Cannot boot from multi-session CD or DVD

January 28, 2007 at 7:01 am 2 comments

One interesting feature of Puppy Linux is the ability to save to a multisession CD or DVD. The idea is that whenever you shutdown, you are given an opportunity to save changes back to the disc. Each save occupies a single session. Initially, I thought this was pretty cool because I can then take a multi-session CD or DVD with me and boot from any computer. However, multi-session CD/DVD turned out to be very unreliable. I was able to boot from some machine, but not from others.

Boot issue could be caused by the following reasons:

  • Your optical drive does not support multi-session at all. In this case, you would not be able to see the other sessions. Most drive, even old ones will support multi-session CD-R, but some drives won’t support some of the multi-session DVD formats.
  • Your optical drive supports multi-session, but cannot boot from a multi-session disc. In this case, you will be able to see the other sessions, but cannot boot. Sometimes, this can be fixed by a drive firmware upgrade.
  • Your optical drive supports multi-session and can boot from it, but your computer’s BIOS does not support multi-session boot. In this case, no matter which optical drive you install. Multi-session boot will not work.

In my case, I am thinking that my computer’s BIOS (an Asrock K7-Upgrade-880) does not support multi-session boot because I have two optical drives of different brands (one a Toshiba and the other a NEC) and neither can boot from the multi-session CD. They will boot from a single session CD. I was able to boot multi-session disc on an Averatec 2370, and a Dell 1509. Both are recent laptops. I was unable to boot multi-session disc on an Asrock K7-Upgrade880, an ancient Asus K7V, and an IBM NetVista. All three are older desktop machines. I think the Asrock is barely 2-3 years old.

In the end, I find Puppy Linux’s multi-session feature not to be useful at all. I was hoping that this would allow me to create a portable session that I can carry with me. In reality, many of the older computers don’t support multi-session boot, so this limits its use. I am going to look into booting from USB keys instead.

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Entry filed under: linux, Puppy Linux.

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