Creating a BackBox Linux bootable device

After having downloaded (and verified) BackBox Linux ISO image, a bootable device must be created in order to start using it.

Creating a bootable USB drive

The mininimum recommended USB stick size is 4 GB, but this may change in future.

Recognizing the USB drive and partitions Before starting you need to recognize how your system calls the USB stick, i.e. its device name. You may use lsblk, blkid, fdisk, log files or whichever way you prefer for this task, you will find a device name conforming to the Linux drive naming convention. For example /dev/sdb is a possible name for a USB device. Partition names conform to the Linux partition naming convention, which identifies partitions by an appended decimal number to the device name. So, for example, /dev/sdb2 is the second partition of the device /dev/sdb. Please, be as cautious as possible on this step, since any data residing on the partition/device that is going to be written will be permanently erased. So backup your data and double check the drive you are going to write to is indeed the right drive.

Once you have identified the device name, you can create a bootable USB drive. The next sections describe various ways to do that, sorted by decreasing simplicity.

Creating a bootable USB drive with UNetbootin

Using UNetbootin is the recommended and easiest way to create a bootable USB containing any Linux distro, including BackBox.

  1. Get and install UNetbootin. It runs on Linux, Windows and Mac OS X. Most Linux distributions provide a packaged version for it, which you can install using the distro package/software manager.
  2. Run UNetbootin, selecting in its GUI the local BackBox ISO image you already downloaded and the USB device you want to install BackBox onto. Depending on your system and configurations, you may need to run UNetbootin as superuser, otherwise you may not have the privileges required to write to the USB device. Pay extra attention to this step, since if you select the wrong device you are going to face an unwanted data loss, which is the last thing you want.
  3. Once it's done, you can boot BackBox Linux.

Creating a bootable USB drive by hand

Creating a bootable USB drive using isohybrid and dd

BackBox doesn't provide an hybrid ISO image yet (i.e. an image that can be directly copied to an USB device using for example dd utility), even if this is being worked out. Meanwhile it's possible to use Isohybrid from the Syslinux Project to create it on your own. This section covers the creation of an hybrid ISO image using the tools just mentioned, from within a GNU/Linux environment (although syslinux is available for Windows systems too). This image can then be copied to a USB thumb just using the dd command.

Note that in this procedure there is no need to previously create partitions or format them, unless you are going to do a customized install (that we assume you are able to deal with by yourself). You will just need the USB device name.

  1. Depending on your distribution, you may need to get the right tools in different ways. The important thing is obtaining isohybrid and syslinux utilities. Please do a quick query of your distribution packages database to know what to install.
    • On Debian, for example, it's enough to install syslinux and syslinux-utils packages. Debian derivatives like Ubuntu or Mint may have the same or similar packages.
    • Otherwise get syslinux from the official download page and follow the official installation guide.
  2. Now that you have downloaded the right tools, create a backup copy of the BackBox ISO image, since isohybrid will inject a MBR and the bootloader code/files into it, and if something goes wrong you won't have to download the ISO again.
  3. Converting the ISO image to a dd'able one, should be as easy as:
    • # isohybrid /path/to/BackBox/ISO/image
    • For UEFI systems you may try (not tested):
      # isohybrid --uefi /path/to/BackBox/ISO/image

      This may also require the installation of syslinux-efi package.

  4. At this point the ISO image can be written to the USB stick to make it bootable:
    # dd if=/path/to/BackBox/ISO/image of=/dev/<USB_device> bs=2048 && sync

    Note again that you must specify the device name and not any partition name (e.g. /dev/sdb and not /dev/sdb2). Also note that dd will not output any progress information, so take a coffee and be patient while bytes flow.

  5. When you see your shell prompt again without errors, the USB drive is ready to be booted.

Creating a bootable DVD