How To: Fix “Unknown keyword in configuration file.” Ubuntu USB Boot

Attempting Boot From USB Device

SYSLINUX 3.63 Debian-2008-07-15 EBIOS Copyright (C) 1994-2008 H. Peter Anvin
Unknown keyword in configuration file.
boot:
_

After creating a USB bootable version of Ubuntu from the Startup Disk Creator (or usb-creator-gtk) and attempting to boot, I was greeted by the error above. It might look a bit scary but it’s really easy to fix, just plug the USB flash drive into a computer (windows or linux, mac too probably but I haven’t tried that.)

Solution 1:
  1. Open the the syslinux folder in the root of the flash drive.
  2. Inside is a file called syslinux.cfg you’ll want to edit that.
  3. Find the line “ui gfxboot bootlogo” and simply remove the “ui “.
  4. Save and try booting again.

Below is how my syslinux.cfg file looks after editing:

# D-I config version 2.0
include menu.cfg
default vesamenu.c32
prompt 0
timeout 50
gfxboot bootlogo


Solution 2

Alternatively it looks as though there is another way of fixing this issue if there is no “ui” in the file, this is to do as followed (as pointed out in the comments below):

  1. Type “help” and press enter
  2. Hit Enter again

This should boot correctly and shouldn’t need to be done every time.

73 comments to How To: Fix “Unknown keyword in configuration file.” Ubuntu USB Boot

  • Nezer

    The first solution worked for me, you guys are the best.

  • Nils

    Sorry Guys … I used to work with Lycid (10.04) and got the Problem from above. My syslinux.cfg don’t containes any line with “ui” so i tryed solution two. Also doesn’t work. typing ‘help’, pressing Enter, nothing, pressing enter again, nothing. After all there is a beep by typing something.

    HELP

  • Lee Clayton

    first solution worked a charm. Thanks for the info.

  • Richard

    solution 1 – thanks!

  • Thanks a lot. I re-created the usb stick install image A LOT of times and didn’t know what happened. Thanks to u guys, I will never have this problem again =D

  • Elio

    Sorry Folks, Like Nils I opened syslinux/syslinux.cfg with GEDIT and my unbootable USB does not contain “ui gfxboot. bootlogo”
    Also WHERE do I type “Help” ?
    Sorry if I am a dummy
    Thanks

  • Zenpistolero

    Thanks a million. Such a simple fix.

    Don’t know how this problem lived long enough to make it into Precise Pangolin… hmm.
    Wonder if I could modify the iso. That’ll be an interesting exercise. Something I’ve never done before.

  • Shariq

    Could not find kernel image: Help

  • bob easypeasy

    ELIO: Type “help” at “boot:” (but this might not work if the other .cfg files are not correct.

    Shariq: your problem might be resolved by adding “syslinux/” before “include” of “xyz.CFG”

  • Hugo

    Solution 2 works for me, there wasn’t ui in the file.
    Thanks a lot from Spain!

  • unanymous@hotmail.fr

    Thank’s the first one didn’t worked the second did!

  • Oliver

    Thank you for this! I edited out the UI, but it still did not work. I tried solution #2, and at first I thought that did not solve the problem – but I realized that I waited to long before typing in “help”. So – to those who did not have luck with solution #2 – make sure you type in “help” while the cursor is still at the boot prompt. Once the cursor moves down to the next line (which it will do after a few seconds), you won’t be able to type “help”.

  • Pune3t

    none of these solutions worked for me. Please elaborate the second command.

  • panayiotis spanos

    I am currently having a slight variation of this problem.

    Let me elaborate the steps that I have taken.

    I have a 2gb USB stick.
    I formatted it for fat32.
    Using unetbootin I put the ubuntu-12.10.iso on my USB drive creating a bootable drive.

    I plugged my usb into a different laptop.(an Acer Aspire One kav10)
    Turned on the laptop and set it to boot from USB

    this is what happens.

    my computer boots and I get this message

    “SYSLINUX 3.63 Debian-2008-07-15 EBIOS Copyright (C) 1994-2008 H. Peter Anvin et al”

    this is not exactly the same message you display above. for instance i do not get the message
    “attempting to boot from USB device” or “unknown keyword in configuration file.
    boot:” again…these do not appear.

    When accessing my bootable USB on my windows computer there is no syslinux folder.
    instead the syslinux.cfg file is in the root directory of the drive. When I open the syslinux.cfg in notepad it displays as follows.


    default menu.c32
    prompt 0
    menu title UNetbootin
    timeout 100

    label unetbootindefault
    menu label Default
    kernel /ubnkern
    append initrd=/ubninit

    label ubnentry0
    menu label rescue64
    kernel /isolinux/rescue64
    append initrd=/isolinux/initram.igz

    label ubnentry1
    menu label altker32
    kernel /isolinux/altker32
    append initrd=/isolinux/initram.igz video=ofonly

    label ubnentry2
    menu label altker64
    kernel /isolinux/altker64
    append initrd=/isolinux/initram.igz video=ofonly

    label ubnentry3
    menu label vmlinuz2
    kernel /isolinux/altker32
    append initrd=/isolinux/initram.igz video=ofonly

    label ubnentry4
    menu label vesa
    kernel /isolinux/rescuecd
    append initrd=/isolinux/initram.igz forcevesa

    label ubnentry5
    menu label fr
    kernel /isolinux/rescuecd
    append initrd=/isolinux/initram.igz setkmap=fr

    label ubnentry6
    menu label uk32
    kernel /isolinux/rescuecd
    append initrd=/isolinux/initram.igz setkmap=uk

    label ubnentry7
    menu label uk64
    kernel /isolinux/rescue64
    append initrd=/isolinux/initram.igz setkmap=uk

    label ubnentry8
    menu label us
    kernel /isolinux/rescuecd
    append initrd=/isolinux/initram.igz setkmap=us

    label ubnentry9
    menu label nokeymap
    kernel /isolinux/rescuecd
    append initrd=/isolinux/initram.igz setkmap=us

    label ubnentry10
    menu label minishell
    kernel /isolinux/rescuecd
    append initrd=/isolinux/initram.igz minishell=/bin/ash

    label ubnentry11
    menu label rescuehd
    kernel /isolinux/rescuecd
    append initrd=/ubninit init=/sbin/init

    label ubnentry12
    menu label reschd32
    kernel /isolinux/rescuecd
    append initrd=/ubninit init=/sbin/init

    label ubnentry13
    menu label reschd64
    kernel /isolinux/rescue64
    append initrd=/ubninit init=/sbin/init

    label ubnentry14
    menu label memtest
    kernel /bootdisk/memtestp
    append initrd=/ubninit –

    label ubnentry15
    menu label freedos
    kernel /isolinux/memdisk
    append initrd=/bootdisk/freedos.img floppy

    label ubnentry16
    menu label ranish
    kernel /isolinux/memdisk
    append initrd=/bootdisk/ranish.img floppy

    label ubnentry17
    menu label aida
    kernel /isolinux/memdisk
    append initrd=/bootdisk/aida.img floppy

    label ubnentry18
    menu label hdt
    kernel /isolinux/memdisk
    append initrd=/bootdisk/hdt.img floppy

    label ubnentry19
    menu label ntpass
    kernel /ntpasswd/vmlinuz
    append initrd=/ubninit rw vga=1

    label ubnentry20
    menu label ntpasswd
    kernel /ntpasswd/vmlinuz
    append initrd=/ubninit rw vga=1

    label ubnentry21
    menu label gag
    kernel /isolinux/memdisk
    append initrd=/bootdisk/gag.img floppy

    label ubnentry22
    menu label dban
    kernel /isolinux/memdisk
    append initrd=/bootdisk/dban.img floppy

    label ubnentry23
    menu label mhdd
    kernel /isolinux/memdisk
    append initrd=/bootdisk/mhdd.img floppy

    label ubnentry24
    menu label grubdisk
    kernel /isolinux/memdisk
    append initrd=/bootdisk/grubdisk.img floppy

    label ubnentry25
    menu label netboot
    kernel /isolinux/netboot
    append initrd=/ubninit –

    label ubnentry26
    menu label nextboot
    kernel /ubnkern
    append initrd=/ubninit

    as you can see, the suggested line you indicate to edit is not present. I have tried to do this with 2 different thumb drives and two different distributions of Ububtu (12.04 and 12.10).

    This is my first installation of linux on a computer and I am really not having fun with it. I would like to make this transition to linux on my unused acer laptop and any help in this would be greatly appreciated.

    Regards,
    Pano

  • panayiotis r spanos

    I am currently having a slight variation of this problem.

    Let me elaborate the steps that I have taken.

    I have a 2gb USB stick.
    I formatted it for fat32.
    Using unetbootin I put the ubuntu-12.10.iso on my USB drive creating a bootable drive.

    I plugged my usb into a different laptop.(an Acer Aspire One kav10)
    Turned on the laptop and set it to boot from USB

    this is what happens.

    my computer boots and I get this message

    “SYSLINUX 3.63 Debian-2008-07-15 EBIOS Copyright (C) 1994-2008 H. Peter Anvin et al”

    this is not exactly the same message you display above. for instance i do not get the message
    “attempting to boot from USB device” or “unknown keyword in configuration file.
    boot:” again…these do not appear.

    When accessing my bootable USB on my windows computer there is no syslinux folder.
    instead the syslinux.cfg file is in the root directory of the drive. When I open the syslinux.cfg in notepad it displays as follows.


    default menu.c32
    prompt 0
    menu title UNetbootin
    timeout 100

    label unetbootindefault
    menu label Default
    kernel /ubnkern
    append initrd=/ubninit

    label ubnentry0
    menu label rescue64
    kernel /isolinux/rescue64
    append initrd=/isolinux/initram.igz

    label ubnentry1
    menu label altker32
    kernel /isolinux/altker32
    append initrd=/isolinux/initram.igz video=ofonly

    label ubnentry2
    menu label altker64
    kernel /isolinux/altker64
    append initrd=/isolinux/initram.igz video=ofonly

    label ubnentry3
    menu label vmlinuz2
    kernel /isolinux/altker32
    append initrd=/isolinux/initram.igz video=ofonly

    label ubnentry4
    menu label vesa
    kernel /isolinux/rescuecd
    append initrd=/isolinux/initram.igz forcevesa

    label ubnentry5
    menu label fr
    kernel /isolinux/rescuecd
    append initrd=/isolinux/initram.igz setkmap=fr

    label ubnentry6
    menu label uk32
    kernel /isolinux/rescuecd
    append initrd=/isolinux/initram.igz setkmap=uk

    label ubnentry7
    menu label uk64
    kernel /isolinux/rescue64
    append initrd=/isolinux/initram.igz setkmap=uk

    label ubnentry8
    menu label us
    kernel /isolinux/rescuecd
    append initrd=/isolinux/initram.igz setkmap=us

    label ubnentry9
    menu label nokeymap
    kernel /isolinux/rescuecd
    append initrd=/isolinux/initram.igz setkmap=us

    label ubnentry10
    menu label minishell
    kernel /isolinux/rescuecd
    append initrd=/isolinux/initram.igz minishell=/bin/ash

    label ubnentry11
    menu label rescuehd
    kernel /isolinux/rescuecd
    append initrd=/ubninit init=/sbin/init

    label ubnentry12
    menu label reschd32
    kernel /isolinux/rescuecd
    append initrd=/ubninit init=/sbin/init

    label ubnentry13
    menu label reschd64
    kernel /isolinux/rescue64
    append initrd=/ubninit init=/sbin/init

    label ubnentry14
    menu label memtest
    kernel /bootdisk/memtestp
    append initrd=/ubninit –

    label ubnentry15
    menu label freedos
    kernel /isolinux/memdisk
    append initrd=/bootdisk/freedos.img floppy

    label ubnentry16
    menu label ranish
    kernel /isolinux/memdisk
    append initrd=/bootdisk/ranish.img floppy

    label ubnentry17
    menu label aida
    kernel /isolinux/memdisk
    append initrd=/bootdisk/aida.img floppy

    label ubnentry18
    menu label hdt
    kernel /isolinux/memdisk
    append initrd=/bootdisk/hdt.img floppy

    label ubnentry19
    menu label ntpass
    kernel /ntpasswd/vmlinuz
    append initrd=/ubninit rw vga=1

    label ubnentry20
    menu label ntpasswd
    kernel /ntpasswd/vmlinuz
    append initrd=/ubninit rw vga=1

    label ubnentry21
    menu label gag
    kernel /isolinux/memdisk
    append initrd=/bootdisk/gag.img floppy

    label ubnentry22
    menu label dban
    kernel /isolinux/memdisk
    append initrd=/bootdisk/dban.img floppy

    label ubnentry23
    menu label mhdd
    kernel /isolinux/memdisk
    append initrd=/bootdisk/mhdd.img floppy

    label ubnentry24
    menu label grubdisk
    kernel /isolinux/memdisk
    append initrd=/bootdisk/grubdisk.img floppy

    label ubnentry25
    menu label netboot
    kernel /isolinux/netboot
    append initrd=/ubninit –

    label ubnentry26
    menu label nextboot
    kernel /ubnkern
    append initrd=/ubninit

    as you can see, the suggested line you indicate to edit is not present. I have tried to do this with 2 different thumb drives and two different distributions of Ububtu (12.04 and 12.10).

    This is my first installation of linux on a computer and I am really not having fun with it. I would like to make this transition to linux on my unused acer laptop and any help in this would be greatly appreciated.

    Regards,
    Pano

  • Update your version to syslinux 4.05. In general, the tool (p.ex. Startup Disk Creator) that is burning the ISO into USB stick is putting the old one (3.63).

    After burn the USB you have to type the command below to ensure the version 4.05 into USB.

    sudo syslinux –directory /syslinux –install /dev/sdb1

    This way you don’t need remove the “ui”.

    regards,
    mauro

  • Hakoda

    First one didn’t work for me, but the second worked like a charm1 Thanks for both!

  • Prakhar gupta

    First step will not working but the second step is worked for me but when i stut down the pc it remains the old ubuntu

  • anderson

    i wan to install backtrack and facing same error of unknown keyword in configuration file
    but when i open isolinux.cfg for editing it have coding contains symbols out of my understanding
    what should i do??

  • […] a CD ROM. I was thwarted by an “Unknown keyword in configuration file” error on boot, and this lovely site explained how to fix the […]

  • Pezonautis

    Was trying to install Zorin OS 9 Core on a P4,facing the above problem.Method 1 didn’t work , method 2 did work but half of it.By that I mean that it didn’t let me type anything.So,I figured out that you gotta be fast and NOT LET IT GET TO SECOND LINE because it won’t let you type.So get ready ,hands on keyboard and by the time it gets there type live or at least the first letter l and then the rest(thanks to resero for the “live” method: http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=1773709 and also thanks to this site).

  • […] are reports that you can fix the bug by opening syslinux.cfg on the USB drive and replace the following […]

  • Amandeep

    I stuck with this problem can anyone help me please.
    I stuck with this problem what to do i can not be sort this out.
    i have try to remove UI and all this but not working.

    “SYSLINUX 3.63 Debian-2008-07-15 CBIOS Copyright (c) 1994-2008 H.Peter Anvin
    boot:”

    Ubuntu 10.04(Lucid)
    Kernel Linux 2.6.32-74-generic
    GNOME 2.30.2

    Hardware
    Memory 2.0 GIB

    Processor 0: Intel(R) Core(TM)2 CPU T5200 @1.60GHz
    Processor 1: Intel(R) Core(TM)2 CPU T5200 @1.60GHz

    Thanks for reading

    Regards
    Amandeep

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