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Thread: Make USB Startup Disk - in Ubuntu 8.10

  1. #1
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    Make USB Startup Disk - in Ubuntu 8.10

    As I understand it, there is a USB start-up disk creator in Ubuntu 8.10
    and it does offer persistent storage capabilities.

    I have not yet tried 8.10 but if you have esperimented with this feature,
    how would you use the persistent storage - if you wanted to carry the
    USB disk with you from PC to PC?

    What I mean is that if I ran 8.10 off such a USB disk and created an
    account for "John". So after rebooting the system -
    Can I log in as "John"? (As I currently can running off the hard disk.)

    Or do I have to do something special to save the session before rebooting?

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    Re: Make USB Startup Disk - in Ubuntu 8.10

    usb-creator creates a bootable copy of the Live CD on the flash drive.
    This install is made persistent using folders named casper-rw and home-rw, where changes are automatically saved.
    (The Live CD can also be made persistent using a flash drive with ext3 partitions using these labels, this drive will work with a Live USB also).
    No changes are ever made to the operating system itself, you cannot actually make an account on it.

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    Re: Make USB Startup Disk - in Ubuntu 8.10

    Ok.

    How can I do this?
    • Run Ubuntu off a USB Flash Drive.
    • Create a user account "John" in Ubuntu.
    • Make that user account and any system changes persistent.
    • Carry this USB Flash Drive with me between the 3 PCs that I use regularly.
    • Log in as "John", edit/save documents, etc.

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    Re: Make USB Startup Disk - in Ubuntu 8.10

    Sounds like you want a full install.
    You can install to flash disk from Live CD the same as to hard disk.

    I suggest disabling your hard drive first, then just run install from the CD.

    This page gives some options for persistent flash:
    https://wiki.ubuntu.com/LiveUsbPendrivePersistent

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    Re: Make USB Startup Disk - in Ubuntu 8.10

    Quote Originally Posted by C.S.Cameron View Post
    Sounds like you want a full install.
    You can install to flash disk from Live CD the same as to hard disk.

    I suggest disabling your hard drive first, then just run install from the CD.

    This page gives some options for persistent flash:
    https://wiki.ubuntu.com/LiveUsbPendrivePersistent
    No, the implementation of usb-creator is much superior to the instructions on that page.

    I've been using a persistent flash image on a 2G USB key (on a HP NX9010 laptop with no hard drive installed) for a week or so, and it works very well.

    The persistent mode offered by usb-creator differs from the wiki above, as it can make persistent changes *system-wide*. This means not only that your users files and settings are changed, but also system files. For example, you can install new packages.

    When you use a persistent image, it can be used on any computer due to the fact that it boots identically to the live cd (with exception to any changes you make via persistence). One downside is that you cannot use a custom xorg.conf; it seems that it is automatically generated for each boot, overwriting the saved version.

    Quote Originally Posted by C.S.Cameron View Post
    No changes are ever made to the operating system itself, you cannot actually make an account on it.
    Not true. As I said, the persistence applies to user and system files. I have configured my bootable image to automatically log into a custom-created account (instead of the default "ubuntu").
    Last edited by psyke83; October 27th, 2008 at 07:42 PM.

  6. #6
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    Re: Make USB Startup Disk - in Ubuntu 8.10

    psyke83,

    What does it do about the /tmp folder? Do you expect considerable wear on your usb drive?

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    Re: Make USB Startup Disk - in Ubuntu 8.10

    Quote Originally Posted by boondocks View Post
    Ok.

    How can I do this?
    • Run Ubuntu off a USB Flash Drive.
    • Create a user account "John" in Ubuntu.
    • Make that user account and any system changes persistent.
    • Carry this USB Flash Drive with me between the 3 PCs that I use regularly.
    • Log in as "John", edit/save documents, etc.
    It depends on the size of your USB drive. If it is 2gb or less, usb-creator will suit your needs perfectly (see my previous post).

    However, if you have enough space, it is possible to do a full install to your drive via the normal ubiquity installer. USB Flash drives are treated no differently than an IDE/SCSI/SATA drive.

    N.B. If you choose the latter, I would be cautious about using swap. Excessive disk writes will wear out your drive.

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    Re: Make USB Startup Disk - in Ubuntu 8.10

    Quote Originally Posted by bpl07 View Post
    psyke83,

    What does it do about the /tmp folder? Do you expect considerable wear on your usb drive?
    I'm not running it at the moment, so I can't check. When I'm running the USB drive I don't observe a lot of disk writes, but there is swap active when checking via "free". I didn't check if the swap is configured as a ramdisk or regular swap, however.

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    Re: Make USB Startup Disk - in Ubuntu 8.10

    By the way, here's a link to a thread on usb-creator in the Dev Link forum.

    http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=927878

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    Re: Make USB Startup Disk - in Ubuntu 8.10

    psyke83,

    Thanks for all this info.

    With respect to this:
    http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=927878
    People seem to be having issues with it.

    Anyway ...
    The persistent mode offered by usb-creator differs from the wiki above, as it can make persistent changes *system-wide*. This means not only that your users files and settings are changed, but also system files. For example, you can install new packages.
    *system-wide* = This is exactly what I need.
    As I said, the persistence applies to user and system files. I have configured my bootable image to automatically log into a custom-created account (instead of the default "ubuntu").
    So I just put in the USB Flash drive.
    Power up the computer.
    Use it just like my current Ubuntu desktop.
    (I understand that the different video hardware will impact xorg.conf every time.)
    Then shutdown the computer.

    Down the road, I would like to:
    • Add some packages that are normally not included in the Desktop version.
    • Configure those packages.
    • Carry the USB Flash drive with me so that I have everything good-to-go.


    Questions:
    1. All the changes that I make, are they automatically taken care of via persistence?
    2. Do I have to do anything extra/specific to ensure the persistence of the changes?
    Last edited by boondocks; October 27th, 2008 at 08:58 PM.

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