The OpenIndiana project is an enterprise operating system based on the illumos kernel, which is a fork of the OpenSolaris project. OpenIndiana is open source, free, and community driven, and my personal operating system of choice for using ZFS (with Napp-It, of course).

In the past I have always burned a CD and performed a traditional install. I recently went to perform an install on a barebones system with no CD-ROM drive. The OpenIndiana project provides a USB image that allows you to install the OS from a USB stick — this is exactly what I wanted.

The instructions were ridiculously basic:

  1. Download the OpenIndiana USB install image.
  2. Download the OpenSolaris Live USB creator.
  3. Extract and run the executable, point it at your USB stick and the USB image, and click Start.

The problem is, nothing happens. The program says done nearly instantly, and no data was written to the USB disk.

I eventually tried an alternate program, unetbootin, which had a different kind of failure. The program would write the image to the USB drive, but when booting would prompt you with a nice corrupt image message.

“Invalid or corrupt kernel image”

Finally I found the problem with the original OpenSolaris Live USB Creator, it was an issue with Windows 7 and writing to a USB drive that’s already been formatted. For some reason this works fine in Windows XP, but gets broken with Windows 7 (and probably Windows 8).

With a little diskpart magic to format the USB drive, everything was good to go, though it did add a few extra steps:

  1. Start –> CMD (run as Administrator)
  2. Run ‘diskpart
  3. Find the volume with ‘list volume
  4. Select the volume with ‘select volume #
  5. Confirm volume with ‘list partition
  6. Run ‘delete volume

Now continue with the original instructions, and all (should) run successfully without issues.


2 Responses to “Creating a Bootable OpenIndiana USB Device”

  1. Arnold on August 29th, 2014 7:47 am

    Hi there,

    You are great ! You cannot imagine the time I spent on this problem.

    Thank you so much.

  2. mike on August 31st, 2014 4:04 pm

    You’re welcome. I’m glad you found it helpful!

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