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How to create IFL boot media from the IFL Boot Disk

Introduction:

This article covers creating IFL boot media from the IFL Boot Disk. While it has been possible to do this since IFL 2.62, the process has been improved starting with IFL 2.81. This article will cover using IFL 2.81 or later.

Starting with IFL 2.89, the 'iflbuild' menu has been divided into two main menus; Boot Disk Mode and Zip File Mode. These two menus are described in detail in their respective sections below. If you are using IFL 2.81 through 2.88, the menu available there will be essentially the same as the one described under Zip File Mode below.

 

Quick Start (IFL 2.81 or later):

To create IFL boot media from the IFL Boot Disk, run the 'iflbuild' script, and then follow the prompts. The 'iflbuild' script can be started by doing any of the following:

1. From a command prompt, run 'iflbuild'

2. From the IFL (CUI) main menu, choose "Auxiliary Menu", then choose "Create IFL Boot Media".

3.  From the IFL (GUI) desktop, right click the desktop, then choose "Create IFL Boot Media".

4. For IFL 2.89 and later, select Boot Disk Mode or Zip File Mode, depending on what you would like to do.  Descriptions of what can be done in each mode are detailed below.


Boot Disk Mode (does not require IFL zip file):  As of IFL 2.89, this menu is available to provide capabilities that do not require an IFL zip file. That includes running makeHDD in copy mode, creating an optical restore disc from existing image files, and creating an IFL restore disc on a removable drive such as a UFD. The menu items available are described below:

Run makeHDD from command line: In this mode, makeHDD cannot create IFL boot media from scratch. However, it can be used in copy mode to copy existing IFL boot media to another drive or partition. This functionality may be most useful for users who have created their IFL boot media with MakeDisk in Windows, and would now like to install that version to a hard drive partition.

The following is an example sequence of how the makeHDD copy mode can be used to copy IFL from a UFD to a hard drive partition (IFL 2.89 or later):

1. Create IFL boot media (default or custom) on a UFD with MakeDisk in Windows.

2. Boot into IFL from the UFD.

3. Select "Create IFL Boot Media" from the Auxilary Menu (CUI), or from the right-click context menu (GUI) to start 'iflbuild'.

4. Select "Boot Disk Mode", and then select "Run makeHDD from command line".

5. Determine the partition that you will install to, such as /dev/sda3, /dev/sda4, etc. It's recommended that the partition be FAT32  (particularly for Windows users), although it can also be a Linux partition if desired. The partition should also be at least 100 MiB in size.

6. Type in makeHDD command line e.g.  makeHDD /dev/sda3

7. If no errors, type "yes" when prompted to confirm, after confirming that the correct target partition was specified. The command line entered and the target drive/partition will be shown on the screen as a reference.

8. When prompted, insert the source IFL boot media (if not already inserted), in this case the UFD created with MakeDisk. Note that the source media can also be an optical disc.

9. Press <Enter> when ready. The source boot media should now be detected and mounted, and the copy will then proceed and complete. If no error is indicated at completion, the target should be ready to boot from.

Important note: The copy will include any custom files and directories (such as the scripts directory, ifl.ini, BOOTITBM.INI, etc) created by MakeDisk in Windows.  By default, these files and directories will be copied to the root of the target drive/partition, the same as they are on the source. Optionally, the /doini option can be used, which will cause the custom MakeDisk files and directories to be copied into the rootfs instead.

Install IFL restore disc to removable drive: This item can be used to create the IFL restore disk on a removable drive (such as a UFD or an SD card), instead of on optical media. If desired, the restore disk installed to the removable drive can be customized to include one or more custom IFL command lines, as well as an optional custom menu to run the commands from. This is done through the "Restore disc settings" item on the menu.

Burn optical restore disc with existing image files: This item brings up a menu to create bootable optical restore discs containing one or more existing image files. For additional information on using this menu, please see the following KB article:

https://www.terabyteunlimited.com/kb/article.php?id=593

Burn ISO file to optical disc: This item can be used to burn any ISO file(s) located in the /tbu directory to an optical disc. Once one or more *.iso files are present in /tbu, select this item and follow the prompts.


Zip File Mode (requires IFL zip file): This menu is intended to help IFL users create custom or default IFL boot media, without requiring an installed Linux distribution to do it from. Using it requires that an IFL zip file be copied to the boot disk. The task of getting an IFL zip file copied to the boot disk should be made easier by using the menu items available to mount network shares, mount drives or partitions, and to launch the Midnight Commander or TeraByte Explorer file managers.

The following is a list of some of the things that can done when creating a custom version of IFL boot media:

1. Can include Partition Work registration information (name and product key) in the boot media so it's not required to type it in manually at run time. 

2. Can use one or more kernel boot parameter(s) at boot time that would otherwise have to be typed in manually each time.

3. Can set the default video mode or keyboard map.

4. Can use an alternate (non-English) IFL language version.

5. Can customize the settings for one or more network interfaces.

6. Can customize the restore discs created from the IFL boot media.

7. Can require a login at boot time, and/or change the default root password.

8. Can start the sshd server automatically on boot.

9. Can include and configure user scripts (shell scripts, *.tbs scripts, and *.run scripts are supported) on the boot media to automate operations (see Additional Information section at the end of the article).

10. Can include a custom ifl.ini file on the boot media. Note that with IFL versions 2.69 and later, ifl.ini settings can also be customized from MakeDisk.exe when creating IFL boot media from Windows.

Basic Requirements:

1. Must be using IFL 2.81 or later. This can be IFL (CUI) or IFL(GUI), default or custom, with or without network support. The IFL variation that you are running from does not have to match the version and variation that you want to create. For example, you can create IFL (GUI) boot media from a running IFL (CUI) boot disk, and vice versa. The IFL zip file that you copy to the running disk (see item 2 below) is what will determine whether the IFL boot media created will be the CUI or GUI variation.

2. IFL zip file: One of the following IFL zip files must be available to copy to the running disk from a drive, partition, or network share:

ifl_en.zip                  (CUI registered version)

ifl_en_gui.zip            (GUI registered version)

ifl_en_trial.zip          (CUI trial version)

ifl_en_gui_trial.zip    (GUI trial version)


3. RAM: At least 768 MiB of RAM are required on the system creating the boot media.

Recommended Procedure:

1. Boot from your existing IFL Boot Disk, version 2.81 or later.

2. On the GUI version, right click the desktop and choose "Create IFL Boot Media". On the CUI version, select "Auxiliary Menu", then select "Create IFL Boot Media". This will start the 'iflbuild' script for creating boot media.

3. For IFL 2.89 and later, select "Zip File Mode" at the initial menu.

4. Select "Retrieve IFL zip file(s) from drive/partition". Use the tools available to copy an IFL zip file to the /tbu directory on the boot disk. Once the file is in /tbu, the script will list it as an available zip file when you return to the main menu.

  • In IFL 2.89 and later, there are menu items available for mounting network shares or drives/partitions, as well as file managers to navigate to the zip file and copy it with.
  • IFL 2.81 through 2.88 display a page of help text outlining the steps for locating and copying the zip file with TeraByte Explorer.  When ready, press <Enter> to start TeraByte Explorer, and use it to navigate to the IFL zip file that you want to use, and copy/paste it to the /tbu directory. Once the file is in /tbu, the script will list it as an available zip file. Press <Esc> to exit TeraByte Explorer, and return to the main menu.

5. Choose the "Select and extract IFL zip file" item, and follow the prompts to extract and set up the zip file contents. When this step completes, the full menu of options for creating IFL boot media will be available. Note that the zip file will be extracted in the /tbu/iflbuild directory, and the default ISO files iflnet.iso (network) and ifl.iso (non-network) will already be available there, before doing anything else. These two ISO files can be burned directly to CD/DVD to create the default boot media versions. They are also used as the starting point to create custom boot media.

6. Select one of the available menu options for creating boot media, depending on what you want to do. A description of each menu item can be found in the following section.

Description of Menu Options:

Install IFL to removable drive: This is a front end for the makeHDD script, for the specific purpose of creating IFL boot media on a removable drive, such as a UFD, SD card, etc.

  • The "Select drive" item will display a list of removable drives to choose from. Before choosing this item, ensure that the device you want to install to is inserted.
  • The "Select drive layout" option will let you choose between an unpartitioned drive, and a partitioned drive. The current selection is displayed in the upper area of the menu screen. The partitioned layout will contain a single partition (such as /dev/sdc1), while the unpartitioned layout will format the device as an entire drive (such as /dev/sdc). Both drive layouts will occupy the entire device. If not sure which to select, keep the default layout unless you have problems getting it to boot.
  • The "Network or non-network version" item will toggle between creating the boot media with or without network support. For those who do not need network support, the non-network version will take less RAM, and boot somewhat faster.
  • The "Default or custom version" will toggle between creating the default boot media (all default options), or a custom version. When you create a custom version, the "IFL Boot Media Settings" menu will be displayed during the build process. From that menu, you can configure such items as kernel boot parameters, default video mode, user scripts, language version, network interfaces, restore disc settings, login and password, etc.
  • The "Reformat the drive" option (IFL 2.89 and later) provides the option to NOT reformat the drive when creating the boot media. Selecting "No" can be useful if you want to keep existing non-IFL files (such as TBI image files) on the target. Otherwise, the "Yes" (default) setting will reformat the entire drive, and all existing files will be lost.

As you choose the drive and the options, you will see the makeHDD command line being formed on the screen. When ready, choose the "Create the boot media" item to execute the makeHDD script with the parameters you have configured it for. Note that you will need to confirm the install target by typing "yes" at the prompt. Before confirming, ensure that the drive target displayed on the confirmation screen is the one you intend to install to. If unsure, decline the confirmation by pressing <Enter> (or anything but "yes").

Run makeHDD from command line: This item will allow you to type in and execute a makeHDD command line. The available command line options are shown on the screen. The makeHDD script is for installing default or custom versions of IFL to a drive or partition. If installing to an entire drive, it must be a removable drive, such as a USB flash drive. If installing to a partition, the partition must already exist.

To create a custom version, the /c option must be used. When /c is used, the "IFL Boot Media Settings" menu will be displayed during the build process. From that menu, you can configure such items as kernel boot parameters, default video mode, user scripts, language version, network interfaces, restore disc settings, login and password, etc.

If there is an error on the command line, makeHDD will display an error message, and then return you to the command line screen. If the command line is valid, you will need to confirm the target location by typing "yes". Before confirming, ensure that the drive target displayed on the confirmation screen is the one you intend to install to. If unsure, decline the confirmation by pressing <Enter> (or anything but "yes").  For additional information on the makeHDD script, please see this tutorial (primarily Section 4): https://www.terabyteunlimited.com/howto/ifl_boot_media_linux.htm

Run makeISO to create custom ISO file: This item will run the makeISO script, which will create a custom ISO file, with or without network support. The makeISO script is all menu driven (no command line options). During the build process, the "IFL Boot Media Settings" menu will be displayed. From that menu, you can configure such items as kernel boot parameters, default video mode, user scripts, language version, network interfaces, restore disc settings, login and password, etc. Once makeISO completes, the end result will be a custom ISO file in the /tbu/iflbuild directory. The file will be named iflnet-custom.iso if it was created with network support, or ifl-custom.iso if it was created without network support. The ISO file can then be burned to CD/DVD with the "Burn default/custom ISO file to CD/DVD" menu item.

Burn ISO file to optical disc: Selecting this item will display a list of ISO files available in /tbu/iflbuild that can be burned to optical media. If you have created a custom ISO file with makeISO, that file will be listed, along with the two default ISO files (iflnet.iso and ifl.iso) that will always be there. After selecting the ISO file, follow the prompts to burn it to optical media.

View/Modify ifl-custom.ini for custom versions: This item provides a means to include a custom ifl.ini file on custom boot media. Selecting this item will open a menu from where you can directly edit the file /tbu/iflbuild/ifl-custom.ini in the 'nano' text editor, as well as select global options from a list. This file will be copied to the boot media as ifl.ini when you create a custom version. It is ignored when creating a default version. There is no need to enter the product key. That will be included automatically, provided it was entered in step 5 of the procedure above (during setup).

Delete extracted IFL files from /tbu/iflbuild: When finished creating boot media, this item can be used to delete the contents of /tbu/iflbuild to free up RAM for other operations.


Additional Information:

Using IFL to create executable scripts for custom boot media: This can be done by using the Show Command / Save to File capability in IFL (GUI), or the F8 / Save Command capability in IFL (CUI). To use this feature, set up an image operation manually the way you normally would. When you get to the options screen, and have selected the options you want to use, select Show Command (GUI), or Save Command (CUI), and then follow the prompts to save the IFL command to an executable script file. You will be able to assign a name to the file, and save it to the /tbu/iflbuild/scripts directory. All scripts in that directory will be included on custom boot media.

Once the scripts directory has been populated with one or more user scripts, there are several ways to configure if/how/when they are executed. This is done from the "IFL Boot Media Settings" menu when creating a custom version. From that menu, select "Configure User Scripts" to see the options available. For more detailed information on configuring user scripts on IFL boot media, please see the KB article linked to below:

https://www.terabyteunlimited.com/kb/article.php?id=464

dpmount script: The work of copying files to/from a mounted drive or partition can be made easier by using the 'dpmount' script, from which drives and partitions can be mounted and unmounted from a menu interface. The Midnight Commander file manager can also be launched from the 'dpmount' menu to facilitate copying files.


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