How to put live USB Mint persistent storage on hard disk

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davidmint01
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How to put live USB Mint persistent storage on hard disk

Post by davidmint01 » Tue Jan 23, 2018 5:34 pm

I am having amazing success using live Mint on flash drives plugged into two old Asus Eee 1000HE netbook computers. No other ISOs have worked this well. :D

But I would like to move the large persistent storage system file (casper) so that it runs from the Windows XP NTFS hard disk instead of from the 8 GiB USB flash drive. This will speed up Linux Mint quite a bit. :o

I'm a Windows expert, but know almost nothing about Linux or the Mint GUI.

Important: I don't want to Install Mint! I don't want to erase Windows XP or its files! If you don't fully understand the question, please do not attempt to answer it, thanks. :wink:

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Re: How to put live USB Mint persistent storage on hard disk

Post by I2k4 » Tue Jan 23, 2018 6:32 pm

My own experience - with a basic second-gen Acer netbook running W7 "Starter" - began with Ubuntu 10.04 LTS on persistent live USB, and it took a couple of years and a move to Mint before I got comfortable enough to install a dual boot - so I have empathy for caution and unwillingness to muck with the Windows HD install. That said:

I don't know of anybody doing what you want to, or have any reason to think there could be much performance improvement from it. The persistence storage, which includes all configuration settings and OS / software updates and additions, is engaged during boot, while any external (i.e. to the live USB, including your C: Windows) drive has to be mounted after the boot up. There are (apparently, I don't use them) scripts to auto-mount an external hard drive, but again on a live USB those scripts would be stored in persistent storage and you want to put persistence on the external drive - can't get there from here.

Regarding performance, most of Mint will run in RAM anyway, and your biggest issue on an older 1gb netbook is RAM: XFCE will run nicely on about the same RAM as WinXP, between 200mb and 300mb depending on configuration. But even launching a current version browser like FF or Chrome/Chromium or LibreOffice will easily run well over 500mb. You might be one of those modders who's added RAM to the netbook, but apart from that, it's RAM not thumb drive reads that are your main performance issue - and extra RAM might well solve whatever is bothering you now.

Finally, in my years of ongoing testing with live USB while dual booting LTS Mint alongside Windows, I've never had a live USB last more than six or eight months. To do that, you have to disable large system updates and any really big (e.g. LibreOffice) software packages and carefully calibrate your installations to let the USB chug along at its own speed. Even so, the persistent drive simply goes wonky within a few months. By contrast, the best thing about Mint in my book is the dramatic improvement of serious Long Term Support for both the OS and - with the "point release" schedule - third party software. My Mint 17.3 (i.e. 2014 version of Ubuntu) dual boots are still fresh up to date using the Update Manager - as Windows user you probably are used to and have some appreciation for that. Trying to keep a persistent live USB install current in the same way will bork it sooner than later, regardless where you manage to stash the casper container.

Maybe somebody out there knows better, good luck.
TRUST BUT VERIFY any advice from anybody, including me. Ubuntu / Mint user since 10.04 LTS. M17.3 Cinnamon (Dell 1520). Dual booting M17.3 XFCE / W7 (Acer netbook) and M18.3 Cinnamon / W7 (Lenovo desktop). Testing M19.x 64bit on live USB.

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Re: How to put live USB Mint persistent storage on hard disk

Post by Tomgin5 » Tue Jan 23, 2018 6:44 pm

Got bumped!
First of all It would be easiest to very carefully swap out the HDD in the Asus like this one.
Make sure it is running a 2 GB ram.
install the LM OS like it is to be a permanent installation.
Put your original HDD in place. Nothing else is changed except to tell your Bios to look at the USB Hdd first. Then the default would be the Windex drive.
Put the LM Hdd in a Hdd to USB adapter either with an external PS or USB powered.
When you wish to run LM plug it into the PC1000 and it should boot to the LM OS.
This is a sample:

Code: Select all

miss@miss-1001PX ~ $ inxi -Fxzd
System:    Host: miss-1001PX Kernel: 4.13.0-26-generic x86_64 (64 bit gcc: 5.4.0)
           Desktop: Cinnamon 3.6.7 (Gtk 3.18.9-1ubuntu3.3)
           Distro: Linux Mint 18.3 Sylvia
Machine:   System: ASUSTeK (portable) product: 1001PX v: x.x
           Mobo: ASUSTeK model: 1001PX v: x.xx
           Bios: American Megatrends v: 0601 date: 04/30/2010
CPU:       Single core Intel Atom N450 (-HT-) cache: 512 KB
           flags: (lm nx sse sse2 sse3 ssse3) bmips: 3332
           clock speeds: max: 1667 MHz 1: 1667 MHz 2: 1000 MHz
Graphics:  Card: Intel Atom Processor D4xx/D5xx/N4xx/N5xx Integrated Graphics Controller
           bus-ID: 00:02.0
           Display Server: X.Org 1.18.4 drivers: intel (unloaded: fbdev,vesa)
           Resolution: 1024x600@60.00hz
           GLX Renderer: Mesa DRI Intel Pineview M
           GLX Version: 1.4 Mesa 17.2.4 Direct Rendering: Yes
Audio:     Card Intel NM10/ICH7 Family High Definition Audio Controller
           driver: snd_hda_intel bus-ID: 00:1b.0
           Sound: Advanced Linux Sound Architecture v: k4.13.0-26-generic
Network:   Card-1: Qualcomm Atheros AR8132 Fast Ethernet
           driver: atl1c v: 1.0.1.1-NAPI port: ec00 bus-ID: 01:00.0
           IF: enp1s0 state: up speed: 100 Mbps duplex: full mac: <filter>
           Card-2: Qualcomm Atheros AR9285 Wireless Network Adapter (PCI-Express)
           driver: ath9k bus-ID: 02:00.0
           IF: wlp2s0 state: up mac: <filter>
Drives:    HDD Total Size: 240.1GB (4.5% used)
           ID-1: /dev/sda model: Corsair_Force_LE size: 240.1GB
           Optical: No optical drives detected.
Partition: ID-1: / size: 218G used: 7.9G (4%) fs: ext4 dev: /dev/dm-0
           ID-2: /boot size: 472M used: 293M (66%) fs: ext2 dev: /dev/sda1
           ID-3: swap-1 size: 2.13GB used: 0.00GB (0%) fs: swap dev: /dev/dm-1
RAID:      No RAID devices: /proc/mdstat, md_mod kernel module present
Sensors:   System Temperatures: cpu: 63.0C mobo: N/A
           Fan Speeds (in rpm): cpu: N/A
Info:      Processes: 166 Uptime: 14 min Memory: 850.2/1984.7MB
           Init: systemd runlevel: 5 Gcc sys: 5.4.0
           Client: Shell (bash 4.3.481) inxi: 2.2.35 
miss@miss-1001PX ~ $ 

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Re: How to put live USB Mint persistent storage on hard disk

Post by davidmint01 » Tue Jan 23, 2018 6:53 pm

I must admit that I don't understand much about the first two answers, except that they don't answer the question I asked. As I said, I am not a Linux expert and cannot understand all those details.

If it helps, the computers have 1 GiB RAM, enough to hold the apps I use. But the USB drive is frequently busy flashing its light, probably storing the entire casper file instead of just the few files in Upper persistent storage. I believe the performance bottleneck is this casper file, which is being forced to hold an inefficient file system.

Can anyone else please read the OP and answer it? Thanks! :)

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Re: How to put live USB Mint persistent storage on hard disk

Post by davidmint01 » Tue Jan 23, 2018 8:49 pm

While I'm waiting for an answer, is there any way I can dynamically increase the size of my casper file, allowing the increased size to be used by the persistent file system inside casper?

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Re: How to put live USB Mint persistent storage on hard disk

Post by catweazel » Wed Jan 24, 2018 1:18 am

You can't do it. If you move the casper file to your HDD then use a hard link pointing from the where the original capser was to the newly moved location then the HDD where casper now resides would have to be mounted before the casper file can be read, but the instructions to mount the HDD are located in the casper file, which isn't accessible because the drive isn't mounted. Catch 22.
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Re: How to put live USB Mint persistent storage on hard disk

Post by davidmint01 » Wed Jan 24, 2018 10:16 am

Well, fooey.

Is there any way to partially install Mint as a second OS on the HD? I don't want to lose either my old files or Windows XP as a backup OS.

Every time I want to change the size of the persistent data (casper) in the Live Mint, it seems I have to go through all the customization of the drivers and apps like Firefox all over again. Not fun.

My last mistake was changing the size of casper from 1 GiB down to 500 MiB, thinking that would speed things up. It had the opposite effect.

Mint works faster and more reliable than Windows XP but what's the point if I can't keep it faster as Firefox stores crap in it?

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Re: How to put live USB Mint persistent storage on hard disk

Post by Moem » Wed Jan 24, 2018 10:20 am

What's the reason you don't set it up as a dual boot? That's how people normally do this if they want to keep their current OS and their data.
And there is no reason why you'd need to use Firefox if you don't like it. There are other options. FF is rather heavy for a netbook.
Image

If your issue is solved, kindly indicate that by editing the first post in the topic, and adding [SOLVED] to the title. Thanks!

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Re: How to put live USB Mint persistent storage on hard disk

Post by Mute Ant » Wed Jan 24, 2018 11:23 am

There's a few wild guesses in here, let's try to sort fact from fiction.

Live Session persistence is slow if the device is slow. If your storage can only average 2MB/s writes, it doesn't matter what file-system you use. A persistence device that can manage continuous writes at 5MB/s will work well enough that you think it's an installed OS. There are some cheap and cheerful products that can't manage this speed. There's a couple of famous names that are unfit for OS operation. In any case using a USB Flash store for OS operation almost certainly voids the guarantee. A real USB3 stick in a USB2 port always works for me... writes at 15MB/s.

o TDK LoR TF10 16GB USB2 chip is too slow.
o SanDisk Cruzer Force 64GB USB2 is too slow. Attractive metal case, though. Weaselly 'USB3 Compatible' on the package.
o SanDisk Ultra 16GB USB3 is perfect.
o SanDisk Ultra 32GB USB3 gets a bit warm.
o SanDisk Ultra 64GB USB3 gets too hot.

Persistent changes are stored in a file or partition called casper-rw formatted with an ext4 file system. The casper live-session system attaches the first candidate it finds and says "job done". It ignores any other partitions or files once it has found a candidate for persistence, so you can make a new one and rename the old one.

Mint 17 will find a file C:\CASPER-RW on a FAT32 hard-drive and use it.
Mint 17 will find a partition with a file-system labelled "casper-rw" and use it.

You are allowed a second volume called home-rw which is mounted on top of the /home folder.
Last edited by Mute Ant on Wed Jan 24, 2018 3:25 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: How to put live USB Mint persistent storage on hard disk

Post by pbear » Wed Jan 24, 2018 2:33 pm

davidmint01 wrote:Well, fooey.
As what you wanted to do won't work, I'll hazard to suggest a solution outside the proverbial box. What you really should be doing, IMHO, is a full install to external hard drive. Notably, this won't disturb the internal hard drive in any way. In that respect, will be just like the persistent flash drive you're using now. The hard drive will boot when plugged in and won't (obviously) when not.

This strategy has several advantages. Will have all the features of the OS, where a persistent live drive does not. Easier to install and update apps. Much more room. Faster read/write. Much longer service life (hard drives are engineered for this sort of thing, flash drives are not). More flexibility in partition setup, though a simple one (like you have now) will work fine. Ability to install more than one Linux OS to the same external hard drive (if it's large enough), which may not be appealing now but probably will be later if you stick at this.

Meanwhile, the only down side is that I'm pretty sure you will have to reinstall your apps. Transferring data files will be easy but I'm not aware of any good way to transfer the system as such, especially as you're using an uninstalled live drive. OTOH, a reinstall doesn't take long and several senior users here recommend it as a matter of course (e.g., when upgrading to a new version) because a clean install runs better.

Let us know if the idea appeals. If so, we can talk about "how to."
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Re: How to put live USB Mint persistent storage on hard disk

Post by michael louwe » Wed Jan 24, 2018 2:36 pm

@ davidmint01, .......
davidmint01 wrote:...
.
What you want to do seems quite possible, ie have a Live LM USB running from a persistent casper-rw partition on the internal hard-drive, but is it necessary.? Please refer to ... https://askubuntu.com/questions/882979/ ... local-disk (speed-up-ubuntu-usb-drive-by-moving-casper-rw-file-to-local-disk)

(AFAIK)
The Live LM USB with persistent storage, when booted, will run LM from the USB Flash drive and RAM, instead of from the internal hard drive and RAM. Hence the USB Flash drive will have its light flashing, ie the Live LM session is running from it.

The casper-rw partition(= fat 32/maximum 4GB) for persistent storage will let configuration, updates and apps/programs changes(= customization) that you have made to the LM system to persist through reboots. But Linux kernel updates should not be done = may bork the persistent system.
... The more changes that are made to the LM system, the larger will the number of files that are stored in casper-rw = the slower will the LM system. So, for Live LM USB with persistent storage, the users should plan to make big and many changes to the system in one Live session, esp during the first or second Live session, instead of making small changes during every Live session.

If formatted in ntfs, the casper-rw partition can be made larger than 4GB. There is a procedure on how to do this. Usually, >4GB is not needed. ...
https://askubuntu.com/questions/397481/ ... e-than-4gb (how-to-make-a-persistent-live-ubuntu-usb-with-more-than-4gb)
viewtopic.php?f=42&t=229086 ([Tutorial] Live usb with persistence over 4GB)

Your old Asus netbook should have USB 2.0 ports only. The data transfer rate for USB 2.0 is OK for running a Live LM USB, ie at least it is faster than a Live LM DVD. Persistent storage will slow it down a bit.
... There is no speed advantage connecting a USB 3.0 Flash drive to a USB 2.0 port on the computer. The speed advantage will only be there if a USB 3.0 Flash drive is connected to a modern USB 3.0 port.(= blue colored ports)

Unless you have made changes to Firefox's updating, settings, extensions and plugins during a Live session, Firefox will not store any new files in casper-rw.
Last edited by michael louwe on Thu Jan 25, 2018 5:02 am, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: How to put live USB Mint persistent storage on hard disk

Post by pbear » Wed Jan 24, 2018 2:55 pm

michael louwe wrote:There is no speed advantage connecting a USB 3.0 Flash drive to a USB 2.0 port on the computer. The speed advantage will only be there if a USB 3.0 Flash drive is connected to a modern USB 3.0 port.(= blue colored ports)
[Aside] FYI, this seems intuitively obvious but isn't correct. My main Linux box is an old Win7 machine with only 2.0 ports. I've done many trials with 2.0 vs. 3.0 flash drives. The latter do much better, though not as well as when attached to the 3.0 port of my Win10 box. [/Aside]
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Re: How to put live USB Mint persistent storage on hard disk

Post by michael louwe » Wed Jan 24, 2018 4:06 pm

@ pbear, .......
pbear wrote:...
.
Please refer to ... https://www.howtogeek.com/179803/usb-2. ... sh-drives/ (usb-2.0-vs.-usb-3.0-should-you-upgrade-your-flash-drives/)

The data transfer speed for the USB 3.0 standard is about 10X that of USB 2.0, ie 5Gbps vs 480Mbps.

When a USB 3.0 Flash drive is plugged into a USB 2.0 port, there is no 10X increase in data transfer speed, compared to when a USB 2.0 Flash drive is plugged in. There may be a slight speed increase for the USB 3.0 Flash drive but not 10X. This slight speed increase may be attributed to the higher quality and better efficiency of USB 3.0 Flash drives which are much more expensive than USB 2.0 Flash drives.
... To purposely buy USB 3.0 Flash drives to plug into USB 2.0 ports may not be cost-efficient. Better to save money by buying USB 2.0 Flash drives. But if you have USB 3.0 ports, then it's worth it.

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Re: How to put live USB Mint persistent storage on hard disk

Post by pbear » Wed Jan 24, 2018 5:14 pm

Thanks, but I'll take multiple tests over a link. This first came up when I did full install to a 2.0 flash drive. I used a 2.0 for precisely the reason you asserted. I assumed there was no point getting 3.0 and saved a couple bucks. Excruciatingly slow. Unusable, except it confirmed I'd gotten the install process correct. Next I did the same install to a 3.0 flash drive (same brand, Lexar). The difference was night-and-day. I then replicated the 2.0 install to another drive (all these were new, btw) to see whether maybe the first had been defective; dead slow. Also did another 3.0; works fine.

Mind, I'm not using any of these on a daily basis - they were just tests. My fallback operating system (ready to plug-and-go) is full install to an external hard drive. My Cinnamon and XFCE test boxes are on a second external hard drive, with yet a third for system image and data file backups.

Why different from the article? At a guess, because I did a broader test, where read/write is more important than transmission rate. Infuriating, for example, how long it would take the 2.0 flash drives to install updates. Meanwhile, a pair of old 2.0 external hard drives I had kicking around display none of these symptoms after getting the same full install as the flash drives. Indeed, those are what I'm using for the fallback and test boxes.
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Re: How to put live USB Mint persistent storage on hard disk

Post by michael louwe » Thu Jan 25, 2018 4:06 am

@ pbear, .......

USB 2.0 flash drives were not designed for lots of re-writing operations, ie designed mainly for write-once-n-read-only operations, eg for data/file storage and Live Linux USB = not for a full install of Linux on the USB flash drive. Windows do not allow such full install. Fully-installed OS does a lot of re-writing on the USB flash drive or internal hard drive.
... Maybe USB 3.0 flash drives were later designed to allow for much more re-writing operations.

A Live Linux USB flash drive is created by using an ISO writing program to write-once the downloaded ISO file on the USB flash drive. Booting or running Live Linux USB flash drives is read-only operations, ie no writing operations, similar to booting Live DVD.
... Live USB with persistent storage use the casper-rw file for write-once-n-read-only operations to store Live session's system changes that will persist through reboots.

Either way, a full install of Linux on USB 2.0 or 3.0 flash drives is not advisable(won't run for long) because they have poor wear-levelling circuitry, compared to similar flash-based SSD.
... Eg ... https://askubuntu.com/questions/295701/ ... 776#295776 (what-would-be-the-differences-between-a-persistent-usb-live-session-and-a-install - read Felipe's answer)

So, for USB flash drives, the speed of reading and data transfer is more important than the speed of writing because they are mainly designed for data storage and Live Linux USB or Windows Install/Recovery USB, ie they are not designed to run a fully-installed Linux OS.
pbear wrote:Thanks, but I'll take multiple tests over a link. This first came up when I did full install to a 2.0 flash drive. ...
... The speed advantage you quoted for USB 3.0 flash drives over USB 2.0, is for a full install of Linux, which is what USB flash drives are not designed for. So, your tests results should not be relied on because they are based on the misuse of USB flash drives.
... Do you have the test results for running a Live Linux USB 3.0 flash drive over a Live USB 2.0.?
Last edited by michael louwe on Thu Jan 25, 2018 2:05 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: How to put live USB Mint persistent storage on hard disk

Post by catweazel » Thu Jan 25, 2018 4:14 am

michael louwe wrote:If formatted in ntfs, the casper-rw partition can be made larger than 4GB.
I can assure that I have tried in many ways, but never managed to get persistence with a casper-rw file in an NTFS partition.
That's from the page you quoted.
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Re: How to put live USB Mint persistent storage on hard disk

Post by michael louwe » Thu Jan 25, 2018 5:01 am

@ catweasel, .......
catweasel wrote:...
.
Like they say, "There are many ways to skin a cat." ... 8)

http://bioinformatics.cvr.ac.uk/blog/ho ... a-storage/
.

Update Aug/2017 - Persistence files greater than 4GB

Syslinux started adding support for NTFS with version 4.06 but did not offer full support until version 6.03.

UNetbootin - 655 uses Syslinux 4.03 and is limited to 4GB persistence files per FAT32.

MultiBootUSB - 8.8 uses Syslinux 4.07 and will install on NTFS, persistence files are not limited to 4GB.

Rufus 2.16 uses Syslinux 6.03 and will install on NTFS, persistence files are not provided but can be added manually and are not limited to 4GB.

YUMI - 2.0.4.9, (MultiBoot USB), uses Syslinux 6.03 and will install on NTFS, persistence files are not limited to 4GB. Like MBUSB 8.8 it can have persistence files for each distro installed.
Quoted from the same link ... https://askubuntu.com/questions/397481/ ... e-than-4gb

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Re: How to put live USB Mint persistent storage on hard disk

Post by pbear » Thu Jan 25, 2018 12:53 pm

michael louwe wrote:Do you have the test results for running a Live Linux USB 3.0 flash drive over a Live USB 2.0.?
Nah. By the time I got around to testing persistence (which I think is overrated) I had given up on 2.0 flash drives. But seem to me the read/write issues are similar to those of an installed system. Don't understand why you're so dismissive. I've been here long enough to demonstrate I have a clue. If that doesn't register, not much point in continuing to participate on the forum. In any event, this has become a hijack, so I'm moving on.
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