Why is Porteus-installer-for-Linux.com needed for booting Porteus via USB?

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Why is Porteus-installer-for-Linux.com needed for booting Porteus via USB?

Post#1 by cad » 08 Dec 2020, 16:43

So, I now have a shiny, brand new laptop. Of course, it came with Windows 10 installed.
I'd like to give Porteus 5.0rc2 a try on my new machine and boot it via USB, but I've
never before booted Porteus via USB with EFI, so I'm here to ask a few questions and
also to share a few thoughts - please correct them if they are somewhat off-the-wall.

First of all, let me clarify, I am making the USB boot stick from Porteus 4.0
and do not want to involve Windows in any of the aspects of this process.

I have read a few pertinent threads in this forum and it seems to boil down to:
1) Create a FAT32 partition on the USB stick and put all the files from the ISO
onto it.
2) 'cd' into the boot folder on the USB stick and run Porteus-installer-for-Linux.com
from there.

I've looked into the contents of Porteus-installer-for-Linux.com and it is a very complex
script/program (to me) which has a lot to do, it seems to me, with MS Windows-related
things, such as enabling a user to boot Windows from the USB stick.

However, I do not care about booting Windows from the USB stick; if I want to boot
Windows, I'll just pull out the stick and boot the laptop normally. Therefore, why do I
need a FAT32 partition and Porteus-installer-for-Linux.com at all to boot Porteus?

I am just looking for a *simple* way to EFI boot Porteus via the USB flash drive that does
not involve the use of anything related to MS Windows. To just use the PC hardware to
do it, in the simplest way possible, as if Windows were not installed in the PC.

Do I make sense? And how do I go about it?

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Post#2 by Ed_P » 08 Dec 2020, 20:27

You are welcome to boot Porteus anyway you want but if you want a proven method that works and doesn't take days fixing and retrying you will follow the straight forward steps you've described. Most people who install Porteus, or any other Linux system, don't want the install to screw up the OS on their machine's hard drive, which in most cases is Windows. Delete Windows from your hard drive, including it's EFI partition, repartition and reformat the hard drive then install Porteus on you USB drive and don't worry about it impacting your Windows system that you don't care about.

If however you intent to keep Windows on your machine, and intend to install a system to your USB drive you most definitely want it to be aware of your Windows system so it doesn't make any changes that impact it.

On EFI systems all OSs use the same EFI drive and share the same EFI code and that sharing ties them together.

A couple of things to consider. If you install Grub2Win on your Windows system you will have a menu system for booting multiple OSs. If you want to boot Porteus without doing an install boot the ISO directly from your harddrive. To boot a non-EFI system on an EFI system you must disable the EFI Secure Boot option.

OK? :)
Ed

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Post#3 by roadie » 08 Dec 2020, 21:49

This is all very much over my head, but everything I'm reading about UEFI say's that it must have a FAT32 partition to boot from, whereas a BIOS boot can be from other types of partitions. I don't know if MBR or GPT impact anything with UEFI.

If I've read your post right, you want to install Porteus to the USB stick without resorting to Windows tools or involving Windows in any way. I would think that you could use "dd" to do that and I believe with Porteus-installer-for-Linux.com, dd is used for both copying and making the stick bootable.

My thoughts only, as I said, this UEFI stuff is very confusing.......BIOS, MBR and Grub Legacy was so much easier.

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Post#4 by ncmprhnsbl » 08 Dec 2020, 23:24

all Porteus-installer-for-Linux.com does is setup the syslinux bootloader, after you've manually copied the the files to your USB, specifically, creating the /boot/syslinux/ldlinux.sys file, (and maybe doing something with the MBR) but, afaiui, this is only for BIOS systems, not EFI..
(there is probly some reference in it to attempting to create a boot entry a windows installation, but 1. not sure this even works (actually i think we've removed this in our development version), 2. can easily be edited out of porteus.cfg)

i havn't personally used an EFI setup, but i was under the impression for EFI, that (presuming that "secure boot" is turned off) copying the porteus files should be enough, it should "just work"..no Porteus-installer-for-Linux.com necessary.. the stuff in the EFI folder should just work it's magic..
(and using fat32, probably) ... as it is, our install.txt, doesn't include any reference to EFI... something to put on the TODO..

hopefully someone who is using an EFI setup can confirm..
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Post#5 by cad » 09 Dec 2020, 02:10

@Ed_P

OK, I got it :) and thank you very much for your explanation! It wasn't clear to me :oops: that EFI was a partition inherent in the MS Windows OS, so what you say makes sense: Either get rid of Windows so you can neglect to worry about it, or make it so that the two OSes can coexist without hurting one another. I'd like to keep Windows for a short while, but I must say I ever so increasingly resent its intrusiveness.

The Grub2Win thingy you mention is kind of appealing to me (definitely makes this process much easier overall, I think), but I'd rather keep the two systems as separated (as pure) as feasible with the fewest elements possible of each tainting the other.

I got to tell you (did I already say that?), though, the more I learn about this EFI thing, the more I dislike it.

@roadie

I wholeheartedly agree with you, BIOS gives you freedom to do whatever you want, whereas UEFI not only deviates from what we already know and are used to, but is also MS Windows-centric and a restrictive booting environment. What's there to like?

Yep, that was the idea, to keep the two OSes as separate and unaware of one another as possible. But as Ed_P pointed out above, with UEFI this is an impossibility.

@ncmprhnsbl

If that's all that Porteus-installer-for-Linux.com does, it certainly features an overabundant amount of code for doing just that. Which is basically what kind of turned me off about it, I do not understand why all that code is in there or what it actually does. However, I am here to learn, and to understand how things work...

I have had this brand new laptop for a few days now and, I must confess, at times I've felt like throwing it into the garbage can. Nothing works the way I am used to. Press F2 or F10 or ESC during boot up and nothing happens, Windows starts normally as if you didn't. So far, I have no idea how to turn "secure boot" off - I have to learn how to use a computer from scratch in order to operate this thing. I'll look into that and then, should turning "secure boot" off not suffice to boot the Porteus ISO files from the USB stick FAT32 partition, I'll have to resort to Porteus-installer-for-Linux.com, as per Ed_P's advice.

I'd like to hear from someone reading this who is using a new computer with EFI: How do you get into EFI on your computer to disable "secure boot," to change booting devices order, etc.? It used to be so easy to do with BIOS, but now, apparently, it's a whole new ballgame.
Also, if you have a computer with EFI/Windows 10 installed, are you by any chance USB-booting Porteus with a method other than using the Porteus-installer-for-Linux.com script?

THANK YOU EVERYONE!

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Post#6 by roadie » 09 Dec 2020, 03:44

cad wrote:
09 Dec 2020, 02:10
I'd like to hear from someone reading this who is using a new computer with EFI: How do you get into EFI on your computer to disable "secure boot," to change booting devices order, etc.? It used to be so easy to do with BIOS, but now, apparently, it's a whole new ballgame.
Also, if you have a computer with EFI/Windows 10 installed, are you by any chance USB-booting Porteus with a method other than using the Porteus-installer-for-Linux.com script?

I'm using a new(ish) Asus Vivobook, ESC gets me a menu which I imagine could be used if there were more than one drive. It also has an option to enter setup from there. F2 takes me into the EFI configuration dialogue. Other buttons do nothing. Your user manual should have the info, though I'm surprised that none of the buttons you tried did anything. Once in the configuration, "secure boot" is under a heading called CSM, no doubt to confuse users even more.

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Post#7 by Ed_P » 09 Dec 2020, 05:01

cad the Porteus-installer-for-Linux app makes the USB drive bootable. You turn off the EFI Secure Boot option when you want to boot the USB drive. And once off you can still boot the hard drive's Windows' system without turning it back on.

On my Dell notebook F12 takes me to the boot options menu.

It sounds like you're on the trail to learning new things cad. Good for you. Once we stop learning we are dead.
Ed

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Post#8 by cad » 09 Dec 2020, 16:14

roadie wrote:
09 Dec 2020, 03:44
I'm using a new(ish) Asus Vivobook, ESC gets me a menu which I imagine could be used if there were more than one drive. It also has an option to enter setup from there. F2 takes me into the EFI configuration dialogue. Other buttons do nothing. Your user manual should have the info, though I'm surprised that none of the buttons you tried did anything. Once in the configuration, "secure boot" is under a heading called CSM, no doubt to confuse users even more.
I just downloaded a couple of manuals for the machine and a whole bunch of documents from the manufacturer's website (my laptop did not come with any in the box) and it turns out that, in order to get into EFI configuration, one has to press Fn + F2 (this is new to me!), but the preferred method, according to the online documentation, is through an almost invisible pin hole on the side of the computer...

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Post#9 by cad » 09 Dec 2020, 17:09

Ed_P wrote:
09 Dec 2020, 05:01
cad the Porteus-installer-for-Linux app makes the USB drive bootable. You turn off the EFI Secure Boot option when you want to boot the USB drive. And once off you can still boot the hard drive's Windows' system without turning it back on.

On my Dell notebook F12 takes me to the boot options menu.

It sounds like you're on the trail to learning new things cad. Good for you. Once we stop learning we are dead.
Agreed (about the importance of learning) and thank you for your kind words.

Question: Is EFI really MS Windows-centric, or is it in fact the "new BIOS," meaning, it would still be required even in the absence of MS Windows, and how much control does MS Windows have in fact over EFI?

I am fed up with Microsoft's intrusiveness. My computer came with a Windows configuration which allowed Microsoft to collect samples of my writing patterns and handwriting; to install whatever (updates) they wanted to in my computer; to use my bandwidth up to 500 GB per month (Holy Cow!) for downloading and uploading their updates - to even use my computer to upload what they have downloaded to it to other users' computers and download stuff from other users' computers to my own, at Microsoft's discretion, freely using my paid-for bandwidth. Microphone and camera were enable for use by any apps. Your searches and basically all you do is recorded in the MS databases, in the name of making your life and consumer's experience easier. Basically, it seems that by introducing a Windows PC into your home, you have brought home a spy into your most intimate environment, which has complete control over your machine and knowledge of all you do at the keyboard. I have disabled all this crap, and hopefully it has actually been disabled. But how many MS Windows users are aware of all this? Do most of them realize about the potential intrusion into their personal lives and also how their hardware resources and bandwidths are actually being used, when they wonder why their marvel-of-latest-technology machines operate at three-toed-sloth speeds and their super-fast internet connections are so slow?

Going back to my earlier question: If a Windows installation achieves control over the machine's EFI, does that mean that MS gets to know what other OSes are also being booted in that machine along with Windows? At the cost of coming across as a bit paranoid, I must say I believe that whatever OSes I boot up in my computer should be my business and my business only, and I'd really like to keep it that way.

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Post#10 by Ed_P » 09 Dec 2020, 20:40

Good grief! :o Take a breathe cab. :) Stop worrying about stuff. Worrying causes wrinkles. And do not stop Windows from installing updates. The updates are for security to prevent hackers, and viruses, from infecting your machine, stealing your identity and stealing your money..

Have you got Porteus installed to your USB drive yet? :hmmm:
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Post#11 by cad » 09 Dec 2020, 22:42

Ed_P wrote:
09 Dec 2020, 20:40
Good grief! :o Take a breathe cab. :) Stop worrying about stuff. Worrying causes wrinkles. And do not stop Windows from installing updates. The updates are for security to prevent hackers, and viruses, from infecting your machine, stealing your identity and stealing your money..

Have you got Porteus installed to your USB drive yet? :hmmm:
No worries on my part, Ed. :) But I like to bring up the wrongs I see; then it's up to each person to decide for themselves, whether there is merit in that which was brought up. Some people would rather disregard unpleasant facts and situations rather than face them when there's some discomfort in doing so. But that's not an attitude that tends to correct the wrongs at hand, or to even acknowledge them as such. Would you go to people who, deprived of their basic rights, are struggling under despotic rule and tell them, "Don't worry, be happy?" In the times of Adams, Jefferson and Madison that which oppressed and deprived was more at a physical level than it is in our time and therefore easily recognizable by all concerned. Today, it all happens in much subtler ways and thus it takes considerable intelligence and thoughtfulness in order to be detected.

The update traffic was not stopped on my Windows laptop, but only restricted from 500 GB/month to 5 GB/month and from unlimited bandwidth to 5 MB/s. It's a pretty good setting which prevents your computer from being used as a server in the background. With this setting, all currently required updates (Windows ones and also other programs' that needed updating) were automatically downloaded yesterday in a 20-minute time frame. 5 GB is way more than enough for normally required monthly updates.

I have Porteus 4.0 installed on several machines I own and am pretty happy with it. :) I am not in a rush to have 5.0rc2 on my new laptop. So, no, I haven't installed it yet... ;)

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Post#12 by cad » 02 Jan 2021, 19:55

For the inquiring minds that care to know, I was able to bypass use of the Porteus-installer-for-Linux.com on my UEFI laptop in the simplest of ways. However, you still need a FAT32 partition on the USB flash drive you will use to boot Porteus from. It works perfectly well on my last generation Lenovo IdeaPad laptop. Your mileage may vary with your own desktop or laptop.

1) Create a FAT32 partition on the USB stick and put all the files from the Porteus ISO onto it.
2) Boot computer with the USB flash drive inserted, after a complete shutdown.
3) Get into your UEFI machine's BIOS setup and make sure USB Boot is enabled; also disable Secure Boot while you are there; also change boot priority order so that the USB booting device appears in position #1 (before Windows Boot Manager).
4) Now save BIOS changes and reboot. Porteus should now boot from the FAT32 partition on your USB flash drive. Enjoy! ;)

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Post#13 by ncmprhnsbl » 02 Jan 2021, 21:20

here, i'll quote myself:
ncmprhnsbl wrote:
08 Dec 2020, 23:24
all Porteus-installer-for-Linux.com does is setup the syslinux bootloader, after you've manually copied the the files to your USB, specifically, creating the /boot/syslinux/ldlinux.sys file, (and maybe doing something with the MBR) but, afaiui, this is only for BIOS systems, not EFI..
(there is probly some reference in it to attempting to create a boot entry a windows installation, but 1. not sure this even works (actually i think we've removed this in our development version), 2. can easily be edited out of porteus.cfg)

i havn't personally used an EFI setup, but i was under the impression for EFI, that (presuming that "secure boot" is turned off) copying the porteus files should be enough, it should "just work"..no Porteus-installer-for-Linux.com necessary.. the stuff in the EFI folder should just work it's magic..
(and using fat32, probably) ... as it is, our install.txt, doesn't include any reference to EFI... something to put on the TODO..

hopefully someone who is using an EFI setup can confirm..
and cad has just confirmed what i thought..
i'll reiterate: all Porteus-installer-for-Linux.com does is setup the syslinux bootloader for BIOS machines, it copies no files to anywhere. it is not needed for EFI machines.
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Post#14 by nanZor » 03 Jan 2021, 02:21

So Cad, for future reference, don't conflate EFI and Secure Boot together. Two different things.

I run some modern hardware, that only allows you to turn off secure-boot, but otherwise, EFI booting is all you have. No fallback to legacy boot.

Yet I still run normal installations for the most part on stick that are EFI aware.

The saddest thing about EFI boot is that the *myth* that one *has* to use fat-32 has been repeated so often, it has become fact. You can use ANY filesystem you want, including ext, but many read the specs too fast.

For a more detailed explanation of EFI and Secure Boot facts and myths, the author of Rufus spells it out in his faq:

https://github.com/pbatard/rufus/wiki/F ... hould_Blah

Next time anyone build a bootable stick that is EFI aware, try using a filesystem of your choice. You can end up with a fat/ntfs-free EFI install.

Thing is, you have to try it to find out. Too many just don't believe it, or just parrot back some other guide that doesn't know this either. :)
That's a UNIX book - cool. -Garth

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Post#15 by Ed_P » 03 Jan 2021, 05:11

nanZor wrote:
03 Jan 2021, 02:21
The saddest thing about EFI boot is that the *myth* that one *has* to use fat-32 has been repeated so often, it has become fact. You can use ANY filesystem you want, including ext, but many read the specs too fast.

For a more detailed explanation of EFI and Secure Boot facts and myths, the author of Rufus spells it out in his faq:

https://github.com/pbatard/rufus/wiki/F ... hould_Blah
https://github.com/pbatard/rufus/wiki/FAQ#Blah_UEFI_Blah_FAT32_therefore_Rufus_should_Blah wrote:Especially, it is exceedingly easy to make any UEFI firmware boot from a non-FAT32 file system: all you have to do is provide a UEFI driver for that file system, and you're good to go.
You got links to all the non-FAT32 UEFI drivers available and instructions where to install them? :hmmm: Easier, and quicker, to just use the FAT-32 partition concept. But I admit support for exFAT drives would be useful. :happy62:
Ed

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