Sunday, 9 April 2017

Add Clear Linux to your E2B USB drive

Clear Linux is provided as a UEFI-bootable only image.
Clear Linux OS for Intel Architecture is focused on the Cloud. Our aim was not to make yet another general-purpose Linux distribution; sometimes lean-and-fast is better than big-and-universal.
There is a Live version and an Installer version (see here) provided as compressed xxxx.img.xz download files.
Inside each xxxx.img.xz file is a larger .img file (e.g. clear-1440-installer.img). You will need to extract this .img file (e.g. using 7Zip).
Inside this .img file (which is usually dd'd onto a USB drive), we have two images for two primary partitions (as shown by 7Zip)...

Here is how to add these to your E2B drive so we can UEFI-boot (MBR-booting is not supported).

Add Clear Linux .img file to E2B

The MPI ToolKit is required...

1. Extract the contents of the EFI primary.img files into an empty folder - e.g. Desktop folder .\ClearEFI. Check that .\ClearEFI now contains an EFI folder now + some other files.

2. Drag-and-drop the .\ClearEFI folder onto the MPI_FAT32 Desktop shortcut to make a ClearLinux.imgPTN file containing a \EFI folder, etc. + E2B CSM files.

3. Extract the other large Primary.img file (as a Primary.img file) onto your Desktop.

4. Rename the large Primary.img file to ClearLinux (with no file extension)

5. Copy ClearLinux.imgPTN and the large ClearLinux.file to \_ISO\LINUX folder on your E2B USB drive (or any standard menu folder except AUTO or WINDOWS)

6. Use Switch_E2B.exe to select the Clear_Linux.imgPTN&ClearLinux files. Accept the offer to 're-order' if shown (if this is unsuccessful, repeat the switch process - ensure there is plenty of free space on the drive - it may boot without re-ordering on some systems).

7. The USB drive should now UEFI-boot to ClearLinux on an Intel-based 64-bit UEFI system. It may not boot successfully under a VM (I got very early 'kvm' and 'MWAIT' errors under VBox on my system, but it booted OK from the UEFI-BIOS on the same system).

The MBR bot option(s) in the CSM menu will not work as Clear Linux is UEFI-bootable only.

Note that Clear Linux is a small OS and requires you to download various modules before you can run a Desktop GUI, etc. I did not actually test anything beyond getting it to successfully boot to the linux text login prompt.

 P.S. Do not 'mess' with partitions once booted to Clear Linux or you will destroy your E2B partitions!


  1. On 26-JAN-20, I'm seeing that ClearLinux now only provides a Live .iso file, and not an installer .img.xz file.
    Inside the .iso, there are a number of folders and files.
    Can any of these be extracted & used on the E2B USB drive?
    David Baldock

    1. You should be able to drag-and-drop the ISO onto the MPI_FAT32 Desktop shortcut (MPI Toolkit) to make a .imgPTN file.