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...

For general help with trying Ubuntu read this handy PDF guide.

Frequently Asked Questions

My disc is missing

For missing discs, general Linux rants or magazine feedback why not send us a letter: linuxformat@futurenet.com.

My computer will not boot from the DVD

You need to make sure that your computer is set up to boot from an optical disc.

Many systems offer an early "Boot Menu" accessed by tapping F9 (HP), F12 (Dell, Lenovo), F8 (Amibios), F11 (Award BIOS) while 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.

You can permanently alter the boot order if you go into the BIOS/UEFI setup menu, usually accessed by holding down Del key while booting (but systems vary and it could be F1, F2, Esc or another special key), 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.

Some modern Windows 8/10 systems require you to hold Shift and select the Windows Restart power option (from within Windows) to access the UEFI.

Mac users: Hold the C key while powering on your system to boot from the disc.

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

I'm getting errors about Secure Boot or invalid signatures

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).

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

My computer has no optical drive, can I copy the DVD to a USB stick?

Yes you can.

For a GUI-based tool that's available for Windows, Linux and Mac OSX computers try Etcher from https://etcher.io/.

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/LXFDVD277/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 32-bit and 64-bit distros?

The original "PC" architecture was 32-bit, this includes everything up to the i686 chips. A 64-bit architecture was introduced 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.

Why do some distros not boot when I copy your DVD to my USB stick?

This usually occurs because the distro expects to be booting from an optical drive. Booting from an .iso file 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, either with a blank screen or at the splash screen

Some distros experience long boot delays when booting with older graphics cards, particularly those of Nvidia. 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.

I think my DVD is damaged or defective, what do I do?

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.

Why is my question not answered here?

Because we are fallible human beings with limited cognitive abilities and restricted foresight on future events? Or perhaps because you haven't asked it yet. More helpfully, there is an entire internet out there with more helpful people populating it. We suggest you try asking for help on one of the many vibrant online forums and we're sure some knowledgeable person will help.

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