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Thread: Working USB Install That Works on any Machine

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    West Des Moines, IA
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    140
    Distro
    Ubuntu 12.04 Precise Pangolin

    Working USB Install That Works on any Machine

    Is it possible to have a working USB install that you can carry around with you and plug into any PC and boot into Ubuntu (assuming boot from USB capability). I have a working installation copy on USB, but that's not what I'm talking about. I would like to have a USB with "my" linux on it. I want to be able to install programs ocasionaally to the USB without messing up the host computer. Am I making sense? Can this even be done?

    JC

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
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    Ubuntu 16.04 Xenial Xerus

    Re: Working USB Install That Works on any Machine

    Following is step by step how to install 12.04 on a 8GB flash drive:

    Turn off and unplug the computer. (See note at bottom)
    Remove the side from the case.
    Unplug the power cable from the hard drive.
    Plug the computer back in.
    Insert the flash drive.
    Insert the Live CD.
    Start the computer, the CD should boot.
    Select language
    Select install Ubuntu.
    Select Download updates while installing and Select Install this third-party software.
    Continue
    At "Installation type" select "Something else".
    Continue
    Confirm Device is correct.
    Select "New Partition Table"
    Click Continue on the drop down.
    (Optional partition for use on Windows machine)
    Click "Free space" and "Add".
    Select "Primary".
    Make "New partition size..." about 1000 bytes.
    Location = Beginning.
    "Use as:" = "FAT32 file system", (
    And "Mount point" = /windows.
    Select "OK"
    Click "free space" and then "Add".
    Select "Primary", "New partition size ..." = 4000 to 6000 bytes, Beginning, Ext4, and Mount point = "/" then OK.
    (Optional home partition)
    Click "free space" and then "Add".
    Select "Primary", "New partition size ..." = 1000 to 4000 bytes, Beginning, Ext2, and Mount point = "/home" then OK.
    (Optional swap space, allows hybernation)
    Click "free space" and then "Add".
    Select "Primary", "New partition size ..." = remaining space, (1000 to 2000 bytes, or same size as RAM), Beginning and "Use as" = "swap area" then OK.
    (Important)
    Confirm "Device for boot loader installation" points to the USB drive. Default should be ok if HDD was unplugged.
    Click "Install Now".
    Select your location.
    Continue.
    Select Keyboard layout.
    Continue.
    Insert your name, username, password, computer name and select if you want to log in automatically or require a password.
    Selecting "Encrypt my home folder" is a good option if you are worried about loosing your USB drive.
    Select Continue.
    Wait until install is complete.
    Turn off computer and plug in the HDD.
    Stick the side panel back on.

    Note:
    You may omit disabling the hard drive if after partitioning you choose to install grub to the root of the usb drive you are installing Ubuntu to, (ie sdb not sdb1). Be cautious, many people have overwritten the HDD MBR.
    At boot you will then be given the option to boot your computer's hard drive, even when booting another computer.

  3. #3
    Join Date
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    West Des Moines, IA
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    Distro
    Ubuntu 12.04 Precise Pangolin

    Re: Working USB Install That Works on any Machine

    An excellent response! Just what I'm looking for.
    Thank you so very much.

    JC

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Portland, OR
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    Ubuntu 12.04 Precise Pangolin

    Re: Working USB Install That Works on any Machine

    Jerry,

    I have just such a USB stick I carry in my work bag.

    Not only is it great for demoing Ubuntu to folks at work, I also us it to boot up 'thrashed' windows machines and copy user data to an external USB drive.

    Once the data is rescued, the IT folks then put a fresh copy of Windows on the PC and then the user can restore their documents from their USB drive.

    This means you can be a hero now-and-again. It is a VERY nice feeling.

    The Hedge

    Look at all those flashing lights! I'll take one!

    The Ubuntu Forums - our little Global Village

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    West Des Moines, IA
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    140
    Distro
    Ubuntu 12.04 Precise Pangolin

    Re: Working USB Install That Works on any Machine

    I know that feeling. I have worked with PCs since 1982 and was one of the "PC Guys" in the office with a 175 PC network.

    JC

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
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    12

    Re: Working USB Install That Works on any Machine

    You could just use unetbootin to install to a xxGB stick with persistence. Done and done. You can save settings and permanently install programs.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
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    Hikkaduwa, Sri Lanka
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    Ubuntu 16.04 Xenial Xerus

    Re: Working USB Install That Works on any Machine

    Full installs and Persistent installs both have their advantages.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
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    13

    Just what I was looking for!

    I have a 16GB USB Drive that I have lugging around with a persistent Ubuntu installation on it, and I've been looking for something along the lines the OP was asking about.

    Persistent is cool, but I wanted "mini USB me" to come with me to work!

    Thanks guys, I'll post a reply when I get this sorted!

    *Edit*

    P.S

    As I am using a 16GB, should I make the partitioning as follows?

    2,000

    8,000

    2,000

    4,000

    Respectably?
    Last edited by Khal1d; August 17th, 2012 at 12:04 AM. Reason: Additional information

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    Hikkaduwa, Sri Lanka
    Beans
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    Distro
    Ubuntu 16.04 Xenial Xerus

    Re: Working USB Install That Works on any Machine

    I would make / a little smaller ~6000 and /home a little bigger ~4000.
    You can always adjust the size later using gparted.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Beans
    13

    Re: Working USB Install That Works on any Machine

    Success!

    I needed to fix some dependancies, and things were moving...in batches? (Stop, move, stop, move)

    In the end a sudo apt-get autoclear did the job. Good to go!

    In the end, I didnt stick to my original partitioning (played around with /home and /), but all's well that ends well!

    Currently posting this from the browser on my mini-me! Otherwise known as my little linux on the go!

    Thanks alot everyone! You are

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