Sugar on a Stick/Boot

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< Sugar on a Stick/Installation

Computer booting basics

Booting is short for bootstrapping, or the process a computer goes through to load the operating system software to get the computer running on that operating system copy.

Changing operating systems (temporarily)

Most computers have hardware (for example, central processing units, chips, disk drives, audio, video, and networking devices) that can work with other operating systems. So a computer running the Microsoft Windows operating system can be booted with a different operating system, like one of the GNU/Linux variations that Sugar is built on.
With Sugar on a Stick, computers that normally run with Windows, Mac, or another operating system, can be booted from the plug-in USB/SD device, and so, run Sugar without interfering with the hard drive or subsequent operation of the computer. Following shutdown of a Sugar session, the computer can be booted as before with no traces of Sugar left behind.

For more information on how to boot your computer off of a USB/SD device, see USB BIOS boot options and an example of setting the BIOS to boot from USB/SD. Also see an incomplete but comprehensive list of how (key to press) to access BIOS for various computers.

Please add to the list below:

computer key to press
Thinkpad x201 F12
eeePC 701 F2
eeePC 900 Esc
Dell Inspiron F12
Award Bios Del
LanParty bios Ctrl Alt Esc
Toshiba Qosmio F12
Classmate PC F11
HP desktop Esc

Boot device recognition

When a computer is powered up, a short piece of software saved in the computer's firmware gives it instructions to look for instructions to load an operating system from one or another standard devices, such as hard disk drives or CD/DVD/USB/SD storage devices.

A bootable operating system image

An image is a complete copy of a computer disk drive, and a bootable image is one that contains an operating system with additional instructions to load the system at computer start up.
Sugar on a Stick provides
  • a complete set of boot instructions (SYSLINUX),
  • an operating system (Fedora - GNU/Linux), and
  • the Sugar Learning Environment,
  • all of which have been packaged by the SoaS team into the "SoaS.iso" image file.
All these components must be made available to the computer in order to successfully boot into the Sugar Learning Environment.

Installation to a stick is required first

The SoaS software image can be booted, once it has been "installed", from
  • a CD-rom that has been "burned" with the .iso image,
  • a USB/SD flash storage device that has been "loaded" with the .iso image,
  • a hard disk file that is treated as a CD-rom containing the .iso image by virtual machine software already running on a computer.
(In each case, the software image is made to look like a bootable filesystem disk drive to the computer's firmware, and so each may be called a disk or drive.
Sugar on a Stick/Installation describes the installation methods available for the various systems that might be used.

Boot it

Below, we describe how to boot Sugar on a Stick from a USB flash storage device:
  1. Insert the USB drive into a USB port on your computer. Ports directly connected to the mother board, or main circuit board, (usually made available on the back of the computer) are more likely to recognize the device at boot time.
  2. Set the option to "boot from USB" in your computer's BIOS, and then start up the computer. This can be done in a number of ways and will VARY from machine to machine. What you are looking for is the term "Boot Loader" or "Boot Order" or something to that effect. You may have to play around with the settings quite a bit to achieve success. The BIOS is usually not a graphical user interface. Your mouse will not work, generally, in the BIOS. Use the arrow keys. Read the help lines for each BIOS option. If you've not gone into the BIOS before, don't be afraid, you can't do too much damage there, if you pay attention.
    Here's a video of the BIOS on my compac tc4400.
  3. You should see the Sugar logo once the drive is booting.
Proceed to the Explore Sugar page.

Boot Helper CD

In some cases, usually with older computers, the firmware does not support booting directly from a USB/SD device. In these situations,


If your boot hangs, you may need to modify the boot command by appending:
You do this by interrupting the Helper CD boot by hitting the Esc key once the initial splash-screen appears. You should see a list of four boot options. At this point, hit the Tab key. The command line should appear. Add selinix=0 to the end of the line and hit Enter (or Return). The boot should proceed from here as normal.

Low Memory, RAM, Hardware

This Fedora page - - mentions that 768 MB RAM is now regarded as a minimum amount of RAM for Fedora Spins.

If a Sugar LiveCD has failed to boot on low memory hardware, reboot the LiveCD and interrupt the boot process by hitting the tab key at the screen which invites you to "Hit Enter to Boot", "Hit Tab to Edit Command Line", or "wait 30 seconds for automatic boot"

The Boot Command Line should appear.

It is perfectly safe to use remove rhgb quiet (if it exists) from the command line, so that output is printed to the screen, this may provide a clue if the boot fails for a different reason.

Add nomemcheck to the command line

Then hit Enter (or Return). The boot should proceed from here as normal.

Reference: .

Explore Sugar

Proceed to the Explore Sugar page.