[SOLVED] SYSLINUX – Unknown keyword in configuration file

UPDATE: See the comments below for additional help regarding the issue.

I created a bootable USB pen drive with Ubuntu 10.10 Maverick Meerkat Alpha Daily Build on it using Startup Disk Creator (usb-creator-gtk) in Ubuntu 10.04 Lucid Lynx. This gave the following message during startup:

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

It seemed the version of syslinux in Lucid has a bug. I removed syslinux via Synaptic (which also removes usb-creator-gtk and usb-creator-common) and downloaded the deb files for the latest version of syslinux and syslinux-common from here and installed them. Then I installed usb-creator-gtk and then built the Live USB again. Then, it booted fine without problems.

  • Thanks! This was exactly what I was looking for and helped me get my USB stick booted. Cheers.

  • Worked perfectly in Linux Mint 10.04. Thank you very much.

  • nitin arya

    thank u so much brother worked perfectly fine

  • Helena

    didn’t work for me.

    well, the line “Unknown keyword in configuration file” disappeared but still didn’t boot.
    i have syslinux version 4.01, syslinux-common version 4.01, and usb-creator version 0.1.8. any ideas? thanks.

  • admin

    I guess the 4.01 update came with problems.

    2:3.63+dfsg-2ubuntu3 (Lucid) was found to work correctly.

  • quintopia

    admin: Is that (Lucid) something unique? Because the error shown in the blog post is for that version…

    I’ve reinstalled 3.63. Will try 4.01 if that doesn’t work this time.

  • quintopia

    Result: 3.63 worked. In fact, the above fix can be replaced by the simpler two step process (in Lucid):

    sudo apt-get remove syslinux
    sudo apt-get install syslinux usb-creator-gtk usb-creator-common

    (change the gtk to a kde for kubuntu)

  • marcio

    Thanks. I had problems with 10.10 netbook remix. Now it works perfectly 🙂

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  • rm

    Thanks a lot!
    You solved my problem , too 😀

  • Thanks, legend!

  • Lee D

    TOTALLY solved my problem! I also had the floppy disk issue. They really need to fix that. I’ve installed other Linux distros without having this problem.


  • Albin Stigo

    There is a very simple workaround which i found here:

    Ticket #7.

    Short version. Type “help” [enter] and then press [enter] again.


  • Sebastian

    Thank you. It works.

  • anupam

    I tried Albin Stigo’s method and it’s working fine.

    It’s as simple as typing following commands:

    boot: help (hit the enter key)

    (You will see a menu do nothing and once again hit enter key viola you are done)

    thanks again albin

  • When the line boot: appears you should enter help immediately

    If you wait the cursor disappears and you can’t enter anything.

    You don’t have to hit enter a second time – just wait a few moments and it starts

    • Gasd

      ur awesome, thanks man!

  • Love

    Another solution is to open your USB flash, open filé /syslinux/syslinux.cfg, find the word ui and remove it along with it’s following space. Done 🙂

    • Atmegabyte

      thank you x 1000, oohhh master, i function for me hp mini 110 3026

    • Arzoo_arzoojan

      tank you it work really well !


      gREAT. tHANKS 🙂

    • tantos

      thank you master. very” much

    • Shinobi

      Awesome advice. Thanks for the help

    • Anonymous

      you’re awesome

    • Madcowdisease

      You rock. i bow to you.

    • anlag

      That was poetic.

    • johnscript


    • Thanks

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  • benno

    Cheers matey – first comment worked for me!

  • a name to comment

    It looks like you can also just enter ‘help’ at the boot:-prompt and then press enter. Useful if you just want to install ubuntu and can’t be bothered with fiddling for days.

  • Thanks, it worked fine for me. Thanks a lot!

  • Thanks, it worked fine for me. Thanks a lot!

  • Jacob

    Genius, Love! Thanks. I just spent six hours troubleshooting the usb syslinux chaos, till I found your advice. Many thanks. Big thumbs up!

  • cask

    Another solution is to open your USB flash, open filé /syslinux/syslinux.cfg, find the word ui and remove it along with it’s following space. Done 🙂


    include menu.cfg

    default vesamenu.c32

    prompt 0

    timeout 300

    gfxboot bootlogo

    here is UI .????

  • Deepak Keswani

    I think if you format the usb drive before installing Linux, it works that way.
    It worked for me in second time, when I formatted and installed Linux on USB.

  • Jan Atle Ramsli

    I tried all the things suggested here, to no avail. “Unrecognized keyword …” etc. Then I got an idea. It says boot: – why not just give it the boot parameters? “/casper/vmlinuz boot=casper initrd=/casper/initrd.lz”
    That worked – I got an Install icon on the desktop.