Here is how I booted Linux Mint 12 (Lisa) from USB on a 2010 MacBook.
- Linux Mint 12 (linuxmint-12-gnome-dvd-32bit.iso torrent | http mirrors )
- USB memory stick large enough to fit image file
- Syslinux for windows (http download)
- rEFIt on the MacBook (http download)
In this how-to I’m using my Win7 desktop to prepare the USB stick.
Step 1 – Format memory stick
In Windows, go to Computer, right-click your USB memory stick and click Format…
Under File system, choose FAT32, check Quick format and press Start.
Step 2 – Extract Linux Mint to memory stick
Still in Windows, use your favourite decompression software (7Zip, WinRAR or similar) to extract the Linux Mint image to the USB memory stick.
Step 3 – Make bootable with syslinux
Extract syslinux (i.e. to “C:/syslinux“).
Open Notepad or any other plain text-editor and type the following:
C:\syslinux\win32\syslinux.exe -ma <driveletter>:
Replace <driveletter> with your USB sticks drive letter. (e.g. “syslinux -ma H:” if your drive letter is “H”).
Now save the file as something.bat. Right-click the file and then Run as administrator.
Go to your USB drive, and rename the folder isolinux to syslinux.
Go inside the folder and rename the files isolinux.bin and isolinux.cfg to syslinux.bin and syslinux.cfg respectively.
Step 4 – Installing rEFIt
Download and install rEFIt following the “Automatic Installation with the Installer Package” instruction here.
Step 5 – Boot Linux
Plug the USB drive in the MacBook and reboot twice.
You should now see the rEFIt boot menu and be able to select Linux.
If you get an error saying something like “vesamenu.c32 : not a COM32R image“,
hit TAB, type “live” and then press Enter.
If you want to install Mint, you can now run the installer from the dekstop.
I haven’t tried to dual boot OSX and Mint yet, but I’ve successfully installed Linux Mint alone.