[Tutorial] Live usb with persistence over 4GB

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[Tutorial] Live usb with persistence over 4GB

Postby Laurent85 » Sat Sep 03, 2016 6:00 pm

Thanks to phd21 who suggested Multisystem as a working alternative.

Follow this tutorial to create a Live usb flash drive with persistence on a separate partition, allowing persistence over the 4GB FAT32 file size limit.

Benefits of persistence and separate partition over full installation:
  • persistence not limited to 4GB (on par with full installation)
  • compressed Live image, the gain is around 2,6GB disk space, allowing the use of a 8GiB usb flash drive
  • non persistent Live session still available, can be handy in some situations
  • read only base image, persistence can be reset without reinstalling, boot in Live session mode to backup your /home data and personal settings, then reformat casper-rw.

Install Multisystem:

Code: Select all

sudo apt-add-repository 'deb http://liveusb.info/multisystem/depot all main'
wget -q -O - http://liveusb.info/multisystem/depot/multisystem.asc | sudo apt-key add -
apt update
apt install multisystem

Usb flash drive partitionning, using gparted create:
  • a 2GB FAT32 partition for Multisystem and Linux Mint iso image. Multisystem can offer to boot any iso image, so you are free to decide a larger FAT32 partition to install more iso images.
  • an ext2 partition labelled casper-rw lowercase for persistence. ext2 filesystem is fast and has lower workload over ext4, so should be sufficient for such usage. You can format to ext4 if you prefer.

Create Live usb with persistence:
  • insert the usb flash drive, Linux Mint should mount available partitions automatically. If you configured Linux Mint to handle removeable drives differently then mount the FAT32 partition (click on said partition).
  • launch Multisystem and select usb flash drive partition to use. On first launch Multisystem will initialize the partition, follow the steps suggested regarding the label and grub.
  • from main screen install Linux Mint iso image
  • click the eye icon to make appear advanced options
  • left click linuxmint-18-cinnamon-64bit.iso, then press the pen icon to edit boot options.

    Left click iso image entry and enter option persistent, press Backup button to save boot options.

    Note that for an unknown reason when returning to boot options persistent does not appear but was properly saved.

    You can check if necessary:
    select Menus tab > GRUB settings > grub.cfg > search for word persistent
    Should appear line starting with linux (loop)/casper/vmlinuz persistent...


To launch a Live session from flash drive, on startup from Multisystem screen edit Linux Mint entry and remove persistent parameter.

Nemo automatically mounts casper-rw partition. When persistence in use, casper-rw should not be considered as a removeable media, hence not mounted as is. You can change this behavior in Nemo Preferences > Behavior > unselect Automatically mount removable media.

Use Multisystem to create multi boot usb flash drives.

Multisystem also offers to enable persistence by creating a casper-rw file container up to 4GB on the FAT32 partition.
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Re: [Tutorial] Live usb with persistence over 4GB

Postby Spearmint2 » Sun Nov 27, 2016 5:49 am

persistent partitions quit working after 17.2 unless someone fixes a bug in the newest casper which is in 17.3, where you can ONLY use a persistent file and limited to 4GB.
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Re: [Tutorial] Live usb with persistence over 4GB

Postby phd21 » Mon Jul 24, 2017 7:22 pm

Hi Everyone, "Laurent85", and "Spearmint2",

Nice tutorial "Laurent85".

I have been making "Persistent" USB flash drive sticks that work well for years in Linux Mint 17.3 and now in Linux Mint 18.1. In fact just a little while ago I created a bootable USB flash drive stick with Linux Mint Cinnamon 18.2 (64-bit) using MultiSystem in Linux Mint 18.1 KDE on a 16gb USB flash drive stick, see screenshot below. In fact, I am running on that right now while writing this reply. Even after installing all the Linux Mint updates, and installing a whole bunch of stuff, I still have 10gb of space left.

FYI: Make sure you have a good USB flash drive stick, check it for errors. I had a lot of trouble recently testing USB sticks because my 8gb USB flash drive stick that I use for testing was wearing out, actually wore out after 3-4 years, and I did not realize it until today.

I have been using "MultiSystem" for most of them, but "Unetbootin" is easy to use and works well for creating "Persistent" USB flash drive sticks with up to 4gb (4000mb) of persistent space. Obviously, I have also been using MultiSystem for creating USB flash drive sticks with over 4gb of "persistent" space.

phd21 wrote:Another post on this...

Re: More than 4gb persistence [SOLVED] - The last reply has the information on how to create this.

Hope this helps ...

Installation version of Linux Mint Cinnamon 18.2 on a 16gb USB flash drive stick with over 4gb of Persistence

Installation version of Linux Mint Cinnamon 18.2 on a 16gb USB flash drive stick with over 4gb of Persistence, After installing all the updates and a lot of other applications.
Phd21: Mint KDE 17.3 & 18.1, 64-bit Awesome OS, Ancient Dell OptiPlex 780 Core2Duo E8400 3GHz,3gb Ram,160gb hdd, Video: Intel 4 Graphics, DVD Lightscribe. Why I use KDE?:https://opensource.com/life/15/4/9-reasons-to-use-kde

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Re: [Tutorial] Live usb with persistence over 4GB

Postby bobk1948 » Fri Sep 08, 2017 7:11 pm

I tried this tutorial, followed the steps as carefully as possible, and was able to produce a bootable, persistent USB 8 Gbyte medium for Linux Mint 18.1. I also tried to use a 1TB USB-mounted hard disk, but it wouldn't work on that. I will try doing it on various other USB thumbdrives.
Thanks very much for posting this!

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