpad X301, and the hub I used was a dub, unpowered, cheap-as-heck freebie schwag gift.
posted by cmiller at 6:18 AM on June 4, 2009

Gomez, thanks for the Esc tip! I was able to reach the boot menu, but when I select the DVD drive, there's a 5-second pause and then Windows just boots up anyway. The lack of error message is especially frustrating. But thanks for the tip, now I know that it's definitely "seeing" the DVD drive, but something is interrupting the actually boot process.

cmiller, that's an interesting suggestion. I tried doing this by using the Apple Keyboard as the HUB, which produced some odd results (the DVD drive name changes in the boot menu and BIOS setup). Otherwise, things remained the same.
posted by dougunderscorenelso at 11:10 AM on June 6, 2009

The 5 second pause you now see is the system checking for the OS files on the disc (I assume the drive spins during this time). That sounds to me like the machine doesn't see the DVD/CD disc as bootable, are you sure it is? Does it boot from the disc in another machine? Do you have any other Live CD you could try? Could you try a bootable USB stick instead?
posted by Gomez_in_the_South at 10:47 PM on June 6, 2009

To anyone who finds this via Google, I DID get it working, and here's how:

1) Disable the HDD boot completely from the BIOS. This way, you'll make sure you're actually getting errors from the boot media, and not just going into Windows.

2) Make sure you're burning the disk images to the CDs/DVDs, not just copying them on or burning their contents on. The disk image itself needs to be transferred to the disk, using something like OS X's Disk Utility.

3) Try a different boot disk. It turns out that THREE of the ones I downloaded weren't usable by ANYONE, and only a Boot-132 that a friend gave me was recognized as proper boot media.
posted by dougunderscorenelso at 5:22 PM on June 11, 2009

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