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I'm following this guide to make a simple bootloader. It generates a file disk.img.

$ dd if=/dev/zero of=disk.img bs=1024 count=1440
$ dd if=vbr.bin of=disk.img count=512 conv=notrunc
$ file disk.img
disk.img: DOS/MBR boot sector

Running qemu-system-i386 and qemu-system-x86_64 on disk.img boots fine, displays the desired text.

I want to be able to boot my actual PC into this "operating system". I figured I could simply run:

$ dd if=disk.img of=/dev/sdc1

...and reboot my PC, selecting Boot from USB at the BIOS, but I get this error:

Invalid partition table!

However, running qemu-system-i386 /dev/sdc and qemu-system-x86_64 /dev/sdc works fine.

How do I write disk.img to my USB stick so that it will boot from my actual BIOS?

  • I believe that your error is that you are writing disk.img to /dev/sdc1 instead of to /dev/sdc – fpmurphy Apr 20 '17 at 3:08
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For some reason, the steps I took to create disk.img make it so that disk.img can only be properly written to a floppy. However, eliminating the image file entirely (writing directly to the USB) worked (make sure you're using /dev/sdX instead of /dev/sdXY):

$ dd if=/dev/zero of=/dev/sdc bs=1024 count=1440
$ dd if=vbr.bin of=/dev/sdc count=512 conv=notrunc

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