Running Linux Mint from USB Drive

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schmitta
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Running Linux Mint from USB Drive

Post by schmitta »

I would like to run Linux Mint from a USB Drive and have it write all files back to the USB drive so that the USB drive is a contained Linux system. This is so that I can walk up to a 32 windows machine, plug in the USB stick and have a Linux system running where I can develop C programs for Linux - unplug the drive and have the windows system back after booting. Thus everything including my development programs reside on the USB Drive. I am a real newbie on this. I have heard about unetbootin but do not know much more about it. What should I do? Thank you. Alvin....
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RETNUH
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Re: Running Linux Mint from USB Drive

Post by RETNUH »

Try using Unetbootin. It should allow you to give the flash drive persistence(what you're after). Although I seem to remember reading that you can't enable persistence with Mint. I may be wrong though or it may be specific to a certain release.
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Reorx
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Re: Running Linux Mint from USB Drive

Post by Reorx »

Full time Linux Mint user since 2011 - Currently running mostly LM19C and a little LM20C.

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Inkit
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Re: Running Linux Mint from USB Drive

Post by Inkit »

What Aging Technogeek talks about is INSTALLING the OS into a flash drive. Actually if you are using unetboot there is no need to do this. If you download unetboot you will see that it gives you the option of either downloading different linux variants or pointing to an image and creating a bootable flash drive from there. The advantage of this is that the image file gets written to the flash drive and this is less than 1 GB in size. If you install it on to the flash drive, it will take about 4 gb, so waste of space.
Second unetboot gives you the option of persistence. If you choose to install with persistence, you can specify how much space you want to give in your os to save your stuff. This means that not only do you have an INSTALLABLE usb drive, which means that you can install to any other drive at a later date, you can also save whatever you want to on the drive. The only limit on what you can save is the amount of space you have on the drive. And not only can you save your stuff, you can also install software to the drive just as you would in a real install.
The only difference is that if you install the os into a flsh drive, you don't have to keep going to bios and changing the boot order. With the bootable usb, you have to do this every time. Of course if you are going to use the same machines, you can set the boot order to boot from usb first and this too is solved.

Please note: I am assuming that there should be something different between using a bootable image and installing the OS. What exactly this difference is, I don't know. Maybe you can post back after some time to let us know if you did find any difference? (I haven't found one which is why I'm recommending it, but then I've also not used it as extensively as you say your need is.)
tomreedtoon
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Re: Running Linux Mint from USB Drive

Post by tomreedtoon »

Hello there. Perhaps one of you guys can answer these questions about using Linux Mint 12 and unetbootln to put it on a bootable USB stick. I'm using the Linux Mint 12 KDE 32-bit version, because it was specifically recommended on the main page for this. (Also note that this is one of the few things I've ever done with Linux.)

Okay, the question. Linux Mint KDE is based on Ubuntu Linux.In Unetbootln there is an entry box for adding a place for "persistence," that is, a place to keep your settings so you don't have to redo them every time you boot. I've put 1 gig (1000 K) worth of space on the stick (it's a 4 gig stick). Yet there seems to be extra space on the stick.

Question 1: is 1 gig enough space? Too much? Not enough?

Question 2: Is it possible to format the extra space so it appears as another drive, so I'd have a place to store programs or document files on the stick? Or is it considered "one DVD/CD drive" and therefore unable to be partitioned?

Thanks, guys.
Inkit
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Re: Running Linux Mint from USB Drive

Post by Inkit »

is 1 gig enough space? Too much? Not enough?
How much space is enough is dependent on what you want to do. For example, if all you want to do is store document files, then 1 GB should be enough for most cases. If on the other hand you want to store other, more heavy duty stuff, you'll need more space. For example, if you want to download some application that is 600 mb in size (There are very few so large, but then this is just an example) then you've used up most of the 1 GB you had assigned. It's just a matter of you looking at what you want to add to the system and making provisions for that.
Is it possible to format the extra space so it appears as another drive, so I'd have a place to store programs or document files on the stick? Or is it considered "one DVD/CD drive" and therefore unable to be partitioned?
You can partition the usb drive. You can use gparted itself to format the drive, but then this is assuming that you can get linux running from some other system. If not you have to use a windows partition tool and I am not familiar with them. The only problem is in calculating the space utilization. If for example you want to partition the usb drive into two 2 GB partitions, and have one of them for the boot drive, calculating how much space you can assign for persistence is a little difficult. You may end up putting in more in which case it will not work, or you may end up putting in less in which case you'll have some unutilized space.
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I2k4
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Re: Running Linux Mint from USB Drive

Post by I2k4 »

I'd also suggest experimenting with "Live USB with Persistence" to get a good feel for various versions - I generally use 4GB thumb drives. I started using the Pendrive installer, which is very intuitive and never tried any other:

http://www.pendrivelinux.com/universal- ... -as-1-2-3/

Just scroll down its menu to find the Mint version that matches whichever ISO you've downloaded, and slide Persistence setting to use all the USB space above 1.5GB. Persistence will save your settings between reboots, otherwise they disappear.

My experience trying out Live USB over a year or so has been that the USB installations are great to get a trial run but after a month or two all go wonky, starting to demand non-existent passwords or failing to find the hard drive. There is a method to do a "regular install" onto a USB drive instead, but be very careful that you don't install GRUB onto the hard drive doing that - it can't easily removed.

Finally, after booting from USB, be aware you'll have to manually "mount" the hard drive, easily by opening the file manager, locating and opening it. Once that's done, the HDD acts like an ordinary external drive.

I've found Mint 11 enjoyable and a pretty OS to look at.
TRUST BUT VERIFY any advice from anybody, including me. Mint/Ubuntu user since 10.04 LTS. LM20 64 bit XFCE (Dell 1520). Dual booting LM20 XFCE / Win7 (Lenovo desktop and Acer netbook).
schmitta
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Re: Running Linux Mint from USB Drive

Post by schmitta »

I downloaded the pen drive loading program but when I double clicked on it nothing happened. I just said I "selected it" . I feel like a jerk even though I have been computer literit for 44 years. Also I typed fdisk -l into a terminal window but all I get is the prompt. THis also happened with fdisk -l sda, fdisk -l /dev/sda/ etc. thanks.
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RETNUH
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Re: Running Linux Mint from USB Drive

Post by RETNUH »

The program that I2k4 recommended is windows only.

Again, try Unetbootin.
We all know that light travels faster than sound. That's why certain people appear bright until you hear them speak. -Albert Einstein

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I2k4
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Re: Running Linux Mint from USB Drive

Post by I2k4 »

My impression from the first post was intention to run the stick on a Windows machine. Sorry if wrong about that.
TRUST BUT VERIFY any advice from anybody, including me. Mint/Ubuntu user since 10.04 LTS. LM20 64 bit XFCE (Dell 1520). Dual booting LM20 XFCE / Win7 (Lenovo desktop and Acer netbook).
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DrHu
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Re: Running Linux Mint from USB Drive

Post by DrHu »

schmitta wrote:This is so that I can walk up to a 32 windows machine, plug in the USB stick and have a Linux system running where I can develop C programs for Linux - unplug the drive and have the windows system back after booting
You might mean booting the OS from the usb drive, on a public windows machine (libraries and such) that probably won't be an option.

It is the persistant storage function you are trying to manage, as in: run all from the USB drive
--may Linuxes will do that fairly automatically fro you, either with unetbootin or an actual distribution such as Puppy.
http://www.pendrivelinux.com/how-to-cre ... loop-file/

http://www.pendrivelinux.com/what-is-persistent-linux/
http://www.pendrivelinux.com/knoppix-li ... ge-how-to/
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