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DVD support

Technical support: Please note that the editorial team is busy making the magazine, so unfortunately we can't answer general questions about software and Linux! We'd love to natter about Linux all day, but then there wouldn't be a magazine or disc...

Frequently Asked Questions

My computer will not boot from the DVD, what can I do?

I'm getting errors about Secure Boot/invalid signatures

Can I copy the DVD to a USB stick for booting on a computer with no DVD drive?

What do I do with the ISO files on the DVD?

What is the difference between the 32 and 64 bit distros?

When I try to boot one of the distros, why do I get a blank or corrupted screen?

Why do some of the distros not boot correctly when I copy your DVD to a USB stick?

Why do some distros hang with either a blank screen of the splash logo when booting on my computer?

I think my DVD may be damaged or faulty, what do I do?

Why is my question not answered here?


My computer will not boot from the DVD, what can I do?

See the "BIOS is not set to boot from CD or DVD drive" section at http://help.ubuntu.com/community/BootFromCD for more information.

You need to make sure that your computer is set up to boot from an optical disc. If you go into the BIOS/UEFI setup menu, usually accessed by holding down Del while booting, you can set the boot order of the various drives on your system. Setting CD/DVD above the hard drive will result in the computer booting from the optical drive whenever it contains a bootable disc. Alternatively, most systems will show you a boot menu if you hold down one of the function keys when booting (to see which one, either look in the manual or watch the messages at the bottom of the screen when you power up). This lets you leave the boot order as is but still boot from DVD or USB devices when you need to. Owners of some Sony Vaio laptops need to press the Assist button while the computer is turned off to power it into the options menu.


I'm getting errors about Secure Boot/invalid signatures

See https://help.ubuntu.com/community/UEFI for more details.

You need to disable Secure Boot to use our DVD. The procedure differs from machine to machine, and in some rare cases it is outright impossible. Look in the UEFI settings for "Classic-BIOS" mode or "CSM". Some distros (e.g. Ubuntu) have a valid secure boot signature, so it's possible to burn a securely-bootable disc using their ISO file (either downloaded from their website or copied from our DVD).


Can I copy the DVD to a USB stick for booting on a computer with no DVD drive?

Yes you can. The DVD uses what is known as a hybrid architecture that is bootable from both CD and USB sticks. You need to use the dd program to copy the data from the DVD to a USB stick, like this

sudo dd if=/dev/dvd of=/dev/sdX bs=1M

Where /dev/sdX is your USB stick, which must not be mounted. If you have downloaded an ISO image of the DVD from the subscriber area of our web site, replace /dev/dvd in the above example with the path to the ISO file.

sudo dd if=/media/LXFDVD196/Distro/distro.iso of=/dev/sdX bs=1M

We need to use sudo in order to be able to write to the raw disk device.

Wherever possible, the individual distro ISO files are also hybrids, so you can copy an individual distro to a USB stick, which is generally a lot faster than copying the whole DVD.

While we make the DVD like this, their is no guarantee that individual distros will boot when the DVD is copied to a USB stick. The majority do, those that don't are beyond our control.


What do I do with the ISO files on the DVD?

Normally, nothing. Each ISO file is an image of the CD or DVD for a particular distro, but the Linux Format DVD is set up to allow you to select any of the distros to load when you boot your computer from it. If you want to, you can copy an individual ISO image to a DVD or CD (depending on its size) using your favourite CD/DVD burning program. You must use the option to write the ISO file as an image, don't just copy the file to a disc or it won't work.


What is the difference between the 32 and 64 bit distros?

The original "PC" architecture was 32 bit, this includes everything up to the i686 chips. The a 64 bit architecture was introduce by AMD and later adopted by Intel (this is why is it sometimes referred to as amd64 even though it runs on Intel 64 bit systems too). This new architecture is backwards compatible so all of the distros on this DVD, be they 32 or 64 bit will run on modern hardware. However, only the 32 bit distros will run on older hardware. Trying to boot a distro from the DVD on unsuitable hardware will normally result in the boot processing hanging or bailing out with an error.


When I try to boot one of the distros, why do I get a blank or corrupted screen?

This usually means the distro does not include the drivers for your graphics hardware. Check the other boot options, there is often one called something like "safe mode" or "VESA" (VESA is a standard set of graphics displays) that will resolve this and any other hardware conflict issues.


Why do some of the distros not boot correctly when I copy your DVD to a USB stick?

This usually occurs because the distro expects to be booting from an optical drive. booting from an ISO on another device requires support in the distro's boot process. When this support is not present or suitable for booting from the Linux Format DVDs, we try to work around it by adding a custom initramfs file to the DVD to allow booting from both our DVD and a USB stick, but this is not always possible. In the vast majority of these cases, it is still possible to boot these distros by copying the individual ISO file to a USB stick with dd and in that boot scenario the computer still thinks it is booting from an optical drive.


Why do some distros hang with either a blank screen of the splash logo when booting on my computer?

Some distros experience long boot delays when booting with an older graphics card, particularly an Nvidia card. This is because they come with the newer drivers that no longer work with some cards. They try to load the drivers several times and eventually fall back to the standard VESA driver. It appears that the computer has hung because the slash screen (which is blank because the video drivers failed to load) covers what is happening. Press Esc to see the activity.

The solution is either to wait for the auto-detection process to time out, which can take several minutes, or to look for a boot option called something like failsafe or safe graphics (the name varies between distros). With some distros you simply have to wait for the timeout. This only applies to the live distros, when you install them to your hard drive, suitable drivers are used.


Why is my question not answered here?

Because you haven't asked it yet? This FAQ is a work in progress, if you cannot find the answer here, pop along to our forums and ask in the Magazine and coverdiscs forum.


My disc is broke?

Defective discs

If it looks like you have a defective DVD, follow these steps to make sure:

1. Check the disc surface for marks or scratches
2. Try the disc on another machine, to see if it's a problem with your drive
3. Try both booting the disc and accessing its contents through your file manager

The simplest test, if you have access to another computer, is to try booting it in that. If it works there, there is a problem with your computer. The Linux Format DVDs have built in checksums for error checking and a program to check your copy of the disc. Assuming your DVD is mounted at /media/LXFDVD208, run this command in a terminal.

sh /media/LXFDVD208/media_check.sh

Run this from your home directory, do not cd to the mounted DVD first or it will fail!

If nothing works, please contact linuxformat@futurenet.com with the issue number, the problem and your address, and we will send out a replacement.

So if you have a question about Linux, please ask on our forums at www.linuxformat.com/forums/. Make sure that you mention the distro you're using, your PC specification if necessary, and any error messages you've received -- then a friendly forum regular will be able to help you out.



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