Ubuntu 8.10 vs Mint 6 XFCE persistent USB (Solved)

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Ubuntu 8.10 vs Mint 6 XFCE persistent USB (Solved)

Postby ianjb on Fri Mar 13, 2009 9:43 am

There have been several threads about persistence but after reading them I still had problems getting my Linux Mint 6 XFCE to be persistent on a USB, so here is what I found that worked. I'm sure there are other ways to do it but this worked for me.

I am new to Linux and my first distro was Ubuntu 8.10. I downloaded the iso, burned it to cd, booted it, played with it a bit and then made a USB using the "Create a USB startup stick" command built in to UBuntu 8.10. When I rebooted from the Ubuntu USB, persistence just worked.

Linux Mint with it's media capabilities beckoned ...

I downloaded the iso burned it to cd, booted it, played with it a bit and then made a USB by installing USB-Creator using Synaptic and executing the "Create a USB startup stick" command now available in the system Menu. When I rebooted from the Mint 6 XFCE USB persistence just didn't work.

What was the difference? I still don't really know WHY it's different but I did figure out WHAT makes Mint 6 XFCE USB persistent. The key is in the syslinux.cfg file. The default syslinux.cfg section that tell it how to boot looks like this:
Code: Select all
label live
  menu label Start Linux Mint XFCE Community Edition
  kernel /casper/vmlinuz
  append  file=/cdrom/preseed/mint.seed boot=casper initrd=/casper/initrd.gz quiet splash --
menu default

In order to be persistent the "append" line must have the word "persistent" in it but it doesn't. So here are the steps to make a persistent bootable USB (this assumes a PC capable of booting from USB)

1. Download and burn to CD the Mint 6 XFCE iso.
2. Boot the Mint 6 XFCE cd and connect to the internet.
3. Install USB-Creator using Synaptic.
4. Plug in a USB stick ( 1 GB to 4 GB) formatted FAT32 (it should show up on the desktop).
5. Run the "Create a USB startup stick" command now available in the system Menu (set the file size to use all of the USB).
6. When the USB is created it says you can reboot to use the USB. Click "OK" but do NOT reboot yet.
7. Open the folder on the desktop for the USB. You will see a file named syslinux.cfg in the root of this folder. This is NOT the one to modify. Open the "syslinux" folder and open the syslinux.cfg file that you find there with the mousepad text editor.
8. Edit the section of code listed above to look like:
Code: Select all
label live
  menu label Start Linux Mint XFCE Community Edition - persistent
  kernel /casper/vmlinuz
  append  file=/cdrom/preseed/mint.seed boot=casper persistent initrd=/casper/initrd.gz quiet splash --
menu default

9. Save the edited syslinux.cfg file, quit from the live cd and remove the cd when prompted.
10. Restart, booting from the USB. When the boot option screen comes up you should see the top option as:
"Start Linux Mint XFCE Community Edition - persistent" - you now have a persistent Linux Mint 6 XFCE bootable USB stick.

Figuring this out took a lot longer than I would have imagined. I hope this saves some time for others moving away from M$ Window$.
ianjb
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Re: Ubuntu 8.10 vs Mint 6 XFCE persistent USB (Solved)

Postby ddalley on Tue Mar 17, 2009 6:02 pm

Well, it took about 6 tries and a different USB mem-stick, but I finally got a persistent install!
Thank you for posting this solution, ianjb!

If anyone has a non-persistent install, just edit the proper syslinux.cfg file and it should work, too, but Mint stops you from editing the boot file while running from the stick.

Now I need to get Mint configured for the Aspire One netbook before installing it proper.
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Re: Ubuntu 8.10 vs Mint 6 XFCE persistent USB (Solved)

Postby ianjb on Wed Mar 18, 2009 7:08 am

@ddalley
Glad you found it useful. I hear you about 6 tries.

One more thing. If the first option does not say "persistent" when you boot the USB stick and you're quick enough, you can press tab to edit the boot line. You can now add the word "persistent" to the boot line to make that session persistent. It will also pick up any persistent changes that you may have made in previous persistent sessions on that USB stick.
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Re: Ubuntu 8.10 vs Mint 6 XFCE persistent USB (Solved)

Postby ddalley on Fri Mar 20, 2009 4:19 am

Is there any chance that you could post this in the wiki here?
The only option in the wiki is with using UNetbootin, plus the pictures are missing.

What Mint really needs is an install menu function from within Mint, like some other Live CD installs have.

Re: USB stick and many attempts

I think the mem-stick I used may have a problem with booting from it.
That's why I changed it. This is something other users need to watch.

Again, thanks for the workable guide. :mrgreen:
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Re: Ubuntu 8.10 vs Mint 6 XFCE persistent USB (Solved)

Postby ianjb on Fri Mar 20, 2009 11:34 am

When I get a few minutes I'll put it in the "Tutorials / Howtos" section

Update. Added a cleaned up version to the "Tutorials / Howtos" section
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