Howto: boot from USB sticks on Gigabyte motherboards

There are quite a few posts on the internet talking about problems with booting from an USB stick with some Gigabyte motherboard models. No matter whether you select USB HDD as primary boot drive, the BIOS would just state “Boot error”. Linnea ran into this problem, and after a little bit of searching the web, I read that a working solution was to use some Windows-only HP software that could format the USB stick the right way.

It turns out, however, that you don’t need that HP software. The problem is that the BIOS Gigabyte uses simply doesn’t like partitions on USB sticks. A simple guide:

  • Erase any existing partitions on the stick with gparted (although your partitioner of choice would likely work as well)
  • Create vfat filesystem directly on USB stick
  • Set up a Live image. I used unetbootin, livecd-creator would likely work as well.
You should then be able to boot from USB sticks.