How to Add Kernel Parameters to a CloneZilla ISO

CloneZilla is a great disk imaging distribution which uses a live CD. If you are a Windows (or ex-Windows) user and have used Norton Ghost then consider this to be the OpenSource version will knobs on!

The CloneZilla website can be found at

As you will see from my earlier post “Linux Hell…..”, Linux has very poor support for the Via VT8251 SATA II controller which is very popular on AMD 64 bit Athlon motherboards. Whilst in most Linux distributions you can add boot parameters to the Kernel to overcome such issues, this is not possible with the CloneZilla ISOLINUX Live CD as there is no option (a possible oversight?).

The objective of this post is to add pci=nopmsi to the CloneZilla Linux kernel on boot to overcome the VT8251 compatibility issue and therefore use SATA II devices to run the Live CD and to save images on SATA II disks.

I’m going to break this tutorial down into two sections. Those who already have a Live CD and want to edit it, and those who already have an ISO image of the Live CD.

If you have the Live CD do part A and then Part B. If you already have the ISO file just do part B

PART A – Live CD!

We first need to convert the Live CD back to an ISO image file.

To do this we need to know the name of the device the CD is mounted from. An easy way to find out is to enter from terminal

nano /etc/fstab

You should see something like:

/dev/sdc0 /media/cdrom0 udf,iso9660……..

Exit Nano and with the above information enter:

dd if=/dev/scd0 of=$HOME/whatever.iso

change /dev/scd0 to whatever device the cd is in and whatever.iso to what you need to name it. $HOME means the image will be created in the root of your home directory. If you want to find out more about the dd (dataset definition) command see

Press Enter to start the ISO file creation process.

When complete, go to the root of your home directory where the ISO image was created

PART B – EDIT the ISO using ISO Master

Installing ISO Master

If you don’t already have this program installed then enter from terminal

sudo apt-get install isomaster

Instructions on how to use it can be found on the Ubuntu Geek blog, it is very straightforward!


If you are using KDE, you will need to change the editor from mousepad to Kate by going into Tools > Options and changing the editor to kate.

Using ISO Master

  1. Choose the ISO image file you wish to edit, by selecting from the menu bar File > Open.
  2. Navigate to the /isolinux/isolinux.cfg file, right click on it and select Edit.
  3. Now search for the first line with initrd=.
  4. At the end of the line add pci=nomsi,
  5. Repeat step 4 for all lines until you get to the label FreeDOS.
  6. Stop and save the file.
  7. Close your editor.
  8. You will now need to save your modified ISO image file, so from the menu bar select File > Save As and give it a different name to the original. Once saved close ISO Master.
  9. Now burn the modified ISO image saved above to a CD or CD RW disk.

All being well, CloneZilla will now be compatible with the dreaded VT8251 controller, and you will be able to use your SATA II disks.


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