LinuxQuestions.org
Register a domain and help support LQ
Go Back   LinuxQuestions.org > Forums > Linux Forums > Linux - General
User Name
Password
Linux - General This Linux forum is for general Linux questions and discussion.
If it is Linux Related and doesn't seem to fit in any other forum then this is the place.

Notices

Reply
 
Search this Thread
Old 02-19-2013, 12:25 PM   #1
newbiesforever
Senior Member
 
Registered: Apr 2006
Location: Glendale, AZ
Distribution: Distro-homeless. Lost.
Posts: 1,868

Rep: Reputation: 62
how reliable are USB installations?


I've given more consideration to trying a USB installation of my distro (or another distro, if mine won't work on a stick for any reason) since the last time I heard someone speak well of USB installations. How well do they work? Are they as reliable as running a distro off the hard drive?

I've never really taken the option of USB installations seriously because I could figure out the obvious--that flash drives surely can't be a substitute for hard drives in most cases.

Last edited by newbiesforever; 02-19-2013 at 12:51 PM.
 
Old 02-19-2013, 01:03 PM   #2
Kustom42
Senior Member
 
Registered: Mar 2012
Distribution: Red Hat
Posts: 1,565

Rep: Reputation: 410Reputation: 410Reputation: 410Reputation: 410Reputation: 410
I have production ESXi systems running off of usb drives. Just make sure it is quality usb drive, they work great now.

Incase anyone is curios as to why ESXi is running on USB, I installed nexenta on the primary drive and am presenting the local storage to the USB ESXi install as a datastore.
 
1 members found this post helpful.
Old 02-19-2013, 03:09 PM   #3
jefro
Guru
 
Registered: Mar 2008
Posts: 11,158

Rep: Reputation: 1365Reputation: 1365Reputation: 1365Reputation: 1365Reputation: 1365Reputation: 1365Reputation: 1365Reputation: 1365Reputation: 1365Reputation: 1365
When you mean usb do you mean flash or external usb hard drives?

I use both a lot but I'd admit that the use is not as heavily tested so expect more issues. The vast majority of bugs that people find are from common normal installs. If a bug happens only on two users with odd installs, it may never get addressed.

Flash drives by their nature are pretty cheap. Even if someone claims they should last so many hours, I think they would fail much more than a common hard drive attached to an internal connection.

Then we get into some bios issues that might be bad.
 
Old 02-19-2013, 05:28 PM   #4
newbiesforever
Senior Member
 
Registered: Apr 2006
Location: Glendale, AZ
Distribution: Distro-homeless. Lost.
Posts: 1,868

Original Poster
Rep: Reputation: 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by jefro View Post
When you mean usb do you mean flash or external usb hard drives?

I use both a lot but I'd admit that the use is not as heavily tested so expect more issues. The vast majority of bugs that people find are from common normal installs. If a bug happens only on two users with odd installs, it may never get addressed.

Flash drives by their nature are pretty cheap. Even if someone claims they should last so many hours, I think they would fail much more than a common hard drive attached to an internal connection.

Then we get into some bios issues that might be bad.
Sorry, I meant USB flash drives. I easily forgot about external USB hard drives, because I've never used one and have no interest. The only reason I'm paying attention to the idea of running a distro off a USB anything is because I've had a great deal of bad luck with internal hard drives recently. USB sticks are so much cheaper.
 
Old 02-19-2013, 08:02 PM   #5
jefro
Guru
 
Registered: Mar 2008
Posts: 11,158

Rep: Reputation: 1365Reputation: 1365Reputation: 1365Reputation: 1365Reputation: 1365Reputation: 1365Reputation: 1365Reputation: 1365Reputation: 1365Reputation: 1365
Like many others, I run usb flash drives for many disto's. I have for years used them. The ones in my use get carried around in my pockets and dropped off the desk and may suffer from esd/rfi and other static issues.

Good thing about a flash drive is they are cheap enough to throw away. Get two and clone your install or make dual installs.

There are a lot of posts on how to help your flash last longer based on limiting writes. Things like cache/swap on disk is avoided and even journaling file systems might be considered. Some people even go so far as to use ram as a mounted file system to use.

Last edited by jefro; 02-20-2013 at 02:56 PM.
 
1 members found this post helpful.
Old 02-19-2013, 09:09 PM   #6
newbiesforever
Senior Member
 
Registered: Apr 2006
Location: Glendale, AZ
Distribution: Distro-homeless. Lost.
Posts: 1,868

Original Poster
Rep: Reputation: 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by jefro View Post
Like many others, I run usb flash drives for many disto's. I have for years used them. The ones in my use get carried around in my pockets and dropped off the desk and may suffer from esd/rfi and other static issues.

Good think about a flash drive is they are cheap enough to throw away. Get two and clone your install or make dual installs.

There are a lot of posts on how to help your flash last longer based on limiting writes. Things like cache/swap on disk is avoided and even journaling file systems might be considered. Some people even go so far as to use ram as a mounted file system to use.
That sounds like an indication that I shouldn't do this without lots of RAM. I have only 2 GB minus video memory.
 
Old 02-20-2013, 02:59 PM   #7
jefro
Guru
 
Registered: Mar 2008
Posts: 11,158

Rep: Reputation: 1365Reputation: 1365Reputation: 1365Reputation: 1365Reputation: 1365Reputation: 1365Reputation: 1365Reputation: 1365Reputation: 1365Reputation: 1365
Depends on the distro and how you wish to use the flash drive.

2g ought to be OK for general stuff without swap. If you do much more on a new bloated distro then watchout.

In my opinion the usb channel gets used pretty hard on a live usb flash. Anything you can do to help it would be a plus. Also a faster flash drive helps.

I have begun to rely on USB 3.0 usb installs more and more. Just now has the support begun in many distro's for this.
 
Old 02-21-2013, 09:00 AM   #8
lleb
Senior Member
 
Registered: Dec 2005
Location: Florida
Distribution: CentOS/Fedora
Posts: 2,497

Rep: Reputation: 442Reputation: 442Reputation: 442Reputation: 442Reputation: 442
you should find the USB install just as reliable as CD or DVD. it all boils down to the quality of the medium.

I find creating the USB bootable device a bit more cumbersome then say creating the CD/DVD, but that is because there is no "working" tool that you can right click burn, or a simple single command to perform that process.

its all good in the end it works and is reliable.

http://fedoraproject.org/wiki/How_to...d_use_Live_USB

http://docs.fedoraproject.org/en-US/...USB_media.html

couple of links for you.
 
Old 02-21-2013, 03:04 PM   #9
jefro
Guru
 
Registered: Mar 2008
Posts: 11,158

Rep: Reputation: 1365Reputation: 1365Reputation: 1365Reputation: 1365Reputation: 1365Reputation: 1365Reputation: 1365Reputation: 1365Reputation: 1365Reputation: 1365
Well, just know that the right way now is to use a traditional drive attached to a drive controller. Any deviation could be more risky.

A live cd/dvd tends to rely on internal ram to cheat the system into thinking it is a real install. It also is usually more tested. We have had live cd's for many many years now. Only in the last few years have we had live usb's either in native installs or pendrivelinux installs.
 
Old 02-23-2013, 01:03 PM   #10
SojolHossain
LQ Newbie
 
Registered: Feb 2013
Posts: 2

Rep: Reputation: Disabled
I think that you can be use your motherboard usb installer.
 
Old 02-25-2013, 05:25 AM   #11
bloody
Member
 
Registered: Feb 2013
Location: Berlin
Distribution: Gentoo, Debian
Posts: 158

Rep: Reputation: 23
I'm running a USB-stick system since 3 years as a means of rescue/diagnosis system in case something goes wrong on one of my machines. Boots fine on every box. Doing multiple system upgrades per month, so far not a single problem with the stick.

The stick is a bit older, but at least it can read at approx. 27 MB/sec. which is okay as long as i don't need to write much. But just booting the desktop, launching a Firefox etc. isn't so annoying. Maybe i really had some luck with that stick because it served me so error-free all the years. Anyhow, if the flash mem is reliable, so is the system.
 
1 members found this post helpful.
Old 02-28-2013, 10:11 AM   #12
newbiesforever
Senior Member
 
Registered: Apr 2006
Location: Glendale, AZ
Distribution: Distro-homeless. Lost.
Posts: 1,868

Original Poster
Rep: Reputation: 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by lleb View Post
you should find the USB install just as reliable as CD or DVD. it all boils down to the quality of the medium.

I find creating the USB bootable device a bit more cumbersome then say creating the CD/DVD, but that is because there is no "working" tool that you can right click burn, or a simple single command to perform that process.

its all good in the end it works and is reliable.

http://fedoraproject.org/wiki/How_to...d_use_Live_USB

http://docs.fedoraproject.org/en-US/...USB_media.html

couple of links for you.
I was just thinking that if the process is more time-consuming and inconvenient than burning a liveCD, it may be particularly useful to remaster the USB installation (if that's possible) after the first time you make it. It could save a lot of time, especially if you have extensively modified the distro after installing it. More generally, remastering programs are great tools and should be standard equipment in every distro.
 
Old 02-28-2013, 10:18 AM   #13
newbiesforever
Senior Member
 
Registered: Apr 2006
Location: Glendale, AZ
Distribution: Distro-homeless. Lost.
Posts: 1,868

Original Poster
Rep: Reputation: 62
I just found a distro called Pendrivelinux that claims to have a "Universal USB Installer." But oddly, the website explicitly says one must use Windows to run it, because the installer is an .exe file. No, thank you, PendriveLinux designer; I'm not installing Windows.

Last edited by newbiesforever; 02-28-2013 at 10:20 AM.
 
Old 02-28-2013, 10:34 AM   #14
Dman58
Member
 
Registered: Nov 2010
Location: The Danger Zone
Distribution: Slackware, Mint, & random selection for VM
Posts: 213

Rep: Reputation: 26
Never used pendrive but I have used unetbootin and it works great. Supports Linux, Mac, & Windows. Give it a try.
 
1 members found this post helpful.
Old 02-28-2013, 03:07 PM   #15
jefro
Guru
 
Registered: Mar 2008
Posts: 11,158

Rep: Reputation: 1365Reputation: 1365Reputation: 1365Reputation: 1365Reputation: 1365Reputation: 1365Reputation: 1365Reputation: 1365Reputation: 1365Reputation: 1365
www.pendrivelinux.com is a great site for new usb linux users who have windows only systems.

There are only a few ways to put linux on a usb.

One is to use tools shown at pendrivelinux. There are tools for both linux and windows shown at that site.

Generally the pendrivelinux ways are not true installs. They take some cd/dvd image and create a fake install to a usb. Many people find they have advantages in size in usb as well as ease of use and install. They are also very safe ways to learn and test.

Second way may be that distro's have easy apps in their live cd/dvds. You boot to the disk and follow onscreen installer to USB. This is not to be confused with the installer to hard drive which I will cover next. A bit more dangerous to the new user.

Booting to almost any new disto will allow you to install to a usb just like it was an internal hard drive. Modern linux for the most part thinks the usb is really a hard drive. You need be very careful when using this way. Some installers might put data on your internal hard drive and make a mess that may take a while to fix if at all. I use this method all the time. I do either use a virtual machine or physically remove power to the internal drives. Even I make mistakes in a hurry. Well worth my time to protect my data at all costs.


Many distro's now are going to what is called an iso but really either a hybrid or usb only image. The image is meant to be used for usb flash drive. You use either their tool or a command called dd or dd for windows or rawrite.

Last edited by jefro; 02-28-2013 at 03:09 PM.
 
  


Reply


Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
do persistent usb installations work well? alaios Linux - Laptop and Netbook 1 05-07-2009 04:34 AM
Cheap but reliable USB GPRS Modem, Any suggestion? ApOgEEs Linux - Hardware 2 12-01-2007 10:01 PM
USB Backup and Restore - Fast and reliable way clpl1980 Fedora 1 02-04-2007 05:36 PM
Are usb flashdrives reliable? have you ever had a bad experience about it? kublador General 3 04-16-2004 04:04 PM
USB support in Linux installations (redhat,mandrake) dustinpn Mandriva 6 02-11-2004 12:26 AM


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 05:01 AM.

Main Menu
My LQ
Write for LQ
LinuxQuestions.org is looking for people interested in writing Editorials, Articles, Reviews, and more. If you'd like to contribute content, let us know.
Main Menu
Syndicate
RSS1  Latest Threads
RSS1  LQ News
Twitter: @linuxquestions
identi.ca: @linuxquestions
Facebook: linuxquestions Google+: linuxquestions
Open Source Consulting | Domain Registration