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Thread: Howto make USB boot drives

  1. #841
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    Re: Howto make USB boot drives

    mkusb works in focal fossa

    Today I found an Ubuntu Focal Fossa iso file in the iso-tracker, and I could use it to install mkusb from the focal PPA.

    It was a bit clunky, because add-apt-repository was not present. I had to edit the sources.list file and import the relevant gpg key for ppa:mkusb manually for it to work.

    This is what I did:

    - in my working computer I created a persistent live drive from the Ubuntu Focal Fossa iso file.
    - booted the Ubuntu Focal Fossa persistent live system and installed mkusb
    - used mkusb to create another persistent live system (Lubuntu 18.04.1 LTS)
    - tested that the created system (Lubuntu 18.04.1 LTS) works correctly.

    See the attached screenshot.

    Conclusion:

    We can expect mkusb to continue to work, but wait until Focal is more complete (e.g. that add-apt-repository is available) until you test it.
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Last edited by sudodus; 4 Weeks Ago at 07:59 PM.

  2. #842
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    Re: Howto make USB boot drives

    Buggy ext3 file system in persistent live drive made by Rufus

    We are happy that @Akeo has developed Rufus to create persistent live drives using a partition for persistence. It works, and seems to work well with small partitions for persistence.

    However, if you try with bigger USB pendrives, 16 GB, 32 GB etc. there will be increasing problems, at least when created in some Windows 10 computers (updated and upgraded to be up to date 2019-10-23). It is really bad with an SSD of 60 GB.

    I noticed that the ext3 file system is buggy. When running the command

    Code:
    sudo e2fsck -f /dev/sdxn
    where x is the drive letter and n is the partition number for the 'casper-rw' partition for persistence, several errors were found and they could be fixed.

    The symptom in a persistent live drive is that part of the space is occupied, 'lost', and it seems that it increases dramatically with the size of the partition.

    Examples (size of USB drive, the partition for persistence gets what is left, when the system is written)
    Code:
    
    Size  Loss
     GB   GiB
    
      4    0.3
     16    4.6
     60   40    # Yes, 40 GiB are lost in this case !!!
    
    GB decimal, GiB binary (because this is what is shown by most tools)

    Details are shown in the attached screenshots. Please use the file name to identify each screenshot.



    There are three alternatives to fix this problem:

    1. Ask @Akeo to fix the problem. I have started doing that.

    Edit { Link to a bug report }

    2. Repair the ext3 file system with e2fsck. I have tried that and it works, but you need a working linux operating system for it. It does not work when booted into the drive itself, even when booted live-only, because a log directory seems mounted to the partition and it is busy, cannot be unmounted.

    3. Install another tool in Windows, and create a fresh file system in the partition for persistence, to format it (or should we say re-format it). I have tried with AOMEI Partition Assistent Standard Edition (freeware), and it works (better than Rufus).
    Last edited by sudodus; 3 Weeks Ago at 09:10 AM. Reason: minor edit (screenshot --> each screenshot); link to bug report

  3. #843
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    Re: Howto make USB boot drives

    mkusb version 12.3.4

    mkusb 12.3.3
    - dus: p_starter: text mode read command updated
    - dus-persistent: upefi for debian buster
    - dus-wipe: part_info: added partprobe
    mkusb 12.3.4
    - dus-persistent: added delays at 'tweak 3 grub.cfg'

    These are minor tweaks or bug-fixes to make mkusb more robust.



    Unstable 1: You get/update this new version of mkusb from the unstable PPA via the following commands

    Code:
    sudo add-apt-repository universe  # this line only for standard Ubuntu
    
    sudo add-apt-repository ppa:mkusb/unstable
    sudo apt-get update
    sudo apt-get install mkusb mkusb-nox                # to install
    # sudo apt-get dist-upgrade                         # upgrade to current version (with all other upgrades), only for installed systems
    
    sudo apt-get install mkusb guidus dus mkusb-common  # to upgrade all mkusb basic components including dus
    
    sudo apt-get install usb-pack-efi  # for persistent live drives that work in UEFI and BIOS mode with 32-bit iso files
    and you get only the version dus (alone or with guidus) via one of the following commands (if you don't care about mkusb-11, mkusb-nox, mkusb-bas)

    Code:
    sudo apt-get install dus
    sudo apt-get install guidus
    Unstable 2: This new version of mkusb might also be available via this link: mkusb/gui#from_phillw.net.
    Unstable 3: There are tarballs with only dus and guidus (mkusb version 12) as a last alternative.



    Stable: mkusb version 12.3.4 is in the stable PPA. The policy is to test mkusb for a long time and in several environments before it is uploaded to the stable PPA (unless there are minor tweaks or bug-fixes).

    You get/update this version via the following commands

    Code:
    sudo add-apt-repository universe  # this line only for standard Ubuntu
    
    sudo add-apt-repository ppa:mkusb/ppa
    sudo apt-get update
    sudo apt-get install mkusb mkusb-nox                # to install
    # sudo apt-get dist-upgrade                         # upgrade to current version (with all other upgrades), only for installed systems
    sudo apt-get install mkusb guidus dus mkusb-common  # to upgrade all mkusb basic components including dus
    
    sudo apt-get install usb-pack-efi  # for persistent live drives that work in UEFI and BIOS mode with 32-bit iso files
    and you get only the version dus (alone or with guidus) via one of the following commands (if you don't care about mkusb-11, mkusb-nox, mkusb-bas)

    Code:
    sudo apt-get install dus
    sudo apt-get install guidus

  4. #844
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    Re: Howto make USB boot drives

    Do It Yourself method to make a USB boot drive with or without persistence

    The following Ubuntu help page has been debugged and updated,

    help.ubuntu.com/community/Installation/iso2usb/diy

    The main new feature is that there are instructions to use a partition for persistence. This makes it possible to use big USB drives, not only pendrives but also memory cards and SSDs connected via USB adapters, and take advantage of the whole drive [remaining drive space behind the live system] for persistence.

    Another new feature is that there are detailed instructions for Debian 10 live alongside the improved instructions for Ubuntu.

    Please notice that if you need only boot in UEFI mode, you need not use the image file 'grub-do-it-yourself.img.xz', which provides a BIOS bootloader. Then it is enough to use the method that I learned from @oldfred:

    Create a partition with a FAT32 file system on the USB drive and extract the content of the iso file into that partition. If you want a [second] partition for persistence, you should make that [first] partition rather small, only big enough to extract 'everything' from the iso file plus maybe some drive space for transfer of data between Windows and Ubuntu.

  5. #845
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    Re: Howto make USB boot drives

    mkusb version 12.3.5, 12.3.6

    mkusb 12.3.5
    - dus: p_target: warning if target size>sizwarn (128 GB)
    mkusb 12.3.6
    - dus: p_target: red warning if target size >= sizwarn (now 60 GB)

    The normal usage of mkusb is to create a bootable live-only or persistent live system in a USB pendrive, which is usually small compared to drives used for installed operating systems or mass storage of data. But it is also possible for mkusb to write to a big target drive (to make it bootable, to restore it to a storage device and to wipe it).

    There is a new pop up menu warning when trying to write to a drive with size >= 60 GB. This should help the end user avoid overwriting a big drive, when they intend to write to a small USB pendrive or small SSD.

    There is already an old warning when the user tries to write to a drive that is identified by the system as an ATA drive or mmcblk drive: 'not a USB drive'. The new warning is similar (but with different text: the target drive size in GB). One of these warnings or both of them may pop up. See the attached screenshots.



    Unstable 1: You get/update this new version of mkusb from the unstable PPA via the following commands

    Code:
    sudo add-apt-repository universe  # this line only for standard Ubuntu
    
    sudo add-apt-repository ppa:mkusb/unstable
    sudo apt-get update
    sudo apt-get install mkusb mkusb-nox                # to install
    # sudo apt-get dist-upgrade                         # upgrade to current version (with all other upgrades), only for installed systems
    
    sudo apt-get install mkusb guidus dus mkusb-common  # to upgrade all mkusb basic components including dus
    
    sudo apt-get install usb-pack-efi  # for persistent live drives that work in UEFI and BIOS mode with 32-bit iso files
    and you get only the version dus (alone or with guidus) via one of the following commands (if you don't care about mkusb-11, mkusb-nox, mkusb-bas)

    Code:
    sudo apt-get install dus
    sudo apt-get install guidus
    Unstable 2: This new version of mkusb might also be available via this link: mkusb/gui#from_phillw.net.
    Unstable 3: There are tarballs with only dus and guidus (mkusb version 12) as a last alternative.



    Stable: mkusb version 12.3.6 is in the stable PPA. The policy is to test mkusb for a long time and in several environments before it is uploaded to the stable PPA (unless there are minor tweaks or bug-fixes).

    You get/update this version via the following commands

    Code:
    sudo add-apt-repository universe  # this line only for standard Ubuntu
    
    sudo add-apt-repository ppa:mkusb/ppa
    sudo apt-get update
    sudo apt-get install mkusb mkusb-nox                # to install
    # sudo apt-get dist-upgrade                         # upgrade to current version (with all other upgrades), only for installed systems
    sudo apt-get install mkusb guidus dus mkusb-common  # to upgrade all mkusb basic components including dus
    
    sudo apt-get install usb-pack-efi  # for persistent live drives that work in UEFI and BIOS mode with 32-bit iso files
    and you get only the version dus (alone or with guidus) via one of the following commands (if you don't care about mkusb-11, mkusb-nox, mkusb-bas)

    Code:
    sudo apt-get install dus
    sudo apt-get install guidus
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Last edited by sudodus; 2 Weeks Ago at 11:51 AM. Reason: changed the limit for the warning to >= 60 GB

  6. #846
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    Re: Howto make USB boot drives

    The install of unstable via PPA went without a hitch on 18.04 and 19.10. Thanks for this!

  7. #847
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    Re: Howto make USB boot drives

    @uRock,

    Thanks for testing

  8. #848
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    Re: Howto make USB boot drives

    Thanks Sudodus, now that I have finally got some SSDs, I am sure that I will make good use of the extra warning.
    It looks good, but is there a possibility to do it in red?

  9. #849
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    Re: Howto make USB boot drives

    It would be possible, but I try to keep mkusb as independent as possible of special features, so that it can work with many distros and versions, with various versions of zenity and libraries that it uses. I used colour high-lighting with red background in mkusb versions 9-11, but skipped it in mkusb version 12, dus, for this reason.

    Text colour high-lighting should be common enough to be available and working in most linux systems (and is used in the welcome window of dus).

    Code:
    <b><span bgcolor=$logorgb>- Do USB Stuff -</span>
    and
    Code:
    <span fgcolor='#cc0000'>The target device will be completely overwritten</span>
    Please edit the file /usr/bin/dus in the function p_target at or near line number 1744 and when you get something that you think works well, please show it to me, and I can enter it into the official code.

    Maybe

    line number 1744 can be modified to

    Code:
     tell_risk="<span fgcolor='#cc0000'>'$target' drive size = $sizgb GB. $pls_chk</span>"
    Please try and maybe you can improve it for example by adding asterisks or exclamation marks.

    Edit:

    This warning with red text is uploaded to the PPAs now as mkusb - 12.3.6-1ubuntu2

    After testing in ppa:mkusb/unstable

    it is also uploaded to the stable ppa:mkusb/ppa
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Last edited by sudodus; 2 Weeks Ago at 11:59 AM. Reason: mkusb - 12.3.6-1ubuntu2 in the PPAs now

  10. #850
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    Re: Howto make USB boot drives

    sudodus,

    This is continuing our discussion on askubuntu (I couldn't use the same username here).

    > @Matthew, I like your comment in the bug report about errors in the ext3 file system made by Rufus. I wish that we will be able to cooperate with Pete Batard. You mention that Rufus is user friendly, more so than mkusb. I have to agree with that. You are welcome to help improving the user interface of mkusb - You can go deeply into the code (which is simply bash shellscripts, nothing advanced, no compiling). Or you can stay at the design level, suggesting how the user interface should be (and someone else may be able to implement it, maybe I maybe some other person).


    > @Matthew, I have also some other ideas, that can make things much simpler for end users, Please let me know if you are interested and have time to cooperate. In that case you can get a user ID at the Ubuntu Forums, and we can use the message system over there (or some other way of direct communication, maybe even email).
    I can't make a long-term commitment to mkusb, because it is just one stage on my journey to getting a working computer when Windows 7 support ends. However, as I offered to do with Rufus, I would like to give something back to the project, since you have so kindly helped me (both personally and by maintaining the project for everyone).

    I think the way that I can best help is with the documentation. This is actually one of the strongest points of your work, because you are very careful to document everything you do, either in this thread or on the Ubuntu Community Wiki. It could not be easier for someone to get involved on the scripting side. However, it makes sense to use my professional training in textbook design.

    The 'Quick Start Guide' has many good points: the spelling and grammar are adequate, each individual page is clearly designed, and technical jargon is explained. However, I sometimes struggled to understand the relationship between the different slides/pages, as in this example:



    I also did not understand the relationship between mkusb, dus, and guidus until I found the Superuser howto. I think it is important to establish this at the start of the document.

    I would guess that the weak points in the information structure are the natural result of a document that has been revised by someone who already knows the software well.

    If you are able to place an editable version of the Quick Start Guide (ODT, ODP, PPT?) in a place where I can find it (forum attachment, Box, Dropbox?), then perhaps I could edit the document and then send it back to you.

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