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Hey all. I got a fun little project I got going and wanted to share and get some input It started with my old 512mb thumb drive going out. I ...
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  1. #1
    Just Joined! TheAlmightyOS's Avatar
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    New Project: The Ultimate Thumb Drive


    Hey all. I got a fun little project I got going and wanted to share and get some input

    It started with my old 512mb thumb drive going out. I got the sucker almost 7 years ago so I was expecting it. Needed another one so I checked out sales on amazon and found a decent thumb drive....16 FREAKING GIGS These things snuck up on me. I think I paid three times as much when I bought the 512mb.

    Now my 512 held DSL, a few windows diagnostic apps and important files. All I needed. But what could I do with 16Gigs? Well I started checking out portable applications. Then I went to town with diagnostic tools and linux distros from USB. I got an idea to create a USB that could boot some of the most used diagnostic tools I use, thus removing the need for a slow and easily scratched CD: Gparted, Avira, DSL (or other small variant) and UBCD. Thinking I could put all those on a lilo or grub bootloader and select whichever I need for the job. Hell, I would STILL have space left on the drive (thinking about 7-8 gigs worth) for storage.

    Now I have never done anything like this before so I am doing my research now. I got LiLi (LinuxLive) USB Creator installed on my gaming rig and that gets the image on the drive but I can not use it to put multiple images on the drive. I am sure google will provide.

    Well, that's the plan. Feel free to throw in your two cents or call me an idiot (I get that too).

  2. #2
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    Yep, I grabbed a 16G thumb drive for $10 (on sale) at the local drug store yesterday. These chips are awesome. I paid $30 for a 1G a few years ago.

    Anyway, I still have to stuff the thing full of crap and test it to make sure it doesn't have bad sectors/whatever, re-format a couple times, re-partition, etc. Beat the crap out of it and make sure I can trust it to carry data properly.

    What to do with it? Cram 3 DVDs on it? Sure. Big deal. But then it's gotta be VFAT so other OSes can read it.

    I personally love the idea of having my entire full-blown OS on it, and being able to hijack any PC box (XP/Vista/et al) with USB boot to do my bidding in a civil manner without lugging around a case of scratch-prone CDs/DVDs. Use the Winbox as a slave and write to my own partitions.

    Yank the thing out and go home. No harm done. I'll be trying the idea out this weekend.

  3. #3
    Just Joined! TheAlmightyOS's Avatar
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    I did some googling last night and found this: xboot (WARNING: WINDOZE SOFTWARE!!!)

    I loaded my thumb drive with a bunch of utilities and tried it out. So far everything works except fedora. That one does not want to load up EDIT>>Nevermind, that's what I get for testing it on that ****** laptop. Fedora works just fine

    Wonder if here is a linux alt for this software?

    Also, why doesn't [S]Strikethough[/S] work on this forum?
    Last edited by TheAlmightyOS; 11-30-2012 at 12:23 AM.

  4. #4
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    Cheap 16G USB stick with bootable linux - update

    I'll post here to see if anyone is still following this thread:

    OK. I did it. My $10 16G thumbdrive boots, but...

    Here's the issue:

    My lilo.conf says to boot from sda1. That's all fine _IF_ the drive is actually sda1 which it is on the box I created it with. I want it to boot off any box with USB boot.

    On a different box it comes up as sdb1 because it has a SATA drive so I get "Kernel Panic try passing init= blah blah blah".

    And on my own laptop it shows up as sdc1 or sdd1 depending on how much crap I have plugged into the hub.

    Anyone know how to do this manually without using syslinux/automagic? I like to do things manually so I learn. I've been googling around to no real avail. I've now tried many different permutations of lilo.conf on the stick. UUIDs, LABELs, etc. chroot/lilo -v works fine, no complaints. Maybe it's a initrd issue?

    Errors:
    Code:
    ...
    Red Hat nash version 3.5.10-mdk starting
    Loading jbd.ko module
    Loading ext3.ko module
    Mounting /proc filesystem
    Creating device files
    Mounting sysfs
    Creating root device
    Mounting root device with flags noatime
    mount: error 6 mounting ext3 flags noatime
    well, retrying without the option flags
    mount: error 6 mounting ext3
    well, retrying read-only without any flag
    mount: error 6 mounting ext3
    pivotroot: pivot_root(/sysroot./sysroot/initrd) failed: 2
    Remounting devfs at correct place if necessary
    Mounting devfs on /dev
    Freeing unused kernel memory: 272k freed
    Kernel panic: no init found. Try passing init= option to kernel.
     _
    I'm pretty sure it's trying to access the wrong disk.

    lilo.conf snippet:
    Code:
    boot=/dev/sda
    map=/boot/map
    default="linux"
    keytable=/boot/us.klt
    prompt
    nowarn
    timeout=100
    message=/boot/message
    menu-scheme=wb:bw:wb:bw
    #disk=/dev/sda bios=0x80
    #disk=/dev/hda bios=0x81
    image=/boot/vmlinuz
            label="linux"
            initrd=/boot/initrd.img
            append="root=UUID=e64a3e60-3b3e-11e2-98fb-92d1aa445965 devfs=mount acpi=ht splash=silent"
            vga=788
            read-only
    I guess this is a nice tribute to my linux installs that I haven't had to mess with lilo.conf in about 7 years.

    Has anyone pulled this off with a regular install cd? (Mandrake10 in my case, all my boxes are kinda old) It sure looks like it wants to work.

  5. #5
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    Cool Easy way out

    Easy way out ....www(period)pendrivelinux(period)com]
    Boot and run Linux from a USB flash memory stick | USB Pen Drive Linux[/url]

  6. #6
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    Yeah. I checked that site out already. It's all MSWindows exe's. Seems like a funny way to get linux going. I think I'll use my shovel and sledgehammer instead

  7. #7
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    Cheap USB stick may have bad MBR and other issues...

    Well, after multiple runs of lilo -v and some tweaking of initrd to load the usb modules properly, all of a sudden the USB stick wants to mount read-only, and when I try to boot it I get

    L 9A 9A 9A...

    Well, I know damn well what that means. It means lilo can't find anything. fsck is reporting illegal blocks and spewing all kinds of nasty stuff to the point I have to use the -y switch to clear it all. In the time it took me to write this post, fsck is still barfing errors, and now it decided to restart from the beginning. Whoops, now it's starting over again.

    ********** WARNING: Filesystem still has errors **********

    Ah, lovely. Lucky I don't have anything valuable on it. Now it's gone from ext3 to ext2. WTF? How does that happen?

    Ooh, this is really ugly. lost+found is loaded. Ugh.

    BTW, it's a JetFlash Transcend 16G, black case with green slider button, TS16GJF500, in case you want to avoid them. Maybe they go on sale in your neighborhood too. I hope I can find the receipt...

  8. #8
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    Cool Maybe !!!

    Seems like you'll have to fdisk it. Delete all the partitions and create new ones (or one). !!!Make sure (absolutely sure) that you are working in the right drive when using fdisk. This is a very unforgiving application, one wrong move and K-boom!!!!

    Of course (not a user of windoze often but), there is a utility for Windows that does this for you called "USBformat", formally known as HP format utility or something like that.

    As per Grub ideas, I did a google search for "multiboot usb linux with grub" and came up with several alternative choices for Linux.
    I did experiment with grub 1 several years back and had Puppy Linux, Ubuntu, Mandriva, Windoze (95, Xp) as well a several now defunct projects booting from the same Sandisk usb thumb drive. 8 Gigs drives were expensive then, but my wife bought it for me as a present. The least she could do after conning me into letting her mom stay for several months (lost my favourite chair and big screen TV for those months).

    Of course, reading the grub 1 manual and forum posts helped a lot.

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