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

41 thoughts on “Fix Syslinux No Default or UI Configuration Error While Booting from USB”

  1. 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???

      1. 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!

  2. 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!

    1. 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

  3. 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

  4. 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!

  5. 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 !

  6. 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.

  7. 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!!!

  8. 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.

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