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Weird ERROR Booting ISO Created By Sparky-Backup-Sys

Started by sasdthoh, January 04, 2017, 04:27:55 AM

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I'll try to keep this as brief as possible but I have to provide some details.

I re-purpose older pc systems for charities, families with very little money to buy modern or newer equipment, extra needed computers for schools, churches, etc. Since I am a huge fan of Sparky as a distribution and I am an experienced Debian user, I wanted to create a base setup to install on many pcs so they all have a common theme and setup. The Sparky-Backup-Sys makes a backup and creates a "live" iso of an existing installed system so I decided to setup a VMWare virtual machine and learn how to configure / use this tool for its very useful and intended purpose.

As advertised, it was an easy configuration and it performed very well, all the while creating the iso in very short order, at least more quickly than I envisioned. After the iso was created, I decided to test it for flaws or issues so I created a NEW virtual machine using the newly created iso file and it booted BEAUTIFULLY and without flaws in the newly created virtual machine. As instructed on the creation software, all that was intended was perfect. All software, network functions, etc. worked so well that I spent an hour using it as a live iso and never once considered running the installer because I was enjoying how well it worked and kept all of my system configurations. I only tested it as a live iso. I did not test it by running the live installer.

I decided to burn the same iso to a usb thumb drive and test the boot process on my actual hardware.

The grub menu appeared and started the boot process as normally expected. Then, the screen stopped all progress and displayed the following error message, word for word.

"Busybox v1.22.1 (Debian1:1.22.0-19) built-in shell (ash)
Enter 'help' for a list of built-in commands,

(iniyramfs) unable to find a medium containing a live file system"

This error struct me as very odd because it worked without issues in the virtual machine as a live boot. So I used four different thumb drives and a number of different methods to burn the iso to each usb drive, Rufus and Etcher in Windows, and the dd command, Live USB Creator, gparted for different formatting and partition types (ie: fat32 and ext4) and still, each time the same error appeared in every instance when attempting to boot on my actual hardware.

I created another new virtual machine and tested the iso once more and guess what?


Ok, I give up. what mistake(s) have I made to cause this problem? I was really looking forward to using this tool in my work.

Thanks Sparky devs and community for a fantastic 5-star distribution!

sasdthoh (Paul)


If the iso image works fine on a virtual machine, it means the iso is ok.
The problem is about copping the iso to usb drive I think. It loose part of files and can't be booted.

1. You have said that it's VMware machine, so did you install vmware (don't remember the name) additional tools offered on first boot up of a virtual machine?
2. Did you try to run the iso in a different virtual machine, such as VirtualBox?
Nothing is easy as it looks. Danielle Steel
Join at [url="//"][/url]


Quote from: sasdthoh on January 04, 2017, 04:27:55 AM
I re-purpose older pc systems for charities, families with very little money to buy modern or newer equipment, extra needed computers for schools, churches, etc. Since I am a huge fan of Sparky as a distribution and I am an experienced Debian user, I wanted to create a base setup to install on many pcs so they all have a common theme and setup.

Hi sasdthoh, sorry for being a little offtopic in regards to your question. I just wonder about one thing. Why have you chosen a distro based on testing to re-purpose for charity? Would it not be much easier for the users to have a stable distro to administrate. Or is the thought that it is based on stretch from now on, and will then be stable when Debian releases? This is not meant as any form of critique, really it is some great work you are doing. I am just very very curious. :)
Unstable OpenBoxer


First, to PAVROO,

Thank you for your very timely response. More details are in order. I am a registered user of VMWare and use it almost exclusively when using vm's to produce finished work in my charitable endeavors. I also have used Virtualbox for years but found that it manifests some really odd behavior from time to time with various combinations of distros, hardware, and configuration settings. So, I almost always use virtualbox ONLY when the use of it does not involve my serious finished work. I have enough issues without the chosen hypervisor giving me headaches when you least expect them. "Murphy's Law, right?"

As for the desktop vmware tools available to Sparky VMWare installs, I rarely install them because they add additional software and resource drain to a virtual machine setup intended to eventually serve an old pc system. Pavroo, as you suspected, I did not install the desktop tools when I created the iso file using Sparky-Backup-Sys. Should I have done so? If you say yes, then I will do so and try again.

As for my burning of the created iso file to usb thumb drives, I can tell you that I have done hundreds of transfers over the years with every available method at my disposal, my preference being using the dd command line options. Since Sparky's fabulous little tool "Live USB Creator" is just a convenient gui for the dd command, IT ROCKS! Don't get me wrong. I'm will always be a command line "kind of guy" but its one of the reasons I love Sparky distros so much. The small touches the developers and community incorporate into the desktop make working with Debian an absolute joy. For guys like me, 'IT'S A BOAT LOAD OF FUN!"

Sorry, I am rambling. Anyway Pavroo, any suggestion or ideas from you or your colleagues is welcome. The first rule of serious computing is never assume you know more than the next serious user. "Drain" them of as much knowledge as you can. I guarantee it will serve you well in the future.

NOW, this segment is directed to BLAZE. Through my years of field work and actual testing using Debian as a base, when working with older hardware, my research has yielded some revelations that will "debunk" many wive's tales concerning what is needed when working with older hardware. Everywhere there are discussions on the Internet, publications, working consordiums, educational institutions, etc., etc., is has always been discussed as a "matter of fact" that to succeed in re-purposing older equipment, you have to use Debian stable with old kernels. My work has proven this to be ABSOLUTELY FALSE. The determining factor is the old hardware's capabilities and nothing more. Eighty percent of the restored systems that I have put in use again are using Debian Testing. Does this surprise you? It did me. And I make these statements based on REAL EQUIPMENT running Debian Testing installations done by my own hand, not speculation or assumption made by others. The last nine pc's done by me are running Sparky distros with me using my "digital scalpel" to remove unnecessary services, software, scripts, and configurations.

Another advantage to using Debian Testing is more available firmware, multimedia, and software support. My work over the years has proven the Debian Stable is equivalent to another distro's SUPER STABLE. Debian Testing has proven to be equal to another distro's STABLE. Debian is that good and I know the Sparky fan base all know it.

Does this mean that I LOVE Debian only? Absolutely not. I LOVE ALL LINUX! I started using Linux in a serious way by starting with Red Hat 6.3, a long time before Fedora was even a thought of creation. It was so long ago that the video framework was XFREE86, not XORG as it is now. I also spent my early days with the business end of Suse 7 and 8 running the early versions of KDE, long before Novell purchased the company and even longer before OpenSUSE was a thought in anyone's mind. I still have the original packaging disks, manuals, everything. I have forgotten so much of what I learned in those early days.

I hope that my ramblings did not scare anyone away. I thought it was important to understand my frame of mind and reasons for certain decisions. I thank everyone for their support and willingness to help. I APPRECIATE YOU ALL. When I am finished with my current projects, I intend to provide all of my work and outlines for Sparky developers, community contributors, and sparky users to benefit Sparky distributions and their user base. I promise not to waste your time.

Always Grateful, Paul (sasdthoh)

ps: To PAVROO, check your private email account. I sent you some screenshots of my re-spin of Sparky that I am building for older systems. When it is finished, I guarantee it will BLOW YOU AWAY! You have my permission to share the screenshots with anyone that wishes to get a taste of what is coming.


Thank you for taking your time to explain your re-purpose strategy. Appreciate it! Keep up the good work sasdthoh. :)
Unstable OpenBoxer


Quote from: sasdthoh on January 04, 2017, 06:24:01 PM
Debian Testing has proven to be equal to another distro's STABLE.
I agree.   Not had an opportunity to be involved in charitable work, but do play with Openbox Debian-based systems for my own personal enjoyment.  Occasionally record things publicly in  Please have a look, comment and take anything you like.


Cannot directly relate this to your problem, but I recently did a new install of Sparky-base with the result that it would not boot by itself.  It turned out to be a labeling problem.  I booted into the new system using the install disk, and then installed and used gparted to put a "boot" label on the partition that I knew contained grub.  After that the new system booted fine.



I assume you have been reading the entire thread and observed that Pavroo asked if I had installed the open-vm-tools-desktop package. I stated that I had not and asked if he thinks that I should but did not receive a response. (probably because they are constantly busy)

So I did install the package and tried again. No success except when using it in a virtual machine.

I have performed many different experiments with no success. Your suggestion may indeed solve the problem because of the nature of open source; "there is always something weird about its behavior."

I had to tend to some personal responsibilities so I stopped testing for the last day and a half but will jump back in and try your suggestion as well as performing a HARDWARE ONLY install of Sparky. The I will test the Sparky-Backup-Sys tool once more without any influence from a VM. I will test it both ways, with your suggestion and the same method I have been doing to see the difference.

Ordinarily I would just eliminate the use of that tool and move on. I want to continue to use Sparky as my base because of the other Sparky specific tools and way of doing things. It saves me a tremendous amount of time when setting up a multitude of older pcs.

You may have just earned yourself a 'GOLDEN NUGGET AWARD!"

Thank you for your input. I will keep you informed and will be happy to "SING YOUR PRAISES ON THE MOUNTAINTOP!"

Paul (sasdthoh)

ps: can you tell me how to insert or attach some screenshots of my current low resource OS? I can't find the option. I must be getting "old."


Ok Folks,

You're not going to believe this one!

After the many experiments, testing in various equipment with failure each time trying to get the Sparky-Backup-Sys tool to produce a bootable iso using virtual machines, then trying them in actual hardware, I spent some time thinking about it and also considering the suggestions offered by Sparky community members.

I decided to go "old school" and pass on the usb thumb drive used to boot the newly created live iso.

Instead, I pulled out one of my older systems I plan to repurpose; an Acer Model AST180-UA380B equipped with an AMD Athlon X2 3800+ cpu, 1-gigabyte of ram, NVidia 6100 video chipset, DVD writer, SD card reader, and all the usual standard ports that came with pc's ten years ago.

I burned Sparky Lxde v4.5.2 64-bit iso to a dvd blank on my personal system. I then used the newly created dvd media to boot and do a fresh install of Sparky on the old pc. I then booted the newly installed Sparky install, updated the repos and performed a safe upgrade, made some basic theming, configurations, software changes, etc., but did not remove any of the stock software included in the original Sparky iso used for the installation.

I then installed the Sparky-Backup-Sys tool via the Aptus-Extra utility. After some basic light system housekeeping as I have always done, I used the Sparky-Backup-Sys to to create a live iso. I decided for the test not to make ANY editing changes to the config files accept one. I shortened the name of the iso and that is the only edited change I made.

I started the creation process and as you might imagine, it took a while on this old system. Once the newly created live iso was completed, I used Xfburn to burn the new live iso to another dvd blank at a very slow speed. (4x)

After completion of the burn process, I rebooted the system and booted from the dvd/cd drive.

Guess what?


And mind you, this particular old pc cannot boot external usb thumb drives so you have to use digital media as a a boot medium.

I am not ready to mark this thread as SOLVED until I have performed a number of other actual hardware installs outside virtual machines. Since I use VM's to standardize my OS setups and since it never would boot correctly when using iso's created in vm's on actual hardware, I am going to use the old system to make a number of live iso's with different configurations, then attempt to boot and live install them on other older pcs, just as I have always intended when doing the work in vm's.

Once I have finished my testing, I will provide (bore you sinceless) with every rediculous detail of each step I have taken in this quest to use the Sparky-Backup-Sys tool to standardize my setups re-purposing older systems for charitable and / or other interests.

As always, stay tuned for additional news from your "Reality TV PC Star!"

Paul (sasdthoh)


As much as I love Sparky as a Debian distro, I have to "call it like I see it."

Sparky-Backup-Sys is NOT a reliable tool. I say this based on the 17 iso builds I performed in and out of vm's, laptops, and on mid range desktops. I tested this tool with relentless determination because I could really use a tool like this to save myself a tremendous amount of time in my charitable work.

In seventeen iso builds, only two actually worked as intended outside a vm. The rest demonstrated so many anomalies and odd errors, my head was spinning.

What really drives me crazy is that a similar tool is provided in a couple of other Debian based distros and their's worked almost a hundred percent of the time as intended. I even built several iso's in virtual machines and then used the Windows based tool Rufus to burn them to a usb thumb drive and they booted on actual hardware without issues.

I even tried this tool by NOT installing any software or changing any config files to see if I was successful. It worked but only when burning to a blank cd medium.

Since Sparky is 100% compatible with the current Debian upline and by extension, uses systemd as its init system, I will continue to use it as I have always in the past; installing it and customizing it one pc system at a time. I know it's easy to do pure Debian installs but I like the extra Sparky tools to perform other system tasks.

Anyway, if anyone out there has had ANY success, please post your setups, configurations, etc. Even your config choices might offer some clues as to the "nature of this beast." I'm still not ready to give up but I am definitely taking a breather.

Thank everyone

test scenarios: (also remember that I use vmware virtualized software as stated in earlier threads)

created in vm, tested in vm.
created in vm, tested in hardware
created in hardware, tested in hardware (limited success, cd's only, no config changes)
created in hardware, tested in vm


How did you use the tool? via GUI or command line?

A log can say something about that, it is located in:

And how do you copy the iso to usb drive?
Nothing is easy as it looks. Danielle Steel
Join at [url="//"][/url]



I would like to correct an error in my last detailed report when I stated at the very end the following .......

"created in hardware, tested in hardware (limited success, cd's only, no config changes)"

I was very tired and meant to say : dvd blank media iso burns only", not cd's only.

I never used the command line. Each and every time, I used the installed gui in Lxde configured desktop.

In Windows 7, I used the latest portable versions of Rufus and USB Universal Installer.

In Linux, I used the Sparky USB formatter and Live USB Creator, Gnome-Disk-Utility commonly known as "disks". I also used gparted to prep the usb thumb drive and format it in fat32, also known as vfat. The only reason for doing so was to make certain the thumb drive was not defective.

Finally, I used the following command in the terminal.

sudo dd if=/home/filename.iso of=/dev/sdb bs=4m status=progress && sync

where /home/filename.iso was the working directory and iso created using the Sparky-Backup-Sys tool.

I do want to clarify one more thing so everyone understands. I know how difficult hybrid iso's with compressed file systems can be in their creation, at least from examining the limited documented creation processes available on the net and I have always been very happy with Sparky as a modern distro.

If there is a better way by using the command line alone, then I am open to any suggestions and willing to take a shot at more testing. I am not the "be all and do all" of live iso's.

If you do make any suggestions, please also state the PREFERRED formatting and writing methods when burning the iso's to thumb drives.

If I am able to resolve this issue, I will be able to produce a testing version of my custom Sparky/Debian low resource OS which has proven to be very promising.

Anyway, thanks and gratitude to Sparky devs and the International community.

Made Possible by Sparky Linux, Powered by Debian = AWESOME!

Paul ( sasdthoh )


Quote from: sasdthoh on January 25, 2017, 01:00:46 AMsudo dd if=/home/filename.iso of=/dev/sdb bs=4m status=progress && sync

Should it not be? sudo dd if=/home/filename.iso of=/dev/sdb bs=4M status=progress && sync
Unstable OpenBoxer


Capital M

man dd
QuoteN and BYTES may be followed by the following multiplicative suffixes: c =1, w =2, b =512, kB =1000, K  =1024,  MB  =1000*1000,  M  =1024*1024,  xM  =M,  GB  =1000*1000*1000,  G
       =1024*1024*1024, and so on for T, P, E, Z, Y.

Old, but from the dev of vsido

Debian Wiki these days is moving to using cp instead of dd   I still dd

Search forum for "More info easier via inxi"    If requested -  no inxi, no help for you by  me.


Just for clarification, I normally use the following ;


I should have clarified that part but the dd listing works every time, or at least, has for me many times.

Paul ( sasdthoh )

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