PC unable to read the disk of Ubuntu-MATE


For some reason, my PC can't read any disk I make of Ubuntu-Mate 20.04. (20.04.2 to be precise.) I tried redoing the disk, downloading the ISO again before redoing the disk, but it change nothing.

Yet, when I try with the equivalent disk for any other version of Ubuntu (Lubuntu, Kubuntu, or even the original flavor Ubuntu) the disk is seen no problem. Same with a Windows 10 disk.

I tried putting the Ubuntu-MATE disk while Windows is running, and then I have a message saying "Windows can't read the disk", when I see some content (with the File Explorer opening to show them to me) if doing the same the other flavors.

Any idea where the problem came from?

Hi :slight_smile:

Maybe some encryption or LVM ?

What is the filesystem you are using on this disk ? is it the same as the other flavors ?

Hello Olek and thanks for answering.

No LVM or encryption, and the filesystem is BtrFS, which is the same I used to install all previous version of Lubuntu. (And currently a Kubuntu.)

But I doubt that's where the problem come from, because I can't even TRY to install my Lubuntu, it's the DVD that doesn't boot.

Bad luck ... and really strange ...
Maybe something about EFI ?
What software do you use for creating bootable USB ?
Good luck :slight_smile:

I agree. This is a situation where some information on the computer he is using would be really be helpful. EFI is different on different makes of computers and is on newer ones but not older ones with a traditional BIOS. People are always encouraged to put the make and model along with any other pertinent hardware in their post.

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My motherboard is a Asus Maximus VIII Formula, (from the "Republic of Gamers" range), and it IS uEFI compliant, but can run an OS in BIOS mode if necessary. But it doesn't change anything, my Ubuntu-MATE disk won't boot either way, were other flavors of Ubuntu boot in both.

I don't make a bootable USB, I don't have any thumbdrive big enough. I can either burn the ISO on a DVD, or use that USB hard-drive that can simulate an optical-drive with any ISO.

Welcome to the forum @Bigou.

  1. What type of DVD media exactly did you write the Ubuntu MATE disc image to? Is it different from the type of media you used for burning a Kubuntu or Lubuntu image to in the past? (Look at the disc label.) There is absolutely a difference between a DVD+R and a DVD-R, for example! Tell us which type the Lubuntu disc is written on and which type the Ubuntu MATE disc is written on. Also tell us if your DVD reader specifies which types of media it can read. I encountered a bulk set of 100 CDs several years ago which could be written to just fine, but which could not be read back no matter how hard I tried. I hve since learned not to judge all optical media as the same.

  2. You didn't write the ISO image in packet writing mode, did you? Because I can tell you that this rarely works. Linux can read these discs, but your UEFI and Windows sure as heck aren't expecting an ISO filesystem on a packet-written disc!

  3. When you insert the Ubuntu MATE DVD of yours into your DVD drive, does the DVD drive make an unusual amount of noise compared to when you insert the Lubuntu disc? If so, that's almost certainly an indication of one of the above two things.

Look into all three things and that goes a long way toward helping us help you.

As @olek and I already said, welcome to the forum! I hope this issue can be resolved. :+1:


@gordon I have both DVD+ and -RW, and both are supported by my optical drive. I tried on both. Kubuntu, Lubuntu and the base (Gnome) version of Ubuntu work fine in both case, but not Ubuntu-MATE. (Wrote the non MATE versions just for the test.)

No, I didn't write the disk in packet writing mode, I don't even think my burning software as this option. (And as I said, I burned the other versions of Ubuntu with the exact same parameters, worked just fine for them.) And Kubunu is no better at reading my Ubuntu-MATE disk than Windows or my UEFI.

No, my optical drive didn't make more noise than usual, and neither did my HDD that can simulate an optical drive. (Again, work just fine with Lubuntu, Kubuntu and the Gnome version of Ubuntu, only Ubuntu-MATE refuse to work.)

Hi back :slight_smile:
Can you share the URL where you have downloaded ubuntu mate ?

@Bigou, what do you mean by that? I just want to confirm you are not confusing bootable USB to installing linux onto the USB, like external drive. Bootable USB is one where the ISO image is written (or burned) to USB which is able to boot into live/install session (just like a DVD). Do you have a 4GB thumbdrive? That is enough to create a bootable USB. Programs like 'Startup Disk Creator' or 'Etcher' would create one.

Also, have you tested with other supported releases of Ubuntu MATE (either 18.04 or 20.10). If not, could you please test with 18.04?

Could you start your computer (or a friends), insert the Ubuntu Mate DVD, open it in Caja or another file browser and take a screenshot of what is on the DVD and then upload it like this:

That could be very helpful in diagnosing the problem. This is from a DVD I have used to install Ubuntu Mate on at least 5 laptops and 2 desktops. Compare it to what you have please.

That's the problem @jymm, no computer accept to open it. I can see it, but when I try to open it, I get an error message. (The exact message depend of the OS and file browser, and is in French.)

No @saivinob, it's NOT a simple USB drive. It's a HDD similar to what you can find in a laptop put into a special case made by Zalman. In that HDD I have a "_iso" folder, and any ISO put in there can then be used as if they were burned, once I switched the case from classic HDD mode to "fake optical drive" mode.

I hope this is not a hoax. You can get on the Internet to ask questions, but do not have a computer. Okay, phones and tablets work. You downloaded and burnt three OS's and three boot but you can not do that without a computer, phones and tablets do not work. Okay a friend did it for you, but you have no friends. You don't have a USB drive that is 4 gigs, but they have not sold 1 gig USB drives since about 2008. I live in the US and can buy an eight gig USB drive for less than $5 dollars USD. Okay France is different. A total extracted Ubuntu Mate 20.04 LTS take only about 2.6 gigs. What would I do?
Still I have a good heart and will help you.

  1. You have a working computer.

  2. You have three DVD's with OS's that boot. ("Lubuntu, Kubuntu, or even the original flavor Ubuntu" according to your post) But you would prefer Ubuntu Mate.

  3. You have one OS on a DVD that does not boot, so we know there is a problem with the installation media.

  4. You have the technical knowledge to install an OS. That shouldn't be much, the Ubuntu installer is one of the easiest in the world and will do it for you.

  5. Install one of the OS's that boot, now you now have a working computer. Hooray!

  6. Go to the official Ubuntu Mate download page. You can access it from right here on the forum.

  7. Download the ISO. Verify the download by checking the Md5 and SHA1 hashes. If using a torrent verify the download.

  8. Find the installation media of your choice. Pick a premium installation media, not the cheapest one available.

  9. Use the proper program that will EXTRACT and BURN your verfied ISO to a DVD or USB drive.

  10. Verify the burn.

  11. If all is good, if it boots in the "try but don't install" mode, test the WIFI and any other concerns you might have, like the language or keyboard. If you have problems, now you can bring them to this forum as you still have a working computer, with terminal readouts and uploaded screenshots.

  12. Throw away your old DVD so you don't confuse it with the good one.

  13. Install Ubuntu Mate, and be on your way!
    Good Luck!


I think he meant the DVD is not read, instead shows error message which is in French. For Windows, he says it reads as "Windows can't read the disk".

@Bigou, so does it mean you are using different DVD for each or it is same re-writable DVD and when you write other iso they work but not Ubuntu MATE?
a) If they are different DVDs, have you tried to write UM to another DVD? It could be a case of bad DVD.
b) If it is the same re-writable DVD, have you written those other OS onto it and checked, after you had written UM? Meaning to say, the DVD might have gone bad at last writing.

Also, try to burn 18.04 (or 20.10) image to the DVD or as @jymm suggested, try with a brand new, good quality DVD. I had my share of frustrations when using CDs/DVDs; there would always be a bad apple in a bunch I purchased.

Understood. I made one when I replaced my laptop's HDD with an SSD.

This, I did not understand. Never tried. But if you put UM iso it doesn't work? Or at least show it's contents?

I suspect whoever wrote the disk probably just copied the ISO to the media, not using a program that extracts the ISO and writes it to the disk or the media itself is faulty. I also don't know who or what zalman is, or a what a special case is, but I know what an HDD is. If the thing can read any disk he has other than Ubuntu Mate , he can install another operating system. Then he has a working computer and can trouble shoot the Ubuntu Mate disk. It is not Ubuntu Mate that is the problem but the media or the way it was written to. Until then there is no more I can do to help him.

"Yet, when I try with the equivalent disk for any other version of Ubuntu (Lubuntu, Kubuntu, or even the original flavor Ubuntu) the disk is seen no problem. Same with a Windows 10 disk."

So install one of those and get the computer working. Then we can help.

If he is trying to install an OS while running another operating system that is mounted it is not going to work. To install a DVD he needs a real optical drive not a virtual one. If he doesn't he will have to use a USB drive or buy a USB connected DVD drive.

I don't make a bootable USB, I don't have any thumbdrive big enough.

That makes no sense either, 4 gig USB drive is sufficient. Ubuntu Mate is about 2.6 gigs when written. That indicates there is something wrong with his download of the ISO.
He may have multiple problems, a bad DVD, or a bad download of the ISO, or no physical optical drive, or a combination of any or all.

Language also could be a problem, is there anyone that is fluent in French and English that could help?

Sorry I didn't say how the story ended sooner.

I ended up buying a bigger USB-stick than I had. (My only one was an old 1Go sized antique.) Work better than simulating an optical drive through the iffy proprietary firmware of an HDD enclosure. :wink:

Anyway, thanks to all peoples who tried to help me.


I do speak French, if there's any need, I think Bigou has forgotten to mention he is probably African, that's why he might not be able to get the pendrive easily. The device he used to load the ISO is a bit complicated, this is probably the problem, as far as I see, he did not use a DVD disk.

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