Struggles with creating Linux Live USB on Mac OSX

SO I've been trying to create a bootable live USB of some linux distro on the Mac and failed consistently. That is - until I found a magical solution!

I tried

  • dd-ing the .iso file onto the USB stick after unmounting, (and optionally partitioning to "Free Space" with Disk Utility)
  • Formatting to FAT32, then copying from .iso
  • Using UNetBootin for Mac OS X, that basically copies stuff and then adds its own bootloader "GUI"

Nothing worked. I kept getting "Missing Operating System" or just failures on boot...

Until I found a post by this guy Christofer, who published a very important piece of information that got me through the problem:
I needed to write the MBR to the USB after formatting to FAT32 because UNetBootin (or anything else) did not do that...
http://perpetual-notion.blogspot.com/2011/08/unetbootin-on-mac-os-x.html

Basically the procedure is simple:
1. Format to FAT32 with Disk Utility
USB_Flash_Disk_Media

Make sure you select the Master Boot Record

Screenshot_4_8_14__1_21_PM

2. Use fdisk to write the MBR to partition #1
Make sure you first unmount the partition using DiskUtil (or command line: diskutil umount /dev/disk1s1)

(it may complain a bit, but should work, just keep going)

3. get syslinux and upload the MBR binary
I had to use "/dev/disk1" instead of "/dev/rdisk1" to make it work.

You should see

I've found the mbr.bin in the latest syslinux download under

.

4. Use UNetBootin as usual

That worked for me...

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