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#182 when selecting USB, rEFIt boots on HDD


Dear everyone,

Many thanks for your work.

I have installed Kubuntu (10.10) on top of OSX (10.6) on my MacBook (7.1). When I start the computer, rEFIt asks me if I want to boot on OSX or Linux, and everything works fine. However, when a USB key is plugged in and bootable, rEFIt also asks me if I want to boot on it, and if I select the USB key, rEFIt still boots Linux on my HDD! What did I wrong?

Thanks in advance for your precious help,



  • Joe van Tunen

    Joe van Tunen - 2010-11-11

    If you have more than one bootable disk attached to your Mac containing a legacy OS (Linux or Windows) then you need to make sure the disk is selected in the Startup Preferences, otherwise the first bootable disk is always booted. rEFIt does have a feature that supports multiple disks so you don't need to do that but you have to get the latest source code and recompile it to get the feature.

    Anyway, most (if not all) Macs will not boot a legacy OS from USB or FireWire. This is a limitation of the Apple BIOS. Mac OS X doesn't have this problem because it is booted by EFI, not BIOS.

    Maybe you can figure out how to use a BIOS extension (installed on an internal boot disk or a CD) that will boot a legacy OS from a USB device. EasyBCD (which uses the Vista or Windows 7 boot menu) includes PloP which can boot from USB. I have tried PloP but I haven't tried booting a USB device with it.

    You can also get PloP separately but I haven't tried that:

  • Martine Ginette

    Martine Ginette - 2010-11-11

    Hello Joe,

    Thanks a lot for your answer: understanding the problem is quite often a good way to leave it behind, even though it is not completely solved! I guess I'll live without the freedom to boot from USB, at least for some time: until Apple solves the problem, or until I can find a good linux computer! Thanks again!



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