Unable to enable USB live boot option in BIOS/UEFI - Inspiron 3505 - Windows 10 - Already tried disabling FastBoot

AlexOceanic

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Hi

I'm trying to run a live version of Kali on an Inspiron 3505 running Windows 10 but I seem to have a limited BIOS menu rather than the original Dell with far more options that I'm seeing on other guides where they disable secure boot, enable USB booting and change the boot order etc.

I've done this long ago with a dual booting grub/Mandriva/XP setup on the old BIOS style but am new to UEFI/Windows 10 and not sure how to get to the advanced BIOS/UEFI settings to enable USB booting. I've disabled the fast boot on Windows, tried accessing the UEFI settings via advanced UEFI settings in Windows which just takes me to the same limited BIOS options screens even from "troubleshooting" etc, launching in Windows safe mode didn't help nor disabling some anti malware protection (option 8) that I thought might be priority booting and locking down a load of BIOS options to prevent access to the laptop if it gets stolen perhaps.

I did see a couple of enabled BIOS settings below that might be causing this but hoping its just some setting I don't know about being unfamiliar with UEFI:

- PowerNow! (AMD CPU performance manager)
- USB Emulation
- Absolute (Absolute Persistence Module - device tracker/recovery service - once permanently disabled cannot be re-enabled!)
- Firmware TPM - Allows OS to skip BIOS PPI user prompts when issuing the Clear command
- Secure boot - This one is actually DISABLED
- Secure Mode - Currently in "Deployed Mode" - Only gives options for "Audit" and "Deployed" rather than also "User" and "Setup" as mentioned in Help text
- File Browser Add Boot Option - Windows Boot Manager - A second line did appear under what I assume to be the Windows bootloader and seemed to be a USB drive but when I selected it, it ignored the .iso and showed as blank - it might've been looking for an EFI system but will have to double check that

If anyone has any ideas on how to get around this issue it would be much appreciated as I'd very much like to get back on Linux and want to show my partner that its painless moving from Windows (after Windows' parting gift of this missing BIOS USB option is resolved anyway!).

SOLUTION (if you don't want to follow the thread)

Use F12 (not F2) to access the UEFI short boot menu at start up - if the USB isn't showing in the list above the Window boot manager then there's probably an issue with the ISO on the USB as per below
For Kali - ensure USB stick partition is set to GPT rather than MBR using Rufus

Many thanks

Alex
 
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AlexOceanic

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Moved to the Kali sub-forum.
Appreciate this is more of a uefi/windows/antimalware issue but wondered if others might've encountered this before and found/solved this issue being I couldn't load any live distro from usb at all currently.
Not sure this is a Kali specific problem?
 

KGIII

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Not sure this is a Kali specific problem?

Kali does all sorts of weird stuff with their distro, so my policy is to cram any Kali-related post into this sub-forum. The forum isn't so busy that all the regulars won't notice. Everyone that's helping tends to read all the posts.
 

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Two things:
  1. This smells like the usb drive has the wrong partition table. In modern systems you should configure them with GPT and not MBR. Can you ellaborate on how did you prepare the usb stick? Software, options, etc.?
  2. Paying attention to the fact that you want to show your partner that "that its painless moving from Windows", I'd say that Kali is definitely the worst-est-est way to do so. Simply because the environment, tools, etc., are oriented to a very narrow profession.
If you want to expose your partner to a GNU/Linux system, do yourselves a favour and pick a more friendly option in terms of look and feel and alternatives to usual, general-population-targeted programs, of the usual Windows space.
 
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AlexOceanic

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Kali does all sorts of weird stuff with their distro, so my policy is to cram any Kali-related post into this sub-forum. The forum isn't so busy that all the regulars won't notice. Everyone that's helping tends to read all the posts.
Ah ok - fair enough then
:)
 

Brickwizard

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Kali is so constructed you need to be fully proficient with Linux and the use of the Linux terminal and codes, it is not designed to be a daily desktop distribution, it doesn't contain all the drivers and codecs you may need to install, you are expected to know what is wrong, and be able to find and install anything you need, if you do succeed in getting it installed then be aware if you install any applications not in the Kali repository, you will be likely to break it.

Now to boot from USB in most Dells, disable windows quick start in the BIOS, and re-boot, with the pen-drive in the USB slot switch on whilst jiggling F12 this should open the short boot menu, select the USB drive and enter, provided you have a bootable system on the pen-drive it should open
 
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AlexOceanic

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Two things:
  1. This smells like the usb drive has the wrong partition table. In modern systems you should configure them with GPT and not MBR. Can you ellaborate on how did you prepare the usb stick? Software, options, etc.?
  2. Paying attention to the fact that you want to show your partner that "that its painless moving from Windows", I'd say that Kali is definitely the worst-est-est way to do so. Simply because the environment, tools, etc., are oriented to a very narrow profession.
If you want to expose your partner to a GNU/Linux system, do yourselves a favour and pick a more friendly option in terms of look and feel and alternatives to usual, general-population-targeted programs, of the usual Windows space.
Hi GV

Thanks for your reply.

I must admit I didn't configure any partition tables on the USB drive and just copied the below, latest point release ISO straight onto the existing file system onto a 32GB fat32 USB:

from this page

To be honest I'm very distrustful of Windows these days and wanted to completely bypass Windows before it even starts if possible (maybe setting up a dual boot system if they can be completely indepenedent of each other as seemed to be the case when I used Mandriva/XP/Grub previously) but it seems to be involved in the BIOS/UEFI from the get go and preventing me from disabling UEFI, going back to the standard BIOS with full options and enabling USB booting.

Will I be forced to used UEFI and Windows will be active in some regard even if I boot into live Kali and I need to configure the USB so that Windows/UEFI can recognise and work with it as a bootable drive?

I hear what you're saying regarding choosing a more user friendly distro but was trying to find a very secure one that I could then configure to be reasonably user friendly and fulfill both our needs. I shortlisted Kali as a possible option and was going to try a few live instances of a couple of distros before shortlisting further and presenting one or two to my partner. (I was also interested in the pentesting course they mention as might look into this at a later date although I might be a bit long in the tooth but you never know).

Thanks in advance

Alex
 
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AlexOceanic

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Kali is so constructed you need to be fully proficient with Linux and the use of the Linux terminal and codes, it is not designed to be a daily desktop distribution, it doesn't contain all the drivers and codecs you may need to install, you are expected to know what is wrong, and be able to find and install anything you need, if you do succeed in getting it installed then be aware if you install any applications not in the Kali repository, you will be likely to break it.

Now to boot from USB in most Dells, disable windows quick start in the BIOS, and re-boot, with the pen-drive in the USB slot switch on whilst jiggling F12 this should open the short boot menu, select the USB drive and enter, provided you have a bootable system on the pen-drive it should open
Thanks for your reply and advice Brick

Looking at yours and GV responses it seems Kali might not have been the best choice here ;) but I'd like to try it just as a proof of concept that I can actually boot from USB, seperate from any Windows involvement, before trying out some other more suitable distros.

When you say disable windows quick start in the BIOS, I've only been able to disable it from within Windows itself and couldn't see any other option in BIOS to disable it (I checked the battery and power categories you mentioned in another post and couldn't see anything obvious there either). Is there a way of opening a command prompt window in BIOS and use a command to turn it off directly there perhaps?

I'll try to boot from the short menu and post screenshots of what happens shortly.
 
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AlexOceanic

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Kali is so constructed you need to be fully proficient with Linux and the use of the Linux terminal and codes, it is not designed to be a daily desktop distribution, it doesn't contain all the drivers and codecs you may need to install, you are expected to know what is wrong, and be able to find and install anything you need, if you do succeed in getting it installed then be aware if you install any applications not in the Kali repository, you will be likely to break it.

Now to boot from USB in most Dells, disable windows quick start in the BIOS, and re-boot, with the pen-drive in the USB slot switch on whilst jiggling F12 this should open the short boot menu, select the USB drive and enter, provided you have a bootable system on the pen-drive it should open
Hi Brick

So I didn't see any option to boot from USB in the short menu with the usb inserted and have attached an image of what I saw plus screenshots of the high level summary on the other BIOS settings pages in case thats of use.

Thanks
IMG_20220701_104417.jpg
 

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Brickwizard

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dame computer builders keep moving everything, disabling through windows is ok, but you still need to do a full power off and re-start for it to take effect. the only other thing that comes to mind ... is usb boot enabled in the main bios
 

Brickwizard

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oh and try enabling usb wake up in advanced settings [you can always disable it again if it doesn't work
 
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AlexOceanic

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oh and try enabling usb wake up in advanced settings [you can always disable it again if it doesn't work
So after two people who know what they're talking about advising Kali is probably a bad initial choice, I decided to try Tails (and possibly run Whonix inside it at a later date).
I used Etcher to flash their .img file onto the USB, restarted and saw the same options but this time the USB line was missing from the "File Manager Add Boot" option too.
When I booted back into Windows I discovered that the USB has become unreadable and even DiskMgr and Etcher itself don't recognise the drive (although Windows does list it under "This PC" but Properties pulls up an unknown file system and blank on free/used space.
I guess I'll have to get a new USB stick and try a different distro and not use etcher this time?

UPDATE
So I installed Rufus and ejected the USB drtive and put it into another USB port.
Now Windows can't see the USB drive at all under "This PC" but Rufus can see it!
Some of the options are greyed out and when I went to "Save" it lists the contents as a Tails.vhd image - Tails advised it should be an image file that I download and select from Etcher but I guess it then transforms it into the vhd image which nothing but Rufus can read so far.
Rufus now has a bunch of options to reformat the drive - should I format as a non bootable USB drive and try again perhaps?
This used to be so easy to do - what am I gaining from UEFI and Windows getting its claws into BIOS again? lol

@KGIII
Should I post this in the Tails forum now if there is one?

1656683423316.png


Bunch of options

1656683707235.png
 
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Brickwizard

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I guess I'll have to get a new USB stick and try a different distro and not use etcher this time?
we have had quite a few people with usb problems the last couple of years, If you get a new one, it doesn't need to be bigger than 16gb, but it needs to be a quality-branded one, not an e-bay special buy, clean and formatted FATS or EXFATS
we recommend etcher in most cases as it seems to be most reliable, however in many cases Rufus works better if you are burning with W10/11
 
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AlexOceanic

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we have had quite a few people with usb problems the last couple of years, If you get a new one, it doesn't need to be bigger than 16gb, but it needs to be a quality-branded one, not an e-bay special buy, clean and formatted FATS or EXFATS
we recommend etcher in most cases as it seems to be most reliable, however in many cases Rufus works better if you are burning with W10/11
Its a new Sandisk 32GB so I doubt that's the issue unless they've got a bad name now.
So do you reckon try to reformat as a non bootable drive to restore the USB with Rufus and try a different distro?
I was thinking of putting the KAli ISO back on it and see if the "File Manager Add Boot" option works maybe if I configure it as GPT as suggested earlier?
 
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AlexOceanic

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we have had quite a few people with usb problems the last couple of years, If you get a new one, it doesn't need to be bigger than 16gb, but it needs to be a quality-branded one, not an e-bay special buy, clean and formatted FATS or EXFATS
we recommend etcher in most cases as it seems to be most reliable, however in many cases Rufus works better if you are burning with W10/11
I still wonder if the

Absolute (Absolute Persistence Module - device tracker/recovery service - once permanently disabled cannot be re-enabled!)

is part of the issue - it sounds like its installed once at the factory and cannot be tampered with at all...

I bought this laptop secondhand with no documentation and just a charger - this software looks to be an absolute nightmare to have removed...

 
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Brickwizard

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Its a new Sandisk 32GB
one of mine is a SanDisk, and it works fine[ must be 5 yrs old now] and don't even think of asking how many bootable ISO's it has had go through it,, but every time I use, it I always wipe it then reformat to FATS
Absolute Persistence Module
I have come across the problem of people editing the module thinking it will improve security, but they never think why it's there in the first place, if you feel comfortable enough then by all means download the latest BIOS update direct from Dell, for your machine and try it.
Tails is one of the other pen-testing distributions, again it is not suitable for beginners or as a daily desktop,

I am a member on another of the Pen-testing distributions, we are a bit friendlier than most, but we still expect new users to be Linux proficient, if a newbie has a driver problem we will at least point them in the right direction, but we do not hold their hands and expect them to know how to download and install missing drivers and codecs
for a beginner wanting to run from a persistent pen drive, I would normally suggest giving Debian Live a try, but read this first
 
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Lord Boltar

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From your photos I see you are using an InsydeH20 Bios - also you have no Admin password set - on InsydeH20 Bios you have to set the Admin password in order to access the Advanced features in the Bios like Secure Boot and setting the boot parameters - I have an InsydeH20 Bios on my Acer Laptop I had to set an Admin password to acces the advanced features in bios
 
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AlexOceanic

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one of mine is a SanDisk, and it works fine[ must be 5 yrs old now] and don't even think of asking how many bootable ISO's it has had go through it,, but every time I use, it I always wipe it then reformat to FATS

I have come across the problem of people editing the module thinking it will improve security, but they never think why it's there in the first place, if you feel comfortable enough then by all means download the latest BIOS update direct from Dell, for your machine and try it.
Tails is one of the other pen-testing distributions, again it is not suitable for beginners or as a daily desktop,

I am a member on another of the Pen-testing distributions, we are a bit friendlier than most, but we still expect new users to be Linux proficient, if a newbie has a driver problem we will at least point them in the right direction, but we do not hold their hands and expect them to know how to download and install missing drivers and codecs
for a beginner wanting to run from a persistent pen drive, I would normally suggest giving Debian Live a try, but read this first
Well who'd have thunk it...

Turns out @gvisoc had it right first time with the GPT partition catch!

I ended up using Rufus to reconfigure the USB stick partition as GPT (and added a spare 10GB partition), put the Kali ISO back on there (using DD rather than ISO as Kali suggested) and here I am talking to you from Kali live right now! (even managed to configure the network to connect to my phone hotspot first time somehow although had to guess the encryption type! - I know you can do all this in your sleep but after the last two days it tastes like victory to me).

So I'm doing well on my choice of distros then - lol

I just wanted to stay away from Ubuntu and Mint where I think I saw some security concerns raised for those being very mainstream and am trying to find a good balance of high security with desktop usability.

I'll check out Debian though - thanks for the suggestion.

So where I've used the UEFI fast boot to load Kali live directly - am I right in thinking this is just like the old BIOS where Windows on the other partition is completely inactive and its only this Absolute! Persistance Module that could possibly monitor anything I'm doing?
 

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AlexOceanic

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From your photos I see you are using an InsydeH20 Bios - also you have no Admin password set - on InsydeH20 Bios you have to set the Admin password in order to access the Advanced features in the Bios like Secure Boot and setting the boot parameters - I have an InsydeH20 Bios on my Acer Laptop I had to set an Admin password to acces the advanced features in bios
Thanks LB

I'll try to set admin passwords and confirm if that opens up the advanced BIOS options on this Inspiron too - that will make trying other distros easier in case some aren't able to use GPT on their live instances perhaps.
 
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