Fix Syslinux No Default or UI Configuration Error While Booting from USB

Quite recently my laptop’s backlight stopped working and I had to start using an older laptop whose HDD no longer works. I created a Live CD USB drive using Pendrive Linux’s utility for Linux Mint.

However, while booting with the pendrive I got an error saying:

SYSLINUX 3.85 2010-02-20 CBIOS Copyright (c) 1994-2010 H. Peter Anvin et al
No DEFAULT or UI configuration directive found!

This error kept happening no matter what I did. I tried to use another USB drive to create a new bootable drive, used different flavors of Linux but had the same problem. I searched around several forums but the solution for it wasn’t easy.

However, I did find the solution and wanted to post it here so that other users who face this problem can find it easily. In order to fix this problem, you will have to plugin the USB drive into another computer and then rename the “isolinux” folder to “syslinux”. In addition to that also rename the “isolinux.bin” and “isolinux.cfg” files in the same folder to “syslinux.bin” and “syslinux.cfg” respectively and try booting with the USB drive again.

If the above solution does not fix your problem, you can try formatting your drive as FAT instead of FAT32. And by the way, I would be getting a Dell XPS Studio 1645 soon, so you can expect a review of the monster laptop soon :-)

SYSLINUX 3.85 2010-02-20 CBIOS Copyright (c) 1994-2010 H. Peter Anvin et al

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Keith Dsouza

I am the editor-in-chief and owner of Techie Buzz. I love coding and have contributed to several open source projects in the past. You can know more about me and my projects by visiting my Personal Website.I am also a social networking enthusiast and can be found active on twitter, you can follow Keith on twitter @keithdsouza. You can click on my name to visit my Google+ profile.

  • Scanner-X

    Sorry, it doesn´t work to me! But reading this, I found some files missing in my distro like “syslinux.cfg” and “menu.c32″. After coping its, the XBMCLive starts well. The problem is, why it happens only with Kingston Traveler memory keys???

    • Petr Martinak

      SOLUTION is very simple, format USB flash to FAT 16.
      Do NOT use FAT 32 !!!


      • magedo

        thank you man.

      • Horo Huoranen

        Formatting to FAT16 instead of FAT32 helped me too, or at least now I am eventually capable to boot my old pc from USB stick (Transcend 4GB) with Memtest86+ v.4.20 ( on it, which I downloaded to test my system for USB boot compatibility . Thanks!

  • Pingback: No DEFAULT or UI configuration directive found | yorch @ web [in]()

  • Joan

    It worked to me!! Thankss!

  • Aero

    Thank you so so so much! I noticed that from my boot CD and my USB, there was a difference with the isolinux and syslinux folder but I didn’t know how to change it. THANK YOU SO MUCH!

  • Thank you!! Worked for me, so your tips saved my evening :-)

  • Nishant

    i dont find any folder named isolinux. i also dont see a isolinux.bin file also.

    please help.

    • Try look in the syslinux folder.. there should be a syslinux.cfg and a isolinux.bin.. if so.. just format your usb-key as FAT.. and install.. that worked for me.. no need to rename files

  • A big thanks! Worked just fine.

  • mulugeta

    you are a great man ever!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Zippy C

    You rock dude … thanks!

  • Jan Andersen

    This was a very usefull help.
    I had a problem with a notebook, where I couldnt install a linux (ubuntu, fedora, mint, whatever).
    I downloaded Suse dvd, and got the reported problem, but couldnt find the related files.
    But I viewed my usb-sticks with some of the above mentioned systems, and renamed the isolinux to syslinux, and then the installation continued after the language selection, where it unfortunately had stopped, on all my previous installations

  • THANKS!! This did the trick when I was about to pull my hair out!

    [email protected]

  • I did something that i haven’t found on any other place. What I did was:
    – Copy the entire folder “isolinux”, located on the image of your current BackTrack version (mine is 5) to your pendrive after you make it bootable using any software of your preference.

    Hope this help you guys! I now I’ve spent some hours lurking the web for some solution that accuattly works!

    Shoutout from Brasil!

  • Mehdi

    I’ve been struggling with this problem for quite a while now…and you just made my day by fixing it !
    Thanks a lot.
    Keep up the good work !

  • unpelado

    It works for me, I am installing lubuntu 11.10.

  • Adwaith Sreekumar

    I tried this but both “isolinux.cfg” and “syslinux.cfg” exist. However I was able to rename “isolinux.bin” as
    “syslinux.bin”. And also my pendrive does not format. I get an error message stating that some other utilities are using the drive although nothing else is open. Kindly help.

  • how to fix it when I’m using linux mint 9 SYSLINUX 3.85 2010-02-20 EBIOS Copyright (C) 1994-2010 H. Peter Anvin et al.
    No DEFAULT or UI configuration directive found!

    • You must format your pendrive to FAT… that’s the solution. I use unetBootin and universal-usb-installer and works with both…

  • Hugo Merlos

    Thanks, you rock man!!! The format of the pendrive must be FAT and I use unetBootin for ISO file for a ECS M810D motherboard (very ‘latosa’)… That’s the solutioon for me!!!

  • Thanks… the ‘format as FAT disk’ worked =).

  • nothing works 4 me guys please help!
    both the situations I have tried!

  • Thanks..worked like a charm :)

  • Thanks man, worked.

  • I didn’t have any luck just renaming things on the thumb drive so I grabbed a program called ISOMaster and renamed everything inside the ISO before using Unetbootin. That got it to boot but Fuduntu still crashed out with a tty error.

  • Thanks. This saved me. :-)

  • Eduardo

    Formating as simple FAT worked here (I didn’t need to rename the isolinux directory).