CD / USB Flash Boot Dell Precision 3620

Fred Marshall
Fred Marshall used Ask the Experts™
I have a new Dell Precision 3620 that I want to image using live CD boot or USB Flash boot.
Many of the attempts are stopped (by something) midway through.  Just about the point that the OS on the CD or USB Flash is being loaded.
So, the hardware appears to be working.
Safe Boot is disabled.

The only thing that I notice is both interesting and a bit odd:

If I load a boot CD and invoke the boot menu, there is a CD/DVD on the menu and there is also a UEFI: [name of CD/DVD device] entry.
The first one does not allow a boot saying that there is no bootable medium.
The second one does allow a boot as described above.
It doesn't seem to matter if the bootable medium is CD/DVD or USB Flash.

I sense from the behavior that there is something that is actively *stopping* the boot process.  Often, WINPE-based media will stop at "Starting Windows".  Linux-based media will stop at "loading initrd".

What is likely the issue here and how to get past it?
Watch Question

Do more with

Expert Office
EXPERT OFFICE® is a registered trademark of EXPERTS EXCHANGE®
Top Expert 2013
what imaging software are  you using? i recommend paragon (free)

also - what is the reason for imaging?  if the system was not running fine - hardware problems can cause this

you can also post pictures of the stopping screen
Most Valuable Expert 2013
There are two potential issues - one is UEFI "Secure boot" which is designed intentionally to prevent booting to an alternate operating system, boot to the Precision's BIOS setup and disable this.  The second is if booting via USB and you have a USB 3.0 port most installtion disks don't have USB 3.0 drivers included so either use a USB 2.0 port if available or merge a USB 3.0 driver into the installer package.

In your case I'm guessing it's the first option.  Try <F2> to get into the setup menu at boot, find System Setup Options, and BOOT List Options.  Switch the boot up to Legacy Mode.


nobus:  I am using both Acronis Universal Restore and Paragon Drive Copy 15 Pro as well as trying other boot disks.  I *was* able to run an Aconis imaging and Universal Restore.  Yet, I'm trying to make this process more robust than it seems now.  I can't count on a particular live CD to work.  But, just to be clear, if it works then it works.  This is not an intermittent situation.

I'm messing with imaging because I want to transfer a fairly complex installation onto this computer.

MASQ: As I indicated: "Secure Boot" is disabled.  Boot is in legacy mode.
Thanks for the tip re: USB 2.0 vs. 3.0!!
Top Expert 2013

what os are you imaging ?
>>  Many of the attempts are stopped (by something) midway through  <<    i assume no messages - or errors ?
are there any devices connected to the system ?
also -no log is generated?
here some possible locations :


nobus:  I am imaging Windows 7 in this one case.  

There is often an external USB hard drive attached for saving images and for restoring images.

I have tried an external USB CD/DVD drive and it seems to behave the same as the internal CD/DVD drive in this regard.

I have tried a USB Flash drive and it behaves the same - as I've described.

I don't understand how there could be Windows logs if Windows isn't running.
The link talks to Windows installations and I'm not doing a Windows installation.
Well, to be clear, I have tried booting from WINPE-based CDs.  It seems all those hang at "Starting Windows".  But, of course, this isnt' anything happening on any hard drive.
And, the Linux live CD boots can hang as well at "loading initrd".

This is a puzzling situation.  Thanks for persevering with me!
Top Expert 2013

if both windows and Linux hang - you have to check the boot settings, or the hardware
there must be something wrong
try booting from UBCD - and report what happens then

Hardware diagnostic CD    UBCD
go to the download page, scroll down to the mirror section, and  click on a mirror to start the download
Download the UBCD and make the cd   <<==on a WORKING PC, and boot the problem PC from it
Here 2 links, one to the general site, and a direct link to the download

since the downloaded file is an ISO file, eg ubcd527.iso - so you need to use an ISO burning tool
if you don't have that software, install cdburnerXP :

If you want also the Ram tested - run memtest86+ at least 1 full pass,  - you should have NO errors!
For disk Diagnostics run the disk diag for your disk brand (eg seagate diag for seagate drive)  from the HDD section -  long or advanced diag !  (runs at least for30 minutes)                        ultimate boot cd             download page

**  you can make a bootable cd - or bootable usb stick

for completeness -here's how i handle disk problems :


nobus:  I think I've parsed the issue a bit better.  The F12 boot menu shows:
Legacy Boot:
USB Device
UEFI Boot: CD/DVD [device name]
                    USB [device name]

I had mistakenly concluded that the Legacy boot selection never worked.  This isn't correct.  Sometimes it does.  For example, the Paragon USB Flash Drive boots from the Legacy boot list and hangs at "loading initrd"  (just after "Loading Linux").

It appears that this system can identify a UEFI medium (or at least a CD/DVD) when it's inserted and this is what causes a UEFI boot device to show up in the boot menu.

I have UBCD 5.3.3 and going to the website is nothing but trouble.  I've had to reboot twice because of threatware attacks!!  And, I'm pretty careful!
Top Expert 2013

>>  I have UBCD 5.3.3 and going to the website is nothing but trouble  <<  i never had any trouble with it
i simply go to the download page, scroll down to the mirror list, and click on the icon of the nearest mirror, as i said in my first sentence
when do you have these problems?  what did you click?  (post a screenshot)


At this point I have no idea what I clicked as I don't have photographic memory.  Pretty good but not that good!  So, a screenshot would be no more than what you would see if you opened the page.  
I'm not about to experiment around to find the bad link again.

As I said, I'm pretty careful and fairly experienced.  So it's grating when I get caught!!  Just thought you should know.'
I did finally do it right.....
Thanks for the suggestion.
Top Expert 2013

no problem, just wanted you to know if you  followed my suggestion  -you won't have problems
I received this input from a Dell forum.  I can't vouch for it and I'm still trying to understand it.  But the summary is pretty clear and stark.

Only 64 bit versions of windows will boot.
64 Bit WINDOWS PE 7 8 or 10 will boot fine.
Only 64 bit UBUNTU 12.04.5 and up will boot. And others that have signature in bios.
MBR Syslinux USB Flash Drives Will Not EVER boot.
32 Bit Vista Will NOT EVER BOOT
and later explanation....

Its all part of the UEFI microsoft Jail.  Only verified OS will load under CSM (Compatability Support Module).  GPT only aka 64 bit booting.
No more DOS MBR WIN95 WIN98 WIN2000 WINXP dual booting.
No more bypass of signature for drivers and option roms.
No more DOS MBR Boot Roms for storage controllers etc.
Canonical Paid to have Boot ability Live starting with UBUNTU 12.04.5
Earlier 12.04.x releases can actually Brick a system so that it will NEVER EVER BOOT AGAIN.
This is why USB DOS floppy is also not an option.
It is also why Norton Ghost does not support WIN7 WIN8 WIN10 UEFI.
and diagrams:
First figure2nd Figure3rd Figure
Top Expert 2013

i Always wonder WHY they need to use these restrictions


it seemed to match
Top Expert 2013

to match what??

Do more with

Expert Office
Submit tech questions to Ask the Experts™ at any time to receive solutions, advice, and new ideas from leading industry professionals.

Start 7-Day Free Trial