Live USB flash drive with Linux does not boot, error ‘A start job is running for live-config contains the components that configure a live system during the boot process (late userspace)’ (SOLVED)

Debian is the basis for many distributions, so if a bug appears in Debian itself, it gradually spreads across several Linux distributions at once.

For example, with an error

A start job is running for live-config contains the components that configure a live system during the boot process (late userspace)

I have already come across on Kali Linux, Parrot Security and Tails.

Another signs of this problem are errors with the word nouveau:

acpi device:13: Failed to change power state to D0
video LNXVIDEO:01: Cannot transition to power state D0 for parent in (UNKNOWN)
pci_raw_set_power_state: 24 callbacks suppressed
nouveau 0000:01:00.0: Refused to change power state, currently in D3
video LNXVIDEO:01: Cannot transition to power state D0 for parent in (UNKNOWN)
nouveau 0000:01:00.0: Refused to change power state, currently in D3
video LNXVIDEO:01: Cannot transition to power state D0 for parent in (UNKNOWN)

As you can see, right before these errors, a record is visible

Reached target network

In systems where not all messages are displayed, the boot may stop at this particular inscription, but it is not related to the discussed bug.

The essence of the problem is that the Live system on a USB flash drive or disk does not boot. If the distribution shows the system log messages about the download, then you can see the error above.

Some distributions are configured not to display boot messages and use a splash screen – in this case, it will appear that the system has hung on the boot screen.

In this article, I will show how to fix a problem for Live distributions on a USB flash drive.

In fact, the problem can occur not only on the Live system, but also during a normal installation. But in this case, the procedure is different – you need to boot into the system (by changing the boot options, as shown below, or switch to the command line interface), and then update the system and/or install the video card driver for NVidia. This option is for a typical Linux installation, not Live.

As for Live systems, they do not save the changes made to them after a reboot, so the method described above is not suitable. In fact, on the Live system, you can also make changes if the system is recorded on a USB drive. For optical drives, this is not possible at all.

So, let's get started fixing the problem!

How to fix 'A start job is running for live-config contains…'

In the boot menu, press e (or TAB). The boot options window opens. If there are several lines in it, then move the cursor to the line that begins with


See if there are “quiet” and “splash” in this line?

  • quiet means do not show download progress messages
  • splash means show boot splash screen

I recommend removing both strings.

And, most importantly, add the following to the end:


To continue downloading, press F10 (or ENTER).

If this works and the system boots successfully, then the reason for the problems with loading is the incompatibility of the drivers with the NVidia graphics card.

How to change files in a Live system

Optical discs with Live systems have instilled the habit that information on such a system cannot be changed. The point, of course, is the limitations of the optical discs themselves, not the Live mode.

In Live mode on USB drives, partitions are simply mounted with the read-only option. Therefore, it is enough to remount the partition in the writable mode and it will be possible to save the changes made on it.

Next, I will show Tails as an example. In other distributions, paths may vary slightly. Also, drive names may vary depending on the specific computer. Therefore, from this article you should learn the principle and edit the subsequent commands in accordance with your specific conditions.

If you are fixing a problem for Tails, then remember to set the Administrator Password.

Now we need to find out the name of the disk, for this enter the command:

sudo fdisk -l

It is important to correctly understand which of these disks is a flash drive with a Live system. You can navigate by the size of the disk.

In the screenshot above, the flash drive is named /dev/sdb.

Now you need to determine at which point in the file system the /dev/sdb disk partitions are mounted. All mounted file systems are displayed by the command


Using it paired with grep, you can speed up the search for information you need (hereinafter, instead of /dev/sdb, enter the name of your disk):

mount | grep '/dev/sdb'

As you can see in the screenshot, the /dev/sdb1 partition is mounted in /lib/live/mount/medium. Also pay attention to the ‘ro’ letters, they mean ‘read-only’.

To remount a partition with write permissions, you need to run a command of the form:

sudo mount -o remount,rw VOLUME MOUNT_POINT

For my data, this is the command:

sudo mount -o remount,rw /dev/sdb1 /lib/live/mount/medium

Again I do a check:

mount | grep '/dev/sdb'

Now instead of the letters “ro”, there is “rw” - this means that we can edit the files in this volume.

Now we need to edit the configuration files from which the system reads the boot options. Linux distributions support loading into BIOS and EFI – each of these options has its own configuration file. The operating system can be 32-bit or 64-bit – and again, for each of these options its own boot configuration file. That is, in total, we will need to edit 4 files.

For Tails, these files are located in the following paths:

  • /lib/live/mount/medium/syslinux/live64.cfg
  • /lib/live/mount/medium/syslinux/live.cfg
  • /lib/live/mount/medium/EFI/BOOT/live64.cfg
  • /lib/live/mount/medium/EFI/BOOT/live.cfg

That is, you need to look at the mount point (/lib/live/mount/medium/) for the syslinux and EFI/BOOT directories.

Open the first two files:

sudo gedit /media/amnesia/Tails/syslinux/live*.cfg

All menu items are listed there, for Tails it is:

  • live (normal download)
  • livefailsave (recovery mode, “safe mode”)

It is enough to make changes only for the item that you are using. In the case of Tails, you need to change ‘live’.

Changes need to be made the same as we did before in the boot options, that is, you must definitely add:


And optionally, you can delete (I always delete, because this greatly simplifies the solution of problems) lines:


When everything is ready, save and close both files.

We open the following two:

sudo gedit /media/amnesia/Tails/EFI/BOOT/live*.cfg

And repeat the changes made:

As well, save and close these files.

Now reboot your system. You no longer need to edit the boot parameters – the system should start normally.

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