This guide is about how to achive the following:
- Boot A Linux Live System From A USB Drive On A Mac Running OS X Lion
- Update An OCZ SSD’s Firmware On A Mac Running OS X Lion Without Installing Another OS
Interested in installing Linux on your Lion-driven-Mac permanently? Go here. But you didn’t buy a 1000$+ combination of hard- and software just to exchange it’s superior personal-computing software, or did you?
Some Problems I Experienced
- A Mac uses EFI instead of BIOS to manage bootable devices. I experienced a decent lack of EFI support when I used Linux live systems. Everything crashed or froze or didn’t even show up in the boot menu. A common workaround seems to be rEFIt but it isn’t compatible with OS X Lion and I don’t like to modify system tools. (Update: Things have changed, but I still don’t want to mess around, just to update my SSD)
- There is no SSD firmware update tool by OCZ for OS X so you’re forced to use a Linux live system unless you want to make changes to your hard drive setup – like using Bootcamp.
- I replaced my optical drive with a HDD to insert a SSD in the original HDD-Bay – a common modification – but obviously a Mac hates to boot from an external optical drive. As mentioned earlier boot processes crashed or froze.
My Solution How To Boot A Linux Live System
Okay, I found an EFI-loader that has been able to boot nearly every version of Ubuntu and is very easy to setup and it even doesn’t need rEFIt. I found it in a German Mac Forum and it comes with a very detailed description how to use it but this description didn’t work for me. Here’s what I did to boot Ubuntu 11.04 Desktop Edition 64 bit as a live system from an external USB Drive on a MacBook Pro 13’3 early 2011 that was equipped with a 320GB HDD and a 120GB OCZ Agility 3 :
- Get the ISO-2-USB EFI-Booter for Mac 0.01 beta and a recent version of Ubuntu Desktop Edition 64bit.
- Format a USB drive to provide a single FAT32 partition featuring MBR.
- Create the following directories on your USB drive: /efi and /efi/boot
- Copy the bootX64.efi from “ISO-2-USB EFI-Booter for Mac 0.01 beta” into /efi/boot on your USB Drive.
- Copy the Ubuntu image into /efi/boot/ on the USB Drive, too and rename it to “boot.iso”.
- You should have 2 files on your USB drive now: bootX64.efi and boot.iso – both in /efi/boot.
- You’re ready to reboot: During the startup of your Mac hold Alt/Option. You should see “EFI Boot” which has a nice little USB Drive Symbol on it in the appearing boot menu. Boot from your USB Drive by clicking on the little arrow below it.
- Good Luck!
- Ubuntu should be booting now…
- The EFI-fiels are precompiled versions of GRUB2 with included configs. You can make your own ones…
- I didn’t test any 32bit systems. But in case you wish to do so I guess you ought use “bootIA32.efi” from “ISO-2-USB EFI-Booter for Mac 0.01 beta”.
- This shouldn’t be restricted to Ubuntu. In general you need a distribution that supports loopback. You can check this by browsing their ISO for a loopback.cfg or loop.cfg.
- I used a generic 2GB USB thumb drive a friend of mine forgot at my place. Nothing special.
Updating an OCZ SSD’s firmware
Feel free to ask me anything…
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