How to install on USB

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How to install on USB

Post by bkarlan » Tue Sep 25, 2012 1:31 pm

I have a fast 32GB USB drive. I want to use it entirely for Linux. I have read the installation instructions and they say to ask the forum for procedures to install it to the drive. I have queried this forum and do not see specific instructions so i am asking here. If this is a duplicate, I apologize and you can direct me to the proper forum. I am an experienced Windows user and I have the mere basics of Linux down at this point.

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Re: How to install on USB

Post by karlchen » Tue Sep 25, 2012 5:58 pm

Hello, bkarian.

As I understand you wish to perform a full Linux Mint 13 installation on the USB drive like one usually does on an internal harddisk. If this is true then the installation process basically will not be different.

Make sure that your machine can boot from the USB drive. I.e. it should offer a key like e.g.<F12> during the early boot phase which allows you to choose which device to boot from. Some choice like:
(1) Boot from internal harddisk
(2) Boot from DVD/CD drive
(3) Boot from USB device
  • In order to install you insert the Mint live DVD and boot from it.
  • Inside the live system you determine the device name which Mint gives to your USB drive. It might be /dev/sdb or /dev/sdc or /dev/sde (which s true for one of my machines.) Write down this device name. You will need it during the installation in order to specify the right target for your installation.
  • Click the icon to "Install Linux Mint".
  • When you see the choice to
    + install Mint on the whole harddisk, replacing Windows
    + install Mint on the harddisk alongside Windows
    + something else
    you select "something else".
  • Next you select your USB drive as the target.
  • Let us assume your device name is /dev/sde. (Replace all occurences of /dev/sde by the device name on your machine in the steps below)
  • You select to install on /dev/sde1 and mount this as /.
  • You might divide your USB drive into two partitions e.g.
    + /dev/sde1 mounted on / for the OS and the software, size 10 GB or more
    + /dev/sde2 mounted on /home, size 15 GB or more
    + /dev/sde3 as swap device
  • Make sure that the filesystem type is set to ext4. For a USB drive ext3 may be an acceptable choice, too. (NTFS or FAT32 or FAT are not.)
    The swap device will simply be type "swap". It will not be formatted during the installation.
  • You need not devide the drive into several partitions, you can just install Mint to /dev/sde1 mounted as /
  • Whatever you do, make sure that all targets are located on /dev/sde.
  • This is true in particular for Grub. Make sure it will be installed on /dev/sde. (No partition number, directly to the drive's master boot record)
  • The rest of the installation steps will be identical to the steps which you would perform if you installed on the internal harddisk
Once the installation is through and the installer tells you to reboot, make sure to press the magic key (<F12> or whatever it is on your machine) and select to boot from the USB drive.
Keep my fingers crossed that Mint will come up fine.

Good luck.
Linux Mint 18.1 64-bit Cinnamon Desktop, Total Commander 9.21a 64-bit
Ubuntu 18.04.1 32-bit Mate Desktop, Total Commander 9.21a 32-bit
Windows? - 1 window in every room

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Re: How to install on USB

Post by caribriz » Tue Sep 25, 2012 7:08 pm

In addition to karl's comprehensive instructions, you may wish to have a look at this illustrated tutorial
by forum member usbtux to do a full install of Linux Mint on a usb flash drive.

As well: tutorials on live usb and other installs:

Desktop: C2D E6400 / Asus P5LD2SE / 2GB ram / Asus GeForce 210 / 320GB (WinXP) & 1TB (Mint - various)
Laptop: Asus A53E-SX1455V - i5 2450M / 4GB ram / Intel HD 3000 / 500GB (Win7/Mint 18.3 Cinnamon)

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Brahim Salem
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Re: How to install on USB

Post by Brahim Salem » Thu Feb 28, 2013 10:14 pm


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