Author Topic: [SOLVED] Ubuntu on a USB stick  (Read 4256 times)

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Offline Stuckinaloop

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[SOLVED] Ubuntu on a USB stick
« on: June 02, 2011, 08:48:11 am »
I am thinking of loading 11.04 onto a USB stick as described in the Ubuntu.com web page.  Is it as straight forward as described or are there pitfalls for the unwary?

I was looking to use a Kingston 8Gb DataTraveller G3 which according to the specification listed it covers all the usual windows, mac plus  Linux v.2.6.x + operating systems.

« Last Edit: June 08, 2011, 08:11:15 pm by Mark Greaves (PCNetSpec) »

Offline Mark Greaves (PCNetSpec)

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Re: Ubuntu on a USB stick
« Reply #1 on: June 02, 2011, 12:18:01 pm »
The Ubuntu download page doesn't mention "Persistence"... if you don't include a persistence file the USB stick will behave like a CDROM, ie. you will  NOT be able to save any files, or system settings etc.

So make sure you include persistence when creating the LiveUSB... see pic.


With an 8gb stick, you could include a 4gb persistence file, and still have room to carry other files on the stick.

Other than that... the only down sides are:-

Speed... Ubuntu will not be as quick as if run from a hard drive, particularly boot times.

Security... AFAIK, it's impossible to secure them with a password... so if you loose it, it will be wide open to whoever finds it.

And I've saved the best till last...

Depending on your hardware, IT MAY NOT WORK at all... Not all PC's are capable of bootling from USB memory sticks, even if they mention USB in the BIOS... Newer PC's tend to be OK, older ones, I'm afraid it's a suck it and see afair.
« Last Edit: June 02, 2011, 12:30:16 pm by Mark Greaves (PCNetSpec) »
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Offline Stuckinaloop

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Re: Ubuntu on a USB stick
« Reply #2 on: June 02, 2011, 04:31:12 pm »
So much for that cunning plan.

Were you supposed to jinx the system with your "And I've saved the best till last..."

I am somewhat surprised that my laptop which I got in 2008 does not seem to accept the pendrive and boot up from it.   If I can get my partner off her laptop I will try it there and get back to you.

Why is it every time I get a good idea it goes pear shaped.

Offline Mark Greaves (PCNetSpec)

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Re: Ubuntu on a USB stick
« Reply #3 on: June 02, 2011, 04:50:28 pm »
Sorry about that ;) .. it's a BIOS issue, older BIOS's just can't boot from "removable media" such as USB sticks, but are *usually* OK with USB hard drives.

There was a (Windows) program (Lexar Bootit) that could "flip" the "removable media" bit on *some* USB sticks which made them identify themselves as a hard drive to the BIOS, but it only worked with certain USB stick makes/models.
(it was designed for Lexar JumpDrives, but works with *some* other drives)
Using Lexar Bootit on your USB stick must be "at your own risk"... that said it never damaged any of the USB sticks I tried it on, but only ever actually worked on one... and before you ask, I can't remember what it was  ???

There are ways round it... it is (AFAIK) possible to create a floppy disk, or CDROM that passes off the boot to the LiveUSB... I've never done it, but if you're interested, I'll look into it for you ?
« Last Edit: June 02, 2011, 05:21:41 pm by Mark Greaves (PCNetSpec) »
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Offline Mark Greaves (PCNetSpec)

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Re: Ubuntu on a USB stick
« Reply #4 on: June 02, 2011, 05:48:16 pm »
If you are getting this message when you try to boot the USB stick:

vesamenu.c32 not a COM32R image

A *possible* workaround is to...

1) hit the Tab key
2) Type: live
3) Hit the Enter key
« Last Edit: June 02, 2011, 05:50:18 pm by Mark Greaves (PCNetSpec) »
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Offline Stuckinaloop

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Re: Ubuntu on a USB stick
« Reply #5 on: June 02, 2011, 05:52:22 pm »
Many thanks Mark.

I will do some more looking into the problem.  Bootit might help but all else fails I will go and plant some more lucky white heather.

I did not like the reports about Unity or Gnome 3 and wanted a safe way to play about with them before I went much further down that road.

Will see what develops and come back to you.

Offline Mark Greaves (PCNetSpec)

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Re: Ubuntu on a USB stick
« Reply #6 on: June 02, 2011, 05:56:09 pm »
You DID make sure the USB stick was selected as the first boot device ?

If so, what is the error you are getting ?

[EDIT]

Hate to rub salt in, but I've just discovered 11.04 DOES boots from USB stick for me... I could never get 10.10 to boot from USB, so I *thought* it was my BIOS  ;D

This *MAY* (and I must emphasise MAY) have had something to do with Lexar Bootit, because I tried that too... so it could have been that, or it could just be that 11.04 works and 10.10 doesn't.
« Last Edit: June 02, 2011, 07:17:10 pm by Mark Greaves (PCNetSpec) »
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Offline Stuckinaloop

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Re: Ubuntu on a USB stick
« Reply #7 on: June 04, 2011, 09:42:36 am »
I do love all the caveats you keep adding, if you are trying to depress me you are not succeeding. I am made of sterner stuff.

Now to get serious.

I have been having a rummage through Google and found a post that advised that BootIt worked on the posters Kingston drive so that gives me hope. It goes on to say :

"BootIt doesn't handle partitioning duties, so you'll need to do that first. After that, making your drive bootable is just a couple of clicks away. Enter a volume label, flip the removable bit if you're using multiple partitions, mark your active partition, and you should be good to go."

My initial thoughts were to see if I could have 11.04 and later 11.10 on the drive to see how the changes have evolved. 

Could you advise what your feelings in the matter are.  Do I use a Live CD and partition the pendrive to accept two OS. Do I have them set as ext4.

Despite being a miserable Scot if you feel that it is best to keep both separate then I will splurg out on an other pendrive.

I found another link  http://www.ehow.com/how_5871300_make-flash-drive-appear-hdd.html which seems to have a reasonably easy instruction on the use of BootIt and I think I will give that a go.  It also appears that from the examples shown that I should be doing this via windows.

Could you not have prayed harder for rain down there. One day of 23 Degrees was just what we needed up here but to have the threat of rain yet again is totally off putting.  Please try harder.

Once again thanks for your kind assistance

Ian

Offline Mark Greaves (PCNetSpec)

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Re: Ubuntu on a USB stick
« Reply #8 on: June 06, 2011, 03:02:40 pm »
Quote
My initial thoughts were to see if I could have 11.04 and later 11.10 on the drive to see how the changes have evolved. 

Could you advise what your feelings in the matter are.  Do I use a Live CD and partition the pendrive to accept two OS. Do I have them set as ext4.

Erm... it IS possible to do a "proper" install to a USB stick so you *could8 do it that way, but in reality just for testing it would probably be best to set them up on separate sticks formatted as FAT32 and using one of the USB installers and make them persistent... if for no other reason than the swapfile of a "proper" install *may* wear out the USB stick faster... there is a limit to how many write cycles flash memory can handle, though this is quite large these days.

Quote
It also appears that from the examples shown that I should be doing this via windows.

Well it *is* a Windows application ;)
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Offline Mark Greaves (PCNetSpec)

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Re: Ubuntu on a USB stick
« Reply #9 on: June 08, 2011, 08:10:44 pm »
Issue resolved by using Startup Disk Creator in Ubuntu to create the LiveUSB.... BUT, for some strange reason 10.04 doesn't like the .iso image being in the Downloads folder.

If you point Lucid's Startup Disk Creator at a .iso image in the Downloads directory, the persistence option is greyed out, so you can't add a persistence file.

Having the .iso image in any other folder seems OK.

This is NOT an issue with 11.04, and seems peculiar to 10.04.

Very strange... but tested repeatedly... *in* ~/Downloads, *no* presistence option... *outside* ~/Downloads persistence option offered.

Thanks to Stuckinaloop for this info.
« Last Edit: June 08, 2011, 08:13:55 pm by Mark Greaves (PCNetSpec) »
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