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Thread: is a persistent usb boot drive truly portable

  1. #1
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    is a persistent usb boot drive truly portable

    Hi everybody,

    I know about usb boot drives and that they can be made persistent with a r/w file system. But what happens if I travel with the usb stick and want to use it somewhere else? Will it

    - boot nicely?
    - find the personal files?
    - run whatever tweaks or software is on the r/w file system?

    In other words, is a persistent usb boot drive truly portable?

  2. #2
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    Ubuntu 10.10 Maverick Meerkat

    Re: is a persistent usb boot drive truly portable

    Welcome to the forums!

    The general answer is yes.

    The USB will boot just like at your machine and bring up the desktop you left behind since the last use. Browser bookmarks, cookies history and saved passwords will be preserved. Most settings you applied will be preserved. Any installed software will be present.

    I personally use the 32bit version, so there are no conflicts. You cannot run 64bit Live OS on a non-64bit machine (!) So use 32bits for maximum compatibility.

    Do not enable any additional hardware drivers, that need proprietary downloads/installs (mostly GPU and networking)

    PS. Offcourse, if you have a fast machine like a quad core i5 or better and then run the Live session on a 1Ghz single core processor, everything will run slower (obviously).

    PS2. I have my "work desk" on such an USB, LAMP, MySQL*, different browsers, ...
    Don't ask what your company can do for you.
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    your company!

  3. #3
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    Re: is a persistent usb boot drive truly portable

    Great news

    I'll go ahead to make and test it

  4. #4
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    Ubuntu 10.10 Maverick Meerkat

    Re: is a persistent usb boot drive truly portable

    Hint:
    Never update system components on a Live Session USB, most updates will break the system or fail.
    Installs can take a while, but normally they complete okay, if they fail the first time, the second time they wont.

    Anyhow a Live USB is a nice playground for testing can't break anything
    Don't ask what your company can do for you.
    Ask what you can do for
    your company!

  5. #5
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    Re: is a persistent usb boot drive truly portable

    Thanks for the tips!

    Now I am running a live USB flash drive with Lubuntu. It works in standard volatile mode as well as in persistent mode.

    The 16 GB drive is partitioned with Gparted. The first partition is used as a data partition because Windows can read it. (At least older Windows systems can only read the first partition on a USB drive.) See the attached picture.

    I used the method in
    http://www.pendrivelinux.com/how-to-...-rw-loop-file/
    to make a 4 GB casper-rw file, that should be in the root directory of the second partition (that will be mounted to /cdrom during the live session).

    Unetbootin was used to make the USB flash drive a live system from an iso file (in this case lubuntu-11.10-desktop-i386.iso).
    Code:
    ubuntu@ubuntu:~$ sudo fdisk -lu
    
    Disk /dev/sdb: 16.0 GB, 16028794368 bytes
    255 heads, 63 sectors/track, 1948 cylinders, total 31306239 sectors
    Units = sectors of 1 * 512 = 512 bytes
    Sector size (logical/physical): 512 bytes / 512 bytes
    I/O size (minimum/optimal): 512 bytes / 512 bytes
    Disk identifier: 0x25bf25be
    
       Device Boot      Start         End      Blocks   Id  System
    /dev/sdb1              63    17607239     8803588+   b  W95 FAT32
    /dev/sdb2   *    17607240    28097684     5245222+   c  W95 FAT32 (LBA)
    /dev/sdb3        28097685    30202199     1052257+  82  Linux swap / Solaris
    ubuntu@ubuntu:~$ df
    Filesystem           1K-blocks      Used Available Use% Mounted on
    /cow                   1808104     70412   1737692   4% /
    udev                   1800780         4   1800776   1% /dev
    tmpfs                   723244       852    722392   1% /run
    /dev/sdb2              5234980   4885160    349820  94% /cdrom
    /dev/loop0              624512    624512         0 100% /rofs
    tmpfs                  1808104        12   1808092   1% /tmp
    none                      5120         0      5120   0% /run/lock
    none                   1808104         0   1808104   0% /run/shm
    /dev/sdb1              8794976   3601712   5193264  41% /media/USB-DATA
    /dev/sr1                  6828      6828         0 100% /media/U3 System
    ubuntu@ubuntu:~$ sudo blkid
    /dev/loop0: TYPE="squashfs" 
    /dev/sdb1: LABEL="USB-DATA" UUID="5921-6A05" TYPE="vfat" 
    /dev/sdb2: LABEL="USB-OS" UUID="5939-AF2D" TYPE="vfat" 
    /dev/sdb3: UUID="3379d9fb-860b-41c3-9102-2c36d5640f12" TYPE="swap" 
    ubuntu@ubuntu:~$ ls -lha /cdrom
    total 4.1G
    drwxr-xr-x 11 root root 4.0K 1970-01-01 00:00 .
    drwxr-xr-x  1 root root  220 2011-12-18 10:50 ..
    -rwxr-xr-x  1 root root  144 2011-10-12 18:04 autorun.inf
    drwxr-xr-x  3 root root 4.0K 2011-12-16 21:07 boot
    drwxr-xr-x  2 root root 4.0K 2011-12-16 22:59 casper
    -rwxr-xr-x  1 root root 4.0G 2011-12-17 04:49 casper-rw
    drwxr-xr-x  2 root root 4.0K 2011-12-16 21:07 .disk
    drwxr-xr-x  3 root root 4.0K 2011-12-16 21:07 dists
    drwxr-xr-x  2 root root 4.0K 2011-12-16 21:12 install
    drwxr-xr-x  2 root root  12K 2011-12-16 21:12 isolinux
    -r-xr-xr-x  1 root root  15K 2011-12-16 21:12 ldlinux.sys
    -rwxr-xr-x  1 root root 5.6K 2011-10-12 18:04 md5sum.txt
    drwxr-xr-x  2 root root 4.0K 2011-12-16 21:12 pics
    drwxr-xr-x  6 root root 4.0K 2011-12-16 21:07 pool
    drwxr-xr-x  2 root root 4.0K 2011-12-16 21:12 preseed
    -rwxr-xr-x  1 root root  226 2011-10-12 18:04 README.diskdefines
    -rwxr-xr-x  1 root root 1.3K 2011-12-16 21:35 syslinux.cfg
    -rwxr-xr-x  1 root root 5.1K 2011-12-16 21:12 ubnfilel.txt
    -rwxr-xr-x  1 root root  14M 2011-10-12 18:04 ubninit
    -rwxr-xr-x  1 root root 4.5M 2011-10-12 18:04 ubnkern
    -rwxr-xr-x  1 root root 1.2K 2011-12-16 21:07 ubnpathl.txt
    -rwxr-xr-x  1 root root 142K 2011-12-16 21:13 vesamenu.c32
    -rwxr-xr-x  1 root root 2.4M 2011-10-12 18:04 wubi.exe
    Finally I edited the file syslinux.cfg (the red test in two lines) to make the system use the casper-rw file.
    Code:
    ubuntu@ubuntu:~$  cat /cdrom/syslinux.cfg 
    default vesamenu.c32
    prompt 0
    menu title UNetbootin
    timeout 100
    
    label unetbootindefault
    menu label Default Lubuntu 11.10 *persistent*
    kernel /ubnkern
    append initrd=/ubninit file=/cdrom/preseed/lubuntu.seed boot=casper quiet splash persistent --
    
    label ubnentry0
    menu label ^Help
    kernel /ubnkern
    append initrd=/ubninit 
    
    label ubnentry1
    menu label ^Try Lubuntu without installing
    kernel /casper/vmlinuz
    append initrd=/casper/initrd.lz file=/cdrom/preseed/lubuntu.seed boot=casper  quiet splash --
    
    label ubnentry2
    menu label ^Install Lubuntu
    kernel /casper/vmlinuz
    append initrd=/casper/initrd.lz file=/cdrom/preseed/lubuntu.seed boot=casper only-ubiquity  quiet splash --
    
    label ubnentry3
    menu label ^Check disc for defects
    kernel /casper/vmlinuz
    append initrd=/casper/initrd.lz boot=casper integrity-check  quiet splash --
    
    label ubnentry4
    menu label Test ^memory
    kernel /install/mt86plus
    append initrd=/ubninit 
    
    label ubnentry5
    menu label ^Boot from first hard disk
    kernel /ubnkern
    append initrd=/ubninit 
    
    label ubnentry6
    menu label ^Back..
    kernel /ubnkern
    append initrd=/ubninit 
    
    label ubnentry7
    menu label menu
    kernel /isolinux/vesamenu.c32
    append initrd=/ubninit 
    
    label ubnentry8
    menu label oem=OEM install (for manufacturers)
    kernel /ubnkern
    append initrd=/ubninit oem=oem-config/enable=true
    
    ubuntu@ubuntu:~$
    The mounted persistent file system:
    Code:
    ubuntu@ubuntu:~$ df
    Filesystem           1K-blocks      Used Available Use% Mounted on
    /cow                   4127424    770640   3147120  20% /
    udev                   1800772         4   1800768   1% /dev
    tmpfs                   723244       852    722392   1% /run
    /dev/sdb2              5234980   4885160    349820  94% /cdrom
    /dev/loop0              624512    624512         0 100% /rofs
    tmpfs                  1808104         4   1808100   1% /tmp
    none                      5120         0      5120   0% /run/lock
    none                   1808104         0   1808104   0% /run/shm
    /dev/sdb1              8794976   3601776   5193200  41% /media/USB-DATA
    /dev/sr1                  6828      6828         0 100% /media/U3 System
    ubuntu@ubuntu:~$
    I have installed some favourite software and updated the system
    Code:
    sudo apt-get update
    sudo apt-get upgrade
    and selected locale (language and keyboard).

    It works quite well and it is truly portable
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Last edited by sudodus; December 20th, 2011 at 08:54 AM. Reason: ... and it is truly portable

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