Unable to boot Knoppix 8.6 from USB stick on a Dell Latitude? Check boot option in BIOS!

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Published on January 23rd 2020 - Listed in Linux Hardware

I'm currently preparing my notebook, a Dell Latitude E7440, for an upgrade. It still runs with Linux Mint 17.3 which is based on Ubuntu 14.04 (Trusty). Yes, this is EOL. Time to upgrade.

To run a full backup of data, I created a bootable USB stick from the current Knoppix (8.6) ISO image:

ckadm@mintp ~/Downloads/ISOS $ sudo dd if=KNOPPIX_V8.6-2019-08-08-EN.iso of=/dev/sdd status=progress
4640354816 bytes (4.6 GB, 4.3 GiB) copied, 533 s, 8.7 MB/s    
9070592+0 records in
9070592+0 records out
4644143104 bytes (4.6 GB, 4.3 GiB) copied, 548.987 s, 8.5 MB/s

The stick was ready. After verifying the BIOS boot order was correct, it was time to boot from the Knoppix USB stick. But instead of booting Knoppix, an error message showed up:

Invalid partition table!

Invalid Partition Table error on boot

My first guess was that the partition table of the USB stick maybe missed a bootable flag. However the flag was set:

ckadm@mintp ~ $ sudo fdisk -l /dev/sdd
Disk /dev/sdd: 28.7 GiB, 30752636928 bytes, 60063744 sectors
Units: sectors of 1 * 512 = 512 bytes
Sector size (logical/physical): 512 bytes / 512 bytes
I/O size (minimum/optimal): 512 bytes / 512 bytes
Disklabel type: dos
Disk identifier: 0x12c649b0

Device     Boot   Start     End Sectors  Size Id Type
/dev/sdd1  *         64 9031679 9031616  4.3G  0 Empty
/dev/sdd2       9031680 9062399   30720   15M ef EFI (FAT-12/16/32)
/dev/sdd3       9062400 9070591    8192    4M 83 Linux

On the other hand the second partition (sdd2) caught my attention. Oh, this is now an (U)EFI partition?!

Back in the BIOS of the DELL Latitude, the boot option was checked. It was currently set to "Legacy":

Legacy and UEFI boot mode in Dell Bios

After changing the boot option from Legacy to UEFI, Knoppix finally booted from the USB stick:

Knoppix booting UEFI mode

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