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  1. #1

    Looking for a Linux Distro to install on a 4GB usb stick


    I am looking for a linux distro that i can install on my 4GB (3,71GB) USB stick. I also would like to install AMD Drivers for my AMD Radeon HD7750 in the distro. It's only for watching movies and youtube and browsing the internet.

    Thanks in advance

  2. #2
    Super Moderator Roxoff's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Nottingham, England
    If you have a Live CD version in .iso format of your favourite Linux flavour, you can add it to your USB stick with the Fedora Live USB creator which isn't just tied to Fedora. There's even a version that runs from Windwos. It takes the sting out of creating an overlay filesystem so your Live USB can maintain its state.

    There are also several Linux distributions that are designed to run from a memory stick - Slax springs to mind, and its one I've used before - but it would appear that you have many options.

    If it were me, I'd be using my favourite distro on the USB stick built from the Llive CD.
    Linux user #126863 - see

  3. #3
    Linux Guru
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Tucson AZ
    Slax would be a good choice. Last time I used it, it was a little over 200MB. Check the link below for how to install to a flash drive.

    Slax: documentation install slax

    You could also install a Live CD with persistence using a program like unetbootin. Should work with most Ubuntu derivatives, possibly others.

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  5. #4
    I used slax but it freezes all the time with firefox... And i liked Ubuntu but it need 4,6 GB to install and i have only 4 GB stick.

    Fedora is just for LiveCD's but i need a distro to full install it On a USB drive, so i can install drivers for my GPU.

  6. #5
    Linux User IsaacKuo's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Baton Rouge, LA, USA
    I can say that a full desktop install of Debian takes a bit more than 4GB of space, which is why I like to install onto an 8GB thumbdrive (very useful for cheap used eBay laptops with no hard drive).

    That said, I've made usable Debian desktop installs fit into well under 512megs of hard drive space. You just need to start with a minimal install and then use apt-get to only install the software you want. Using "apt-get install localepurge" is also a great way to save disk space it removes all documentation/localization data except for the desired language(s). Remember to use apt-get clean to remove .deb install files from the cache.

    For your purposes, I'd do a minimal install (possibly with laptop utilities, depending on your purposes), and then do:

    1) Log in as root

    2) nano /etc/apt/sources.list

    3) Use nano to add " contrib non-free" to each line, and also add the following line:

    deb Deb Multimedia Packages::Home wheezy main non-free

    This step adds non-free software to your repositories, which is suitable for maximum compatibility with Flash using websites and various video formats (assuming you're trying to watch DVDs or downloaded video/audio files).

    4) Exit out of nano with ctrl-X, Y, to save changes

    5) apt-get update

    (don't worry about the warning about deb-multimedia)

    6) apt-get upgrade

    7) install various software with:

    apt-get install gdm xfce4 chromium-browser flashplugin-nonfree gnome-mplayer w32codecs libdvdcss2 firmware-linux-nonfree localepurge

    This will install the chromium web browser, flash plugin, and various other stuff. If you installed the amd64 version of Debian instead of the x86 (32bit) version, replace "w32codecs" with "w64codecs".

    8 ) apt-get clean

    The result will easily fit in 4GB.

    Now, in my experience the default GRUB bootloader will usually work but there was one USB thumbdrive where it didn't work. The Debian installer informed me of the failure and gave me the option to install LILO instead. The result works, but it's not as robust. Due to the way hard drives are named, this LILO loader will fail if there is a hard drive in the system (it will get named sda instead of the USB thumbdrive). The default GRUB bootloader boots via partition GUID, so it'll work regardless of whether the system has other hard drives.
    Isaac Kuo, ICQ 29055726 or Yahoo mechdan

  7. #6
    Linux Guru
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Tucson AZ
    And i liked Ubuntu but it need 4,6 GB to install and i have only 4 GB stick.
    That's what the persistence is for. If you install to a flash drive with unetbootin or the Ubuntu software (usb-creator), you can add software and keep it on reboot including your drivers. An Ubuntu iso (Live CD) is only about 700MB. If you want a full install, you might be able to get it with Lubuntu or Anti-X.

  8. #7
    okay thanks for the answers, i found an 8 GB stick!!!!!!!!!
    so another question, how can i install a full distro(not livecd) on usb within windows? Like Ubuntu. i know wubi but it works only with Hard Drives for me.

    thanks in advance.

  9. #8
    Linux Guru
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Tucson AZ
    Wubi stands for Windows Ubuntu Installer. It installs Ubuntu inside a windows operating system as a program similar to a virtual machine installation.
    Download the Ubuntu iso file. Use your burning software to burn the iso to a CD as an image so that it will be bootable. Put the CD in the drive and reboot after setting the BIOS to boot from the CD and proceed with the installation. Make sure you get the right partition so you don't overwrite windows.

    how can i install a full distro(not livecd) on usb within windows
    I don't think that can be done and don't know why you would want to. Do you not have a CD drive or any CDs? You could use unetbootin or pendrivelinux to put Ubuntu on your 4GB flash and boot that and install to the 8GB.

  10. #9
    I don't know if that's possible but the livecd with persistence is your best bet

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