I recently had some trouble installing Eeebuntu on a Eee PC 700 via a bootbale USB drive. So, I thought I'd share the experience so that anyone else with the problem can find the solution.
I was in visiting my mother-in-law last week and she asked me to take a look at her Eee PC 700 which recently stopped loading the Xandros-based OS desktop properly.
What was happening was this: it would boot as normal and then it would begin to load the desktop but stop after it had loaded the bottom panel, system tray and system tray icons. While the mouse pointer moved around fine, clicks didn't produce a response either.
As my mother-in-law wanted to have Eeebuntu installed anyway, I suggested that I just do that rather than try to fix the problem with the current install.
I went to the Eeebuntu site and chose the Eeebuntu NBR Edition 3.0.1 version from the download page. I find the standard version a little difficult at times with interfaces being too big for the screen and the NBR edition is pretty slick.
Once the download was complete, I needed to create a bootable USB drive using the iso. I noticed that in recent versions of Ubuntu there is a tool in the System menu (System > Create a USB startup disk) for creating bootable USB drives. I figured this method would be good enough so I loaded the tool, chose the iso file and the USB device and hit install. It seemed to work without any problems.
I plugged the USB pen into the Eee PC, turned it on, jumped into the BIOS by hitting F2 and set the BIOS so that it would boot from a USB device if one was available. After hitting F10 to save and exit the machine restarted and started to boot to the Xandros desktop! I figured I must have done something wrong in the BIOS so I restarted and went in to the BIOS again. This time I disabled the hard drive so that it could only boot from the USB device.
After saving and restarting again I was given this message:
"Error loading operating system"
Great, I thought, the installation to the USB pen didn't work. I thought I'd test the USB pen in my other laptop first to make sure it was corrupted before I went to the effort of reinstalling it... However, it worked perfectly well in my other machine. It gave me the Eeebuntu menu straight away.
Hmm, what next? Well, I did some searches on google and found a few other people seemed to have encountered this error previously. However, the posts I found where people had the same problem weren't in my exact situation - no one was getting the error from doing what I was doing. Furthermore, there was no specific solution available.
In these situations, if I can't get anywhere with my googling skills, I normally go to the forums and ask for help. However, I only had a few hours to deal with the problem before I had to jump on a plane and I didn't think I had enough time wait for a response. So, I skipped that step and went to the Ubuntu channel on IRC to see if anyone could shed any light.
When I go to the Ubuntu channel on IRC asking for help, occasionally I'm given the solution immediately. However, more often, I'm given advice which helps me solve the problem myself. The wonderful people in #Ubuntu help me isolate the problem or give me ideas on what might be causing the problem. With the extra info they provide I can usually go back to google and search again.
This time, no one knew what the problem would be and they mainly suggested doing the things I'd already done. The one thing I hadn't done though was tried to create the bootable USB pen with a different tool. However, I figured that the fact that the USB pen was working on my laptop would preclude a different tool from being the solution.
However, I decided to do what they suggested and try the Unetbootin tool instead. After downloading the tool and installing it, I loaded it up and chose the iso and the USB device and hit install.
After it had installed, I plugged it in to the Eee PC and it booted straight to the menu perfectly. Problem solved!
Now, I have no idea why this made a difference. And, the fact that the first time around it worked with my laptop but not with the Eee PC is puzzling. However, sometimes you just have to know the solution even if you don't know why it's the solution. So if you have the same problem I ran into try Unetbootin instead and hopefully you'll have the same luck I did.
If anyone can shed any light on why the bootable USB pen created with the Ubuntu System tool didn't work on one machine but did on the other or why Unetbootin solved the problem, please share in the comments.