How To: Persistent Live LMDE USB Install

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Re: How To: Persistent Live LMDE USB Install

Postby kurtjavier on Sat Jul 27, 2013 8:07 pm

Hi, i've just follow the instructions and works great, the live USB works fine and the persistence too. But I have a problem, I updated the live usb (including kernel and running the live usb) and now doesnt want to boot =S, this is a capture from the error:

Image

this is the syslinux.cfg file entry

Code: Select all
label ubnentry1
menu label Default
menu label ^Live (686-pae failsafe)
kernel /ubnkern
append initrd=/live/initrd1.img boot=live persistence config memtest noapic noapm nodma nomce nolapic nomodeset nosmp nosplash vga=normal


Is a Debian wheezy distribution. I don't know how fix it, and I already look searching in google and nothing. Please if anybody knows how fix it, help me. I need the live USB to work in my job =S.
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LMDE-201403? multiboot?

Postby TomRoche on Fri Mar 14, 2014 10:33 pm

Thanks for this detailed tutorial--it looks like a lot of work went into it! Yet I still have questions :-) regarding a usecase: I'd like to have a single USB drive able to multiboot several LMDE-201403s (cinnamon-64, mate-64, mate-32) to use to test on several PCs. Hence I'd like to know (apologies in advance if these are Really Stupid Questions :-)

Regarding the instructions: has anything significant changed in the past year, from LMDE-201303 to LMDE-201403 ? If so, what? or should I be looking for a newer tutorial?

Regarding the target USB drive (on which one wants to install the bootable liveUSB partitions): should or must the target drive be blank? or can one install bootable liveUSB partitions onto a USB drive that already contains files? (Latter sounds risky, but the drive on which I'd like to install already has 125 GB, which would be tedious to move.)

And specifically regarding the boot and persistent partitions:

1. Can one boot different OS from the same USB drive? I assume one can and that `unetbootin` takes care of that, but ICBW.

2. If one *can* one boot different OS from the same USB drive, and they're all LMDEs:

2.1. is this reliable, or failure-prone?

2.2. are there any special instructions for creating the persistent partition for each LMDE? or does one just repeat steps 5-8 for each LMDE persistent partition?

3. If one *can* one boot different OS from the same USB drive: does it matter which OS they are? I'm not planning on booting Windows, MacOS, etc, but would like to know if I could add those to the USB drive in future if desired.

TIA, and thanks again for taking the time to produce this tutorial.
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Re: How To: Persistent Live LMDE USB Install

Postby kwatson512 on Sat Mar 15, 2014 10:20 am

@TomRoche,

First, thanks for the feedback. I'm glad you found this useful. Second, I'm no longer using LMDE. I switched to Mint 16. The reason for that was that some of the update packs in LMDE broke my USB installation and I had to start over, several times. I still like the concept of a semi-rolling distro based on Debian, but find that Mint main "just works" and gets out of the way so I can just use the computer as a tool.

That said, I think I can answer some of your questions. Others may want to chime in.

Has anything changed in the last year? I can't say, since I haven't used the latest version. The biggest change before that was the new label needed for the persistent partition, which I was fortunate to add to the tutorial.

Does the USB have to be blank? In my experience, it does not have to be blank. I have used and re-used USB drives with data on them to install and run multiple distros with Unetbootin, and have never lost a file.

Can you run multiple distros from the same USB drive? I think it is possible, but it might not work well with Unetbootin. Unetbootin writes menu files and folders using the same labels every time it installs a live distro, so if you use it to install a second one, you might inadvertently overwrite something needed for the first one. I've never tried that, so you might want to experiment and report back, or someone else can chime in. I do know you can install to USB as if it were a hard drive (do a full installation), and then GRUB takes care of multiple distros on the same drive (of course, that involves partitioning the drive as you would a HDD or SSD). But in my experience, a full install on a USB drive is painfully slow in operation. You're limited to USB throughput - better with USB 3.0, but not really useful for day-to-day work.

Can you create multiple target persistent partitions for different LMDE versions? I think so, but I haven't done this, either. This would be more involved than just changing the syslinux.cfg file to add persistence (and somehow adding a label for each target persistence partition). The "live-rw" hook is somewhere else (vmlinuz? preseed?) and would probably involve translating from hex, rewriting those labels, and recompiling. Again, I've never done this.

I would suggest carrying a separate USB stick for 32-bit and 64-bit versions of LMDE. You can load both of those up with both Cinnamon and MATE and select the one you want at login. If you want to do everything from a single stick, I'm afraid you'll need more programming expertise than I can provide.

:)
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Re: How To: Persistent Live LMDE USB Install

Postby bjd5882 on Sun Mar 16, 2014 1:44 am

Thanks so much for the guide. It was indispensable for creating a persistent live LMDE usb install based on LDME 201403 MATE Edition. The only alteration necessary for LDME 201403, was to rename the live-persistence.conf file to persistence.conf
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Re: How To: Persistent Live LMDE USB Install

Postby Jeff11 on Sun Apr 27, 2014 9:30 pm

I'm trying to run Mint 16 KDE with persistence using Unetbootin. Is the persistence still a 4 GB limit with no way to manually change that limit? I've attempting to install about 6 times with 9GB and it gives me a "corrupted kernel" error but the check shows my file is fine. Any other insights to get this running on a 16GB sandisk would be great!

Thanks,
Jeff
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Re: How To: Persistent Live LMDE USB Install

Postby kwatson512 on Sun Apr 27, 2014 10:54 pm

Yes, you can configure a larger persistence partition if you want. This tutorial is only for the LMDE version of Linux Mint, though. It WILL NOT WORK for main Mint.

That said, I run Mint 16 Cinnamon on a 32 GB Corsair Voyager USB stick, with half of that reserved for persistence. It's actually simpler than what is required for the LMDE version.
1. Install using Unetbootin, with a small persistence partition (128MB will do). (You're not actually going to use the one you create with Unetbootin.)
2. After installing to the USB stick, boot to make sure it works, then reboot into any live distribution.
3. Use Gparted or other partition manager in the live distro to create your persistence partition. Make it whatever size you want, leaving plenty of space for the FAT-32-formatted partition to hold and run Mint. Format the persistence partition to ext2, 3, or 4 (you might want to do some research on the advantages and disadvantages of each). Label the persistence partition "casper-rw" (without the quotes).
4. Delete the small casper-rw partition created by Unetbootin.
5. Reboot into your USB installation, and it should use the new persistence partition.

Here is a more complete tutorial for making a Mint 16 persistent live USB: http://tuxtweaks.com/2014/03/create-linux-mint-persistent-live-usb/

One tweak you'll need to know after installing: If you plan to update your system (I do), the live version includes a repository that points to a CD (which is non-existent in this case), so before updating, you'll have to uncheck the CD repository under "Additional repositories" in Software Sources or "Repositories" in Synaptic before updating.
Last edited by kwatson512 on Mon Apr 28, 2014 9:36 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: How To: Persistent Live LMDE USB Install

Postby Jeff11 on Sun Apr 27, 2014 11:05 pm

Thanks for the help. I'll give it a try and take a look at the other instructions for the Mint 16 main. I actually use 16 KDE.

Jeff
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Re: How To: Persistent Live LMDE USB Install

Postby kwatson512 on Mon Apr 28, 2014 9:33 am

DE doesn't matter. KDE, Gnome, MATE, Cinnamon, LXDE, XFCE, whatever should all work fine.

The problem you ran into is a limitation in the FAT-32 file system on your USB stick. FAT-32 only recognizes a maximum file size of 4GB. So if you try to force Unetbootin or any other USB system creator to make a bigger one, it will either fail to complete or give you an error like you noticed. What both persistent live USB creation methods do is to create a second partition in a Linux-specific file system to get around that limitation. By labeling it the same as the originally created file, and then deleting the original, the boot manager will look for and find it at startup.

The difference in the two methods is because of the differing underlying architecture between Ubuntu and Debian. Mint main is based on Ubuntu, which labels its persistent partition "casper-rw". Any distro based on Ubuntu can use that name for a persistent partition. Debian uses "persistence" instead, and so for any distro based on Debian (including LMDE), you have to add the "persistence.conf" file as described in the LMDE tutorial.
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Re: How To: Persistent Live LMDE USB Install

Postby LuKePicci on Sat May 03, 2014 12:25 pm

I found this tutorial very useful and interesting, but unfortunately I can't get my frugal LMDE installation working.

In the past year I used an ubuntu leve+persistent installation on an old XP laptop (with 32-bit non-PAE CPU). Yesterday I had the idea to switch to Mint but I sadly discovered that the 32-bit version of Mint 16 (ubuntu-based) uses a PAE kernel as default, so I can't run that on this laptop. I found that LMDE still comes with non PAE kernel into his 32.bit version, so I'm trying to boot it as a live system from my harddrive using UNetbootin (choosing C: as target drive, unetbootin allow that).

Mint boot logo appears for some seconds,then I stuck on an error message immediately after bootloader messages:
Code: Select all
modprobe: module dm-raid45 not found in modules.dep


I googled for it but the only relevant page I found here talks about Debian while simply installed on the HDD.
I also tried on different PCs and thay all fail to boot live LMDE from the internal HDD.
Anyone has a solution/idea?
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Re: How To: Persistent Live LMDE USB Install

Postby kwatson512 on Sat May 03, 2014 2:34 pm

@LuKePicci,

Question: If you are installing to your hard drive (C: in Windows-speak), why are you trying to install a live version? It would make more sense to me to do a full install instead. You could either take over the whole drive or install a dual-boot instance if you need to preserve XP or something else on that drive.

To check compatibility, have you made a live DVD of LMDE? You could run it from the DVD drive of the laptop, and if everything works, then install.
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Re: How To: Persistent Live LMDE USB Install

Postby LuKePicci on Sun May 04, 2014 9:05 am

The idea of a full installation is surely the best solution for a standard pc. However, the reality is a little bit different, since I have some needings I'd like not to explain, keeping the problem simpler and avoiding OT.
I'm already using ubuntu in the same configuration without any problems. I've not tested LMDE while booting from live DVD, but as I said in my previous post, I got the same exact error message while trying a simple frugal installation (ie live+persistence from hdd) on a totally different pc (5 years newer).

I will try to boot live LMDE from USB hdd and see what happens.
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