Installing on a usb

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Installing on a usb

Postby IcyFlame on Sun Feb 24, 2013 9:22 am

I don't want to create a usb bootable stick.

What i want to do is that i want to install the whole OS on an external harddrive that i can connect. boot from. make changes and they will show up the next time i boot up.

Is there a way to do this using the partition table when i install mint normally?

I have seen that it is possible on the MAC. Is it possible on Mint too?

Please reply.
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Re: Installing on a usb

Postby usbtux on Sun Feb 24, 2013 1:48 pm

I presume you mean install - that is a complete install - the same as installing on your computer but to an external hard drive or usb. http://youtu.be/gVCfeFOxGLQ External install, also see http://www.usbtux.hostzi.com/flash_install

If you mean persistence with live usb http://youtu.be/pq2bsTh_dDs - How to use unetbootin to make a liveusb
http://goo.gl/DXKgM useful tutorials for installing mint on USB drives.
http://www.usbtux.hostzi.com/
http://goo.gl/WFu0u Installing Mint - the screen cast videos.
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Re: Installing on a usb

Postby IcyFlame on Thu Feb 28, 2013 1:58 am

thanks @usbtux.. I will check out the links and get back to you..

Also it would be very useful if you would check out the one other post that i have made.. Pls answer that if possible too...!
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Re: Installing on a usb

Postby IcyFlame on Thu Feb 28, 2013 5:01 am

Thank a lot @usbtux. I saw the tutorial and understood most of it. Though I did not understand why we need To allocate swap memory.

Also in the video tutorial you have allocated swap but in the tutorial in your website you have sake not to allocate swap.

I have a couple of doubts. I would be very grateful if you would answer them.

1. Will a 8 GB pen drive do for the installation?

2. Should I allocate swap with this pendrive?

3. Once installed can I boot from the local HDD and from windows can I format the pendrive as normal?
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Re: Installing on a usb

Postby usbtux on Thu Feb 28, 2013 11:58 am

Swap: Well, really its up to you.
In as much it depends on how much ram you have and whether you want to hibernate.

You actually don't need swap for the operating system to run quite happily, on computers with 2G memory or above.

You'll find on most machines very little swap is used for general usage, maybe for something like video transcoding may use it; but on my old
Athlon 64 X2 4000/ 2Gb I never needed swap.

It is however recommended to use swap and as such I would normally use it.

The video is specifically for an external harddrive however, it is exactly the same procedure to install to a flash drive.
USB FLASH memory has limited write life - it can only be written to a certain number of times. Flash drives are a lot slower than even an old harddrive, so writing to swap can slow it down and of course will shorten the life of the flash drive. You need to use the fastest dirve you have - I use Kingston data traveler G3's a 16G is about £/$8
If you decide not to use swap, you should also setup a RAM drive for the stick so that Firefox or Chrome reads and writes its stuff to a temp file in memory.
Using a flash drive will be quite slow when doing an update but for day to day usage - browsing/docs/testing it will be OK and of course you'll have a complete install to test out.


1. Will a 8 GB pen drive do for the installation? YES

2. Should I allocate swap with this pendrive? No (8 GB), save the room for operating system and home.

3. Once installed can I boot from the local HDD and from windows can I format the pendrive as normal? YES
http://goo.gl/DXKgM useful tutorials for installing mint on USB drives.
http://www.usbtux.hostzi.com/
http://goo.gl/WFu0u Installing Mint - the screen cast videos.
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Re: Installing on a usb

Postby IcyFlame on Fri Mar 01, 2013 5:54 am

Thank you so much sir. Your help is very very appreciated. I am installing the System now. And what do you mean by saying that we can write only a limited number of time on a flash drive?
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Re: Installing on a usb

Postby usbtux on Fri Mar 01, 2013 7:04 am

IcyFlame wrote:Thank you so much sir. Your help is very very appreciated. I am installing the System now. And what do you mean by saying that we can write only a limited number of time on a flash drive?


There is a physical limit to the number of read write cycles of a flash drive. https://encrypted.google.com/search?q=f ... utf-8&aq=t Which will be aggravated by installing a os which by its very nature does a lot of reading and writing to disk. But due to the relatively low cost of a flash drive its no big problem if it fails ( MAKE A BACKUP)

Do your first install and update/upgrade through the update manager. Then use redobackup livecd to make a disk backup to a folder on the computer. Once you have setup a few progs or to your liking again use redobackup livecd to make back up of your home and root SEPARATELY.
http://goo.gl/DXKgM useful tutorials for installing mint on USB drives.
http://www.usbtux.hostzi.com/
http://goo.gl/WFu0u Installing Mint - the screen cast videos.
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Re: Installing on a usb

Postby IcyFlame on Sun Mar 03, 2013 3:49 am

Okay sir. Thank you. Anyway the os installation took very long and the reboot did not work so I uninstalled the os. And I will be getting a new laptop so I will be installing is directly in that new HDD. Thank you so much for your help.
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