How to Use Syslinux to Boot ISO

Written by jonah quant
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How to Use Syslinux to Boot ISO
You can use Syslinux to generate a bootable Linux CD. (Stockbyte/Stockbyte/Getty Images)

Syslinux is a suite of tools to create bootable images of the Linux operating system on a variety of media, such as CDs and flash drives. The Syslinux tools themselves run on Linux, so you need to use a Linux computer to create -- potentially different -- Linux images. Isolinux, one of the Syslinux tools, creates an ISO file that you can later burn into a bootable Linux CD.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Linux image you want to boot from CD, with the appropriate directory structure

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  1. 1

    Log in to the Linux computer in text mode. For example, for Ubuntu Linux, press the "Ctrl", "Alt" and "F1" keys to bring up a text mode login prompt. Enter your user name and password.

  2. 2

    Add the executable loader to your bootable Linux image by typing the following command:

    cp /usr/lib/syslinux/isolinux.bin ~/my Image

    Path "/usr/lib/syslinux/isolinux.bin" is correct for Ubuntu; replace it with the correct path to "isolinux.bin" on your distribution. Replace "~/my Image" by the path to the directory that contains the bootable image. Press "Enter."

  3. 3

    Create a new file "~/my Image/isolinux.cfg" with a text editor, then populate it with Isolinux configuration parameters as in the following example:

    defaultdefault Image

    prompt 0

    label default Image

    kernel vmlinuz

    append initrd=initrd.img IP=dhcp

    Save the contents of the new file and exit the text editor.

  4. 4

    Create the bootable CD image by typing the following command:

    mkisofs -o myBootableCD.iso -b isolinux/isolinux.bin -c isolinux/ -no-emul-boot -boot-load-size 4 -boot-info-table ~/my Image

    Press "Enter." After a short delay, mkisofs will create a "myBootableCD.iso" file including the ISO image with the Isolinux loader.

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