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Thread: USB key

  1. #1
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    USB key

    My friend wants to install Ubuntu on her comp without her family know about it. So she wants some arrangement done so that no one gets to know about her migration to Linux.

    She wants the entire installaion done in the comp except grub. She wants when any one boots the comp it would normaly boot in to Windows without anyone geting any idea that there is another OS in the HDD. When ever she wishes to boot in to Ubuntu she will have to insert a USB pen drive and that will enable her to directly boot in to Ubuntu without going for Windows.

    I feel the boot sequence priority can be changed so that if the USB pen drive is present then it would boot first through that but beyond that I am not sure what we should do in the pen drive to make it boot from the other partition in the HDD that has Ubuntu ?

    Can any one help ?

  2. #2
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    Re: USB key

    Well, instead of installing Ubuntu on the computer hard disk, where someone might be suspicious over missing/mismatch hard disk size, she has the option of installing it onto a USB drive or an external hard drive.

    On the other hand, she can install Ubuntu on the comp. Remove the grub part. Install grub on a USB using unetbootin.

    Note, if she formats a partition for ubuntu using ext3/4, Windows will not be able to access that partition voluntarily. Other user might realise the the changes in the partitions, well, not your average user though. If she use FAT or NTFS as the file system, people will be able to see the Ubuntu structure from Windows, thus its not longer a secret. So, if she really want to keep it a secret, installing it externally (USB, SSD, external hard disk) is better. If the computer is using BIOS, its pretty simple. If its UEFI, well that makes things some what harder.
    Last edited by zemega; April 19th, 2013 at 05:45 AM.

  3. #3
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    Re: USB key

    Conceptually easily done, but I wish you hadn't gone into such detail, as I am not sure I'm comfortable advising on Linux by stealth. Could your friend not just have a frank conversation with her family, lay out her (very good) reasons for wanting to try it, and get where she wants by concensus? Here are the dangers:

    1. She is talking about repartitioning. Always a dangerous exercise.
    2. The partition will be visible to all Windows users who have at least an inkling of system knowledge.
    3. Her "stealth" partition could very well set off Windows anti-malware alarm which is notorious for crying wolf when Linux is detected.
    4. If she gets caught, it's a thousand times more serious in terms of relationship with her family.

    This is life-advice and not technical advice, I know, but someone has to say it.
    Newb: How far must I jump to clear the ledge halfway down?
    Guru: It's bad to jump off cliffs. Let's look at better options.
    Newb: Stop harping about "best practices" and just let me jump.


  4. #4
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    Re: USB key

    Quote Originally Posted by DuckHook View Post
    Conceptually easily done, but I wish you hadn't gone into such detail, as I am not sure I'm comfortable advising on Linux by stealth. Could your friend not just have a frank conversation with her family, lay out her (very good) reasons for wanting to try it, and get where she wants by concensus? Here are the dangers:

    1. She is talking about repartitioning. Always a dangerous exercise.
    2. The partition will be visible to all Windows users who have at least an inkling of system knowledge.
    3. Her "stealth" partition could very well set off Windows anti-malware alarm which is notorious for crying wolf when Linux is detected.
    4. If she gets caught, it's a thousand times more serious in terms of relationship with her family.

    This is life-advice and not technical advice, I know, but someone has to say it.
    Her family memebers are TOO non technical (technical illerates) and that is the main problem. Perhaps you have not come across such people. They are themselves too scared and make life hell for others too. She is afraid that for every lil prob in windows she (her adventure with Linux) will be held responsible.

    Partitioning is never a difficult or scary thing i have been doing it since more than 10 years.

    The partitions will certainly be Ext3/4 so no one can make out its presence, unless has some system knowledge which unfortunately no one in her family has.

    So these issues are not a prob i just need tech advise regarding the USB pendrive.

  5. #5
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    Re: USB key

    Quote Originally Posted by zemega View Post

    On the other hand, she can install Ubuntu on the comp. Remove the grub part. Install grub on a USB using unetbootin.
    .
    I have tried installing it on USB pen drive but its not the same experience.
    So it would be nice if you could kindly help me with UNETBOOTIN or somthing similar. What is this ?
    Can it install grub in pendrive, if I use a boot repair disk (https://help.ubuntu.com/community/Boot-Repair) ?
    Last edited by 3dmatrix; April 19th, 2013 at 06:00 AM.

  6. #6
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    Re: USB key

    Quote Originally Posted by DuckHook View Post
    Conceptually easily done, but I wish you hadn't gone into such detail, as I am not sure I'm comfortable advising on Linux by stealth. Could your friend not just have a frank conversation with her family, lay out her (very good) reasons for wanting to try it, and get where she wants by concensus? Here are the dangers:

    4. If she gets caught, it's a thousand times more serious in terms of relationship with her family.

    This is life-advice and not technical advice, I know, but someone has to say it.
    The whole thing smells.

  7. #7
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    Re: USB key

    I'm not an expert here, but since you plan to do this, its best if you ask the GRUB forum/mailing list. https://lists.gnu.org/mailman/listinfo/help-grub .Unetbootin is just a popular program that allows you to boot from USB. You can load many things into Unetbootin, such as live Linux, the old DOS programs, and in some version Windows.

  8. #8
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    Re: USB key

    If my daughter installed something unknown to me on my computer and purposefully kept it from me by sneaking it onto my HDD without my knowledge or approval, my trust in her would take a beating from which it might never recover.

    You got better advice just now than anything possible of the technical variety that you set out for. If others feel like advising further, that's their call. I've given you the best advice I know just now and have nothing with which to trump it.
    Newb: How far must I jump to clear the ledge halfway down?
    Guru: It's bad to jump off cliffs. Let's look at better options.
    Newb: Stop harping about "best practices" and just let me jump.


  9. #9
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    Re: USB key

    otherwise simply during manual parittioning select to put grub on USB key and that should do it. you will then always need to stick USB in to get grub.

    though it might be better to get install it to external drive.
    pa
    rittioning is nothing scary, but things can always go wrong. and since oyu mess with the disk data....

    anyway DuckHook gave the best advice.
    Easy to understand Ubuntu manual with lots of pics: http://ubuntu-manual.org/
    Do i need antivirus/firewall in linux?
    User friendly disk backup: Redobackup

  10. #10
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    Re: USB key

    Here's a different advice perspective. Tell her to say along this line. Microsoft Windows and Office plus other stuff are not free and open. Ubuntu and Libreoffice and many other things are free. You want to walk the path of minimalism, or less spending or whatever you want to call it, and going with Microsoft is not the way.

    On another note, if its a desktop, you can just put in another harddisk in there and says, what ever happen to the Windows does not involves her harddisk and Ubuntu at all. Partition it to ext3/4. Then you can set up in Windows to recognise the boot to include Ubuntu. This way instead of using GRUB and cause panic to others, they will see Windows boot screen. And then maybe timeout is just 3 seconds, so it pass by quickly without them realising or need to choose any.

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