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Thread: Boot issue for Backtrack 4 via USB on Macbook

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  1. #1
    Just burned his ISO kamikaze's Avatar
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    Default Boot issue for Backtrack 4 via USB on Macbook

    Hey there Linux community!

    I hate having to admit it, but a Mac + Windows pro like me is having some small issues with Linux.

    Here's my computer Configuration:

    Macbook 4,1
    Intel Core 2 Duo 2.4 GHz
    4 GB RAM
    Airport Extreme (N-compatible) + Ethernet enabled
    Bluetooth 2.1 Ready

    Personal Tweaks:
    Bootcamp partitioned for OS' : Mac OSX 10.6.x and Windows 7 Pro
    rEFIt 0.13 loaded for easy OS switching (also allows you to view and boot Linux OS')

    Linux tools of the trade:
    Backtrack 4 Final Live DVD and loaded onto an 8GB USB Drive (as done by the backtrack-linux video tutorial)


    So here's the thing. I'm not entirely new to Linux. I've had XUbuntu 9 loaded onto my HD to have a Triple-boot HD (Mac OSX 10.5, Xubunut 9, Windows XP 32-bit), and with rEFIt, I was able to freely switch between them all. Since then I've restored my HD to just the normal Bootcamp setup for Mac OSX and Windows. Now I'm trying to boot to a USB stick with a properly loaded BT4 final ISO; I can use this on other PC-native laptop/desktop (tested on a Lenovo and Dell). However, I cannot boot it on the Mac for some reason. When the Macbook powers up to rEFIt, it has three options:
    Mac OSX on HD
    Windows on Partition 3
    Linux/Legacy OS from HD

    Mac and Windows works fine, but the Linux boots to Windows 7 (and if you know about Bootcamp, there is no Windows BIOS, so I cannot change the boot order or target). Also, if I leave in the Live CD and eject it before rEFIt loads, the USB partition with BT4 (labeled BT4 as told by the video tut) will appear along with the generic "Linux/Legacy OS from HD", but it too loads Windows 7.

    The Live CD/DVD works just fine on the Mac; no errors, no disputes. It's just the USB.


    Any suggestions?

    By the way, the computers I used were running Windows Vista 32/64 bit. I do not have access to other Windows 7 laptops because I live on-campus and, well, we're all poor college students...


    Thanks in advance for your time, answers, frustration, headaches, and "Mac Sucks" comments
    Last edited by kamikaze; 01-30-2010 at 04:11 AM. Reason: Small technical hiccups. Just needed to make it accurate ;)

  2. #2
    Very good friend of the forum Gitsnik's Avatar
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    Default Re: Boot issue for Backtrack 4 via USB on Macbook

    Couple of points:

    First, download VMWare, BusyBox, VirtualBox or whatever virtualisation tool you like and run BT in that. It removes a lot of the issues that you can and probably will have with the MBP's. I know you've got a mostly working solution going here so we can ignore this one for now.

    Secondly, your rEFIt version is about 10 releases out of date I assume that's a typo, but just make sure.

    And finally, take rEFIt out of the equation, hold down the option key on boot and see what shows up there. rEFIt is a great tool, but lately I've run into a couple of problems on more recent kit with it and I've nfi why.

    I can't suggest and stress enough that your best bet is to run BT via a virtualisation tool. I'm going to guess you want to crack wireless which will be removed from the equation (it's hit and miss on apple hardware anyway), so save what poor college student money you can (obviously enough to get a legitimate Macbook, snow leopard upgrade - or a recent hardware model - a copy of windows 7 pro, and beers to get you through ) and get a USB dongle to do wifi work.

    And, by the by, Mac sucks for Linux It actually sucks for Windows as well, but being an ACSA means I have to put both on client machines from time to time during deployments. Go figure.
    Still not underestimating the power...

    There is no such thing as bad information - There is truth in the data, so you sift it all, even the crap stuff.

  3. #3
    Just burned his ISO kamikaze's Avatar
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    Default Re: Boot issue for Backtrack 4 via USB on Macbook

    Thanks for replying!

    I've run BT in Parallels and it worked fine, but I guess that VMWare and others are probably more compatible; if so, I'll look into getting a copy from someone here on campus.

    Oh yes, rEFIt is 0.13. Thanks for bringing that to my attention. I'll edit the original post.

    Now to address your tech suggestions:

    I used the "Choose" command on startup via the "C" key; unfortunately the USB did not show as a boot option (but a Live CD will). What gets me is how the USB is recognized as the HD on rEFIt and is properly recognized if you leave the Live CD in with the USB. Maybe the way BT4 was to be set up on the USB (from the instructions on the vid tut) can't be properly read by rEFIt since the last update was last March, and BT4 is newer?


    If you suggest that Virtualization of some sort works best, I'll take your word on it and use Parallels for the time being. I'll still keep the USB FD for when I leave my laptop to taker over the internet .


    Now for all else

    I remember the pain of finding a working wireless driver for the Airport Extreme (I think it was a Broadcom 4312 driver, and it worked on its own when I left the file on my desktop in XUbuntu), and I think I have it in a Linux backup from XU9. I'll try that and if it fails, I'll just mug someone for a Wireless 802.11N USB Adapter (It'll be the first heard of in Utah!).


    Oh I really am a poor college student. All my tech was given to me when I placed 2nd in Texas for a programming competition, and 4th in a Web Design contest. My parents are loaning me college money


    But again, thanks. I'll use a virtualization tool, but I'm still going to try to get the USB to work

  4. #4
    Very good friend of the forum Gitsnik's Avatar
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    Default Re: Boot issue for Backtrack 4 via USB on Macbook

    Quote Originally Posted by kamikaze View Post
    I used the "Choose" command on startup via the "C" key; unfortunately the USB did not show as a boot option (but a Live CD will).
    Haha, Actually that's the "CD" command (which now incorporates DVD as well I guess). Press the option key like I told you next time you boot it up, it's a completely different interface. You could also check the startup disk system preference when you are booted into osx and have the USB stick plugged in.
    Quote Originally Posted by kamikaze View Post
    Oh I really am a poor college student. All my tech was given to me when I placed 2nd in Texas for a programming competition, and 4th in a Web Design contest. My parents are loaning me college money
    It was a poor joke. Don't stress.

    Virtualisation is definitely the way to go for apple hardware. It does mean the additional wifi stick, but in my case I just ignore that and use my netbook when I'm pentesting a wifi network. VMWare lets one use backtrack, and offload some of the niceties to the host OS (swift and silent network browsing for one).
    Still not underestimating the power...

    There is no such thing as bad information - There is truth in the data, so you sift it all, even the crap stuff.

  5. #5
    Just burned his ISO kamikaze's Avatar
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    Default Re: Boot issue for Backtrack 4 via USB on Macbook

    Quote Originally Posted by Gitsnik View Post
    Haha, Actually that's the "CD" command (which now incorporates DVD as well I guess). Press the option key like I told you next time you boot it up, it's a completely different interface. You could also check the startup disk system preference when you are booted into osx and have the USB stick plugged in.

    Well I tried both keys anyways and it was just Macintosh HD and Windows that showed up. When I went to the Startup Disk in the preferences, all that shows is Macintosh HD (it doesn't even show Windows 7).

    It was a poor joke. Don't stress.
    I figured as much, but some people don't understand why a poor college student would have a pricey computer and the latest software. It was just in case that was also what you were thinking

    Virtualisation is definitely the way to go for apple hardware. It does mean the additional wifi stick, but in my case I just ignore that and use my netbook when I'm pentesting a wifi network. VMWare lets one use backtrack, and offload some of the niceties to the host OS (swift and silent network browsing for one).
    So then VPC and a WIFI USB are on my list of things to steal... thanks! I at least know how to make a temporary fix

  6. #6
    Very good friend of the forum Gitsnik's Avatar
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    Default Re: Boot issue for Backtrack 4 via USB on Macbook

    Quote Originally Posted by kamikaze View Post
    Well I tried both keys anyways and it was just Macintosh HD and Windows that showed up.
    FYI: That means that the EFI (the MBR for the non-mac users out there) doesn't recognise the USB as a valid partition map to boot off of. There could be a few reasons for that, but there's no point going into them.

    Enjoy.
    Still not underestimating the power...

    There is no such thing as bad information - There is truth in the data, so you sift it all, even the crap stuff.

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