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Thread: HowTo: uNetbootin and Ubuntu persistent install - EASY!

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Ubuntu 12.04 Precise Pangolin

    HowTo: uNetbootin and Ubuntu persistent install - EASY!

    I've been using Ubuntu and Lubuntu for a few years now and have very little formal technical training, but I finally feel like I might be able to contribute to the community. This method worked like a charm for me, and I don't think it's too technical. I'm assuming this works using uNetbootin on Windows, though I did this through Ubuntu and Lubuntu 12.04 to create a working Persistent install. Hope this helps someone!

    Format to FAT/FAT32 with Disk Utility, Gparted, or similar. My procedure was to use Disk Utility to format my drive MBR, then format it to FAT.

    STEP 1
    Download 'buntu distro iso
    Install uNetbootin
    Open uNetbootin with Ubuntu iso. Set 'space across reboots' at minimum of 128 (to be resized later).
    Reboot to check that all is well and the USB drive runs a live session

    STEP 2
    Using Gparted, shrink partition. The installed iso should be 800-900mb. I'm using a 16GB usb 3.0 drive (3.0 is faster, so it is a better option for a persistent install), so I resized my partition to 4GB, knowing that I would resize my casper-rw file within that space. From what I understand, once the iso partition is shrunk, you can always replace it with a different iso.

    Using Gparted, I created a 1GB Linux Swap partition. The remaining space I formatted to fat32, both as external storage and to still use this usb as a flash drive. I had roughly 10GB left.

    STEP 3
    information based on this link:

    Followed procedure listed by Sudodus to make sure everything was behaving correctly. Make sure the disk is mounted.

    sudo fdisk -lu
    sudo blkid
    With USB mounted, navigated in the iso to syslinux.cfg (opened, edited, and saved it with Gedit, but any text editor will do). I changed the label from Default to Ubuntu 12.04 LTS *persistent* and saw that that “quiet splash—persistent part was already set, thanks to uNetbootin.

    default menu.c32
    prompt 0
    menu title UNetbootin
    timeout 100
    label unetbootindefault
    menu label Boot into Ubuntu 12.04 LTS *persistent*
    kernel /ubnkern
    append initrd=/ubninit file=/cdrom/preseed/ubuntu.seed boot=casper quiet splash -- persistent
    label ubnentry0
    menu label ^Help
    kernel /ubnkern
    append initrd=/ubninit  persistent
    label ubnentry1
    menu label ^Try Ubuntu without installing
    kernel /casper/vmlinuz
    append initrd=/casper/initrd.lz file=/cdrom/preseed/ubuntu.seed boot=casper  quiet splash -- persistent
    label ubnentry2
    menu label ^Install Ubuntu
    kernel /casper/vmlinuz
    append initrd=/casper/initrd.lz file=/cdrom/preseed/ubuntu.seed boot=casper only-ubiquity  quiet splash -- persistent

    STEP 4
    information based on this link:

    Followed instructions for Resize an existing casper-rw loop file, seen below. I'll go ahead and say that I set my size to ____, which combined with the actual iso was almost a perfect fit in my 4GB partition (the one that I shrank). Remember that I set 'space across reboots' at 128mb. 8Also, be patient because the two commands below may take a few minutes:

    The following method will allow you to resize your existing casper-rw image(expand casper-rw). You should create a backup just in case before proceeding.

    1. After you're up and running in Linux, insert the flash drive that contains your casper-rw loop file
    2. Open a terminal and change directory (CD) to the location of your casper-rw file
    3. Type the following into the terminal window and press enter
      dd if=/dev/zero bs=1M count=1024 >> casper-rw
      (replacing 1024 with the size in MB you wish to increase the original size by)
    4. Type the following into the terminal window and press enter
      resize2fs casper-rw

    If all goes well, you should now have a larger casper-rw loop file to use for saving your persistent changes.

    I want to use my new live system on desktops primarily, but I also use it on my Acer D250 netbook, which requires an updated wireless driver anytime I install a new system. This is my second run through of the procedure, just to make sure that I can successfully repeat the results. I did find out that once I got my wireless up and running all was fine.....then I slipped my usb into a school computer and booted up my system, installed some software, updated and upgraded. The last step required a restart, and when I did I could not longer access wireless. It may be because I hit Restart during my live session on the school computer and when it shutdown I pulled out my usb, THEN opened it again on my Acer. I still don't completely understand what I did, but it gave me a reason to repeat the process. Also, my research into this mentioned that the casper-rw file will eventually get irreversibly full, so it doesn't truly behave like a standard installation.

    If anyone has any questions about anything covered above, or any insight into what I actually did, I'm happy to hear it!
    Last edited by motocollage; May 10th, 2014 at 09:48 PM. Reason: update


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