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Thread: USB drive

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  1. #1
    Just Joined!
    Join Date
    Oct 2004

    USB drive

    I have seen this question elsewhere but cannot find it.

    However I am currently running Windows OS I have very little knowledge of Linux, but have a 1gig USB key i would like to install a linux distro on I have seen various pages on this but it appears that you need to be running linux to do this in the first instance.

    I do not want to walk around with a CD and a USB just the usb key.

    I have ebven tried puppy linux installed the ISO onto a CD then copied it accross to my USB drive but that was no go although it looks for the drive on boot up and is bootable.

    The only one i seen that looks quite good is Flonix USB Edition 1.0 but this is a buy it with a usb drive.

    Any help at all.

    Even if someoen has managed to do this on a USB drive would it be possible for them to zip it up and then post it onto a web site so other users could see it , I knwo a lot of other people have been trying with little or no success.

  2. #2
    Linux Guru
    Join Date
    May 2004
    I'm not sure I understand your problem, but since no one else has made a go of it....

    I think you are saying that you want to walk up to any given computer, plug in your usb key, and boot to the Linux OS on the key. Problem with this is that no computer that I know of can boot to the usb. That would be set by the BIOS and would not be changeable by mortals' means. It might be do-able with a floppy, although I doubt with just one: you can easily boot to GRUB with a floppy, but you need (I think) a driver for the usb, and for the driver, you need an OS. But your OS is on the other side of the usb.

    I'm pretty sure that for you to use the OS on your key, you either will need to boot with a live CD, or with multiple floppies, or with a minimal Linux installation on the target computer.
    //got nothin'
    ///this use to look better

  3. #3
    drakebasher is right. your best bet is Flonix, but you could always give Damn Small Linux a try (

    or wait a few years till more motherboards start supporting booting from a usb pen drive....

  4. $spacer_open
  5. #4
    Just Joined!
    Join Date
    Oct 2004


    Yes you are right in was I am looking for and thanks for your response.

    However I must disagree with the USB bootable mother board, as I have a very basic motherboard a PcChips M848ALU and another base unit that is only a 350mhz processor in it so is a bit older but do not know the make or model of it, but it does boot up from the USB drive.

    I have tried it with windows installed win 95 onto a hard drive and then copied an image accross to the USB removed the HDD and then booted up with the USB drive .

    It does boot up but obviously the OS was looking for the c: drive when it started loading but it would boot from the usb drive.

    I also tried with Linux got so far and the system did not recognite the file format.

    However I have seen a site that tells you how to do it but all double dutch to me as only been using linux for about 2 months and all the instructions on how to do this are if you are doign this from Linux not from Windows.

    However I have got to laugh about the other forums I have seen talking about this subject with users using top of the range Intel and Asus motherboards these do not have this option at all, where I bought this motherboard for 20 brand new from a shop .

    All that said it would be nice to get it working as most of the places I plan to use it , woudl be the same places I have built computers for already that all have USB Support;

  6. #5
    Linux Guru kkubasik's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Lat: 39:03:51N Lon: 77:14:37W
    The actual building of the bootable USB is not impossible, basicaly, you need to get a cd image for a bootable distro onto the usbkey. But what drakebasher was saying, any machine that you would be just walking on up to, you probably wouldn't have the ability to mess with the BIOS to configure it to boot from usb, I know that many mobo's are supporting that now. Just by default, the boot sequence is floppy-->Network-->CD-->hd or some variation. But generaly the usb bootable function is not on. I don't know how proficent you are with Linux, or computers in general, but you seem to have a solid understanding. One of the lovely things about open source is that, you can see exactly how and what someone did. I know that several companies offer bootable usb keys, (Mandrake is one) you could try to see what they did. Most likely its just a chainloader or sumsuch that points to grub (lilo is to dependent on the fs) and grub then loads the autoconfig script, then passes those paramaters to the kernel for boot.
    Avoid the Gates of Hell. Use Linux
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    Formerly Known as qub333

  7. #6
    FLonix now have a downloadable Usb version (i-USB) that fits on just a 32mb usb pen drive.

    You can also add firefox and open office if you have a 64mb version.


  8. #7

    USB Booting.

    If I make a bootable Linux on a USB drive, can I install apps to the drive and run them????

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