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Thread: Persistent USB on windows 7 UEFI

  1. #1
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    Persistent USB on windows 7 UEFI

    I am not completely new to linux but definitely a beginner. I've installed and uninstalled Ubuntu many times on several systems. I just like to play around with it sometimes and try to learn. This being said it would be really nice if I could manage to make a persistent live USB but to have more than just the few GB the installers allow. I tried for 3 days by piecing together information from several sources as I could not find anything that related specifically to my system. I have an Alienware X51 running Windows 64bit in UEFI not legacy. Most of the tutorials I saw for creating a persistent live USB were older and related to old BIOS systems, not the new UEFI. Perhaps I overlooked one somewhere but I could not manage to get it right. It would always just load the live version, I could never get persistence. If anyone has any solutions or links to solutions it would be greatly appreciated. Or if it can even happen at all. I know there's a 64bit live iso that works with UEFI, I could just never get the persistent side of things.

    I have a 16gb USB thumb drive. I know I could just install ubuntu directly onto it but I tried that and it was just extremely slow at everything. I also do not want to install it alongside Windows as I always end up removing Ubuntu anyways and always run into trouble in regards to restoring the MBR and removing grub. The persistent live USB is just the right thing for me if I can get it working.

  2. #2
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    Re: Persistent USB on windows 7 UEFI

    Also I should mention that I tried 12.04 and 12.10. My profile info says Edubuntu but that was back when i created the profile and I can't change it.. if the version matters at all

  3. #3
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    Re: Persistent USB on windows 7 UEFI

    from what i can understand of your post, you just want to create a persistent live usb stick.. its simple. on your Windows system, install unetbootin, at the bottom section of the application, select your ubuntu .iso file etc. as for choosing how much space to save data, you cant use more than 4gb because all this is done on the fat32 filesystem which has a 4gb file size limit. see image for where to change amount (there are 1000mb to 1gb).
    Attached Images Attached Images

  4. #4
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    Re: Persistent USB on windows 7 UEFI

    If you are happy with a Persistent install, except for the size of the persistent casper-rw file, you can make persistent casper-rw and home-rw partitions of any size.

    Following is a step by step using "Startup Disk Creator":

    Boot Live CD.
    Plug in flash drive.
    Start Partition Editor, (gparted).
    Create 1.5 GB FAT32 partition, (on the left side of the bar). (size is optional, you can use any extra space for file transfers and storage)
    Create a 4 GB ext3 partition to the right of this, labeled it "casper-rw". (ext2 and ext4 also work).
    Create a partition in the remaining space and label it "home-rw". (optional, creates a separate home partition)
    Close Partition Editor.
    Un-mount and re-mount flash drive.
    Start "Startup Disk Creator", (usb-creator).
    Selected minimum Stored in reserved extra space, (128 MB).
    Pressed "Make Startup Disk.
    When usb-creator finishes,
    Select disk and deleted the casper-rw file.
    Shutdown, remove CD, reboot.

  5. #5
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    Re: Persistent USB on windows 7 UEFI

    The above is getting a little dated, following is an update:

    Boot Live CD or Live USB.
    Plug in flash drive.
    Start Partition Editor.
    Create 2 GB FAT32 partition, (on the left side of the bar). (size is optional, extra space can be used for file storage and transfer to Windows machines).
    Create a 4 GB ext2 partition to the right of this, labeled it "casper-rw". (ext3 and ext4 also work).
    Create a partition in the remaining space and label it "home-rw". (optional, creates a separate home partition)
    Close Partition Editor.
    Un-mount and re-mount flash drive.
    Start "Create a live usb startup disk", (usb-creator).
    Select "Discard on shutdown".
    Press "Make Startup Disk.
    When usb-creator finishes, Go to the root folder of your Live USB
    Enter the syslinux directory, (or for UNetbootin the root directory).
    Make the syslinux.cfg file writeable
    Replace the contents of the file syslinux.cfg with:
    Code:
        default persistent
        label persistent
          say Booting a persistent Ubuntu session...
          kernel /casper/vmlinuz
          append  file=/cdrom/preseed/ubuntu.seed boot=casper persistent initrd=/casper/initrd.lz quiet splash noprompt --
    Shutdown, remove CD, reboot.


    First time booting go to users and groups and create an account with yourself up as an Administrator, with password if desired.

    Note:
    The above code will bypass the Try/Install and Language screens.

  6. #6
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    Re: Persistent USB on windows 7 UEFI

    Quote Originally Posted by black veils View Post
    from what i can understand of your post, you just want to create a persistent live usb stick.. its simple. on your Windows system, install unetbootin, at the bottom section of the application, select your ubuntu .iso file etc. as for choosing how much space to save data, you cant use more than 4gb because all this is done on the fat32 filesystem which has a 4gb file size limit. see image for where to change amount (there are 1000mb to 1gb).

    As I said I've tried the installers themselves but I would like to be able to use more than 4gb...kind of a waste to only use 4 of 16. And I know there are ways to make it work but all the ones I had found applied to systems several years ago on legacy boot systems.. Mine being uefi caused me problems.

  7. #7
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    Re: Persistent USB on windows 7 UEFI

    Quote Originally Posted by C.S.Cameron View Post
    The above is getting a little dated, following is an update:

    Boot Live CD or Live USB.
    Plug in flash drive.
    Start Partition Editor.
    Create 2 GB FAT32 partition, (on the left side of the bar). (size is optional, extra space can be used for file storage and transfer to Windows machines).
    Create a 4 GB ext2 partition to the right of this, labeled it "casper-rw". (ext3 and ext4 also work).
    Create a partition in the remaining space and label it "home-rw". (optional, creates a separate home partition)
    Close Partition Editor.
    Un-mount and re-mount flash drive.
    Start "Create a live usb startup disk", (usb-creator).
    Select "Discard on shutdown".
    Press "Make Startup Disk.
    When usb-creator finishes, Go to the root folder of your Live USB
    Enter the syslinux directory, (or for UNetbootin the root directory).
    Make the syslinux.cfg file writeable
    Replace the contents of the file syslinux.cfg with:
    Code:
        default persistent
        label persistent
          say Booting a persistent Ubuntu session...
          kernel /casper/vmlinuz
          append  file=/cdrom/preseed/ubuntu.seed boot=casper persistent initrd=/casper/initrd.lz quiet splash noprompt --
    Shutdown, remove CD, reboot.


    First time booting go to users and groups and create an account with yourself up as an Administrator, with password if desired.

    Note:
    The above code will bypass the Try/Install and Language screens.
    Thank you I will try this as soon as I get home from work and see if it works. Hopefully it does.

  8. #8
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    Re: Persistent USB on windows 7 UEFI

    I regularly link to previous post by C.S.Cameron for those wanting either persistent or full installs on a liveCD.

    But if UEFI you may want to partition differently so you can boot from UEFI and not have to change to BIOS mode to boot.

    I only have BIOS, but did create a gpt 16GB flash drive, so I know that will work. But with UEFI you need a FAT32 or FAT16(on removeable) partition for the UEFI boot files.

    While I now only have BIOS, I hope to soon build a new system that will have UEFI, so I create new drives with both a future efi partition at the beginning of the drive and a bios_grub for current BIOS use with grub2. Most live installs use syslinux and that still can be installed to the protective MBR with gpt. With that partitioning you then have a lot of flexibility on how you install. And you might want to make it a full UEFI install.

    My newest 32GB flash, efi only needs to be 200MB, bios_grub should be 1MB unformated.
    Code:
    Model:   (scsi)
    Disk /dev/sdb: 31.0GB
    Sector size (logical/physical): 512B/512B
    Partition Table: gpt
    
    Number  Start   End     Size    File system  Name        Flags
     1      20.5kB  500MB   500MB   fat32        EFI System  boot
     2      500MB   501MB   1049kB                           bios_grub
     3      501MB   15.2GB  14.7GB  ext4         sys
     4      15.2GB  31.0GB  15.8GB  ext4         sys
    For info on UEFI boot install & repair - Updated Mar 2015:
    http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=2147295
    Please use Thread Tools above first post to close thread when/if answered completely.







  9. #9
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    Re: Persistent USB on windows 7 UEFI

    Quote Originally Posted by oldfred View Post
    I regularly link to previous post by C.S.Cameron for those wanting either persistent or full installs on a liveCD.

    But if UEFI you may want to partition differently so you can boot from UEFI and not have to change to BIOS mode to boot.

    I only have BIOS, but did create a gpt 16GB flash drive, so I know that will work. But with UEFI you need a FAT32 or FAT16(on removeable) partition for the UEFI boot files.

    While I now only have BIOS, I hope to soon build a new system that will have UEFI, so I create new drives with both a future efi partition at the beginning of the drive and a bios_grub for current BIOS use with grub2. Most live installs use syslinux and that still can be installed to the protective MBR with gpt. With that partitioning you then have a lot of flexibility on how you install. And you might want to make it a full UEFI install.

    My newest 32GB flash, efi only needs to be 200MB, bios_grub should be 1MB unformated.
    Code:
    Model:   (scsi)
    Disk /dev/sdb: 31.0GB
    Sector size (logical/physical): 512B/512B
    Partition Table: gpt
    
    Number  Start   End     Size    File system  Name        Flags
     1      20.5kB  500MB   500MB   fat32        EFI System  boot
     2      500MB   501MB   1049kB                           bios_grub
     3      501MB   15.2GB  14.7GB  ext4         sys
     4      15.2GB  31.0GB  15.8GB  ext4         sys

    Yeah that's where I kept running into problems...no one has steps on making a persistent live USB on UEFI since it's still so new. Especially dealing with linux since it doesn't exactly require the most up to date hardware to install. I had followed several "tutorials" many times and none of which would stay persistent. Of course me not knowing a whole lot especially about the real details of Ubuntu, just simple things, it didn't work out when I tried to just piece things together myself to make it work with UEFI and I would just rather not have it than have to switch to BIOS every time i wanted to use Ubuntu.. I will try the earlier mentioned and see if it works out. I did try a full UEFI install on the USB but it was really slow because of the slow read/write on USB drives i guess? Regardless I will continue to try different methods and I'm sure it won't be too much longer before someone has published a for sure method for UEFI live persistence.

  10. #10
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    Re: Persistent USB on windows 7 UEFI

    I have a full install in my 16GB flash. While not speedy it is functional. Linux caches activity into RAM so if you are reusing the same apps it does not matter where it originally came from. You do have to change a few settings to reduce writes.
    For info on UEFI boot install & repair - Updated Mar 2015:
    http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=2147295
    Please use Thread Tools above first post to close thread when/if answered completely.







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