Bootable USB for i386-pc

I am reading about how to use terminal to install grub on a USB I see the command

grub-install --force --removable --no-floppy --target=i386-pc --boot-directory=/mnt/USB/boot /dev/sdf

and when I run it i get

grub-install: error: /usr/lib/grub/i386-pc/ doesn’t exist. Please specify --target or --directory.

when I look in the usr/lib/grub/ folder, the i386-pc folder is missing. The article also has a command for i386-efi, which also has no folder by that name. The only folder I have is x86_64-efi, for use in 64 bit systems. which does install. However my old pentium machine does not boot from the drive when I install the 64 bit grub.
I know YUMI will make a legacy boot for me, but I am not ready to install WINE and would rather not move all my .iso files to my windoze machine.
Any suggestions on how I can get my Debian box to install the i386-pc grub to the USB?

Hey @MacksM3!
You are absolutely correct. When you install a 64-bit Linux, it considers the i386 architecture as “foreign”, which is why you do not have the 32-bit Grub folder available.

Please keep in mind that I haven’t performed this exact procedure before, but perhaps adding the 32-bit architecture as part of your Linux (it won’t cause any issues, as I have added it before for WINE purposes), you can execute the following command:

sudo dpkg --add-architecture i386

This will add the i386 in the list of available packages. In order to bring the necessary 32-bit libraries, you’ll need to execute:

sudo apt update
sudo apt dist-upgrade

Hopefully this will bring in the 32-bit version of Grub.

Please let me know if that helps. :slight_smile:

Hi Vasileios,
the update and upgrade worked great, but the add architecture failed. It is starting to look like that old machine might not support USB boot so I am going to focus on finding a DVD I can write the install image to.
I will come back to creating a multiboot USB on a linux machine later.
I really appreciate all your help.

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Hey @MacksM3
If you are looking to install on a 32-bit system, how about you try and flash a USB with Linux Mint Tricia (19.3) 32-bit or a Zorin OS 15 Lite 32-bit?

Hey Vasileios
I did a bunch of research and found a lot of the 32 bit distros require a pentium 4 minimum, and my machine is pentium 3. I downloaded 5 different .iso files and after breaking my main machine trying to build a bootable USB for that thing, found some blank DVD+R disks and proceded to write the .iso files to them. The 32 bit Debian would not run, but Peppermint, MX-Linux and Devuan all did. I decided to install Devuan and ended up installing 4 times before I got it to my liking.

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Hey @MacksM3!
At least you made it happen and congratulations! :smiley:
Everything else will flow naturally now.

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The struggle continues! I had difficulty installing apps on Devuan so going back to MX (despite the hideous wallpaper included as default) to see how that works. This old machine has become my first test lab and I will push it as far as I can. It has been collecting dust for years and it has a new purpose. Thanks for all your input.

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Hey @MacksM3!
One of the first things I do when I install a new distro is to change the wallpaper. What works best in those scenarios is the following:
Check your display resolution, and always look for wallpapers that are a bit bigger than it. You don’t always have to do it, but some of those JPGs are of low quality and the artifacts tend to show. However, when you pick wallpapers that have up to doulbe the resolution of your display, when they’re scaled down, the quality per-pixel increases and they appear crystal-clear. I hope that helps. :slight_smile:

I am not a big fan of wallpaper, I often remove the wallpaper entirely and set it to a solid color, with the exception of my 4K monitor that has an image of solid blue with red lines dividing it into 4 quadrants to give me the feel of 4 separate monitors.

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