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Old 09-17-2010, 09:50 PM   #1
silntdoogood
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Is using a flash drive as an editable hard drive, not just a boot disk possible?


I recently acquired (another) older laptop in need of a hard drive. Lower capacity IDE laptop drives are getting hard to come by from reliable sellers. I'd like to rewire a USB port, and run it into the hard drive slot, running the system off a flash drive rather than a hard drive. I'm running in to the problem I can't find any way to set it up. The system does not support any BIOS options for messing with USB drives. Why it CAN boot off one is beyond be, it's not in the temp boot menu, but when I leave it in, it boots off USB by default. I tried loading Ubuntu, and I have tried copying the files off of a setup hard drive to the flash drive, but I have yet to be successful.

Is it even possible to run a linux off a flash drive so I can keep a desktop environment, rather than having it reset to the default ISO state every time I reboot?
 
Old 09-17-2010, 10:02 PM   #2
SalmonEater
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Just leave it plugged in when partitioning (i.e. with gparted) and it will "think" it is a hard drive, if this is what you want to do.

Also, you may wish to look at http://ultilex.linux-bg.org/ for some ideas.
 
Old 09-17-2010, 10:30 PM   #3
silntdoogood
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SalmonEater View Post
Also, you may wish to look at http://ultilex.linux-bg.org/ for some ideas.
ULTILEX looks like exactly what I was digging for, and if it's not, I'm still going to spend a few hours messing with it.
Thanks!

Edit:
Is there something I am missing to get it to keep files and changes? Do I have to set up an online Slax drive to do so? If so, it's going to be kind of counter productive running this as I have no wifi on this old system and a functioning but broken Ethernet port. I do like the look of this distro though...

Last edited by silntdoogood; 09-17-2010 at 11:27 PM.
 
Old 09-18-2010, 08:56 AM   #4
hughetorrance
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You can use Plop to manage unsupported USB ... and you can use unetbootin found on the Parted magic live CD to install on your USB drive a persistent distro,i.e. thats a Linux operating system that keeps the changes you make. !Puppy linux is persistent as is many others including Dreamlinux.
 
Old 09-18-2010, 09:46 AM   #5
SalmonEater
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hughetorrance's suggestions are good. Simplest thing is to use Puppy and save to the USB flashdrive you've partitioned (i.e. one to copy OS directories to, another for your storage of files)
 
Old 09-18-2010, 09:58 AM   #6
TheIndependentAquarius
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SalmonEater View Post
Just leave it plugged in when partitioning (i.e. with gparted) and it will "think" it is a hard drive, if this is what you want to do.
Does this mean I'll be able to boot from it and at the same time treat it as a harddisk, each time I plug it in [after following your method of gparted] ?
 
Old 09-18-2010, 10:02 AM   #7
SalmonEater
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No, it doesn't. That is why the caveat ". . . if this is what you want to do."
 
Old 09-18-2010, 10:14 AM   #8
TobiSGD
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There a adapters available from IDE to CF-cards, maybe this is a better way to do it.
 
Old 09-18-2010, 10:23 AM   #9
michaelk
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What is the make/ model of your laptop?
There are live versions that run from a flash drive that can save data. http://www.pendrivelinux.com/
You can install a regular distribution to a flash drive if desired. The life of the drive may be reduced and it may run a bit slower.

Quote:
I'd like to rewire a USB port, and run it into the hard drive slot, running the system off a flash drive rather than a hard drive.
No, but you could replace your existing drive with a solid state drive. A bit more expensive then a USB flash drive but it is already rewired for you.
 
Old 09-18-2010, 02:13 PM   #10
TheIndependentAquarius
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Quote:
Originally Posted by michaelk View Post
The life of the drive may be reduced
That statement is frightening ! Now I think it is better for me to purchase a portable harddisk rather than a USB stick. By the way, how is USB life related to making it bootable ?
 
Old 09-18-2010, 02:42 PM   #11
michaelk
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They are not related but flash drives have a limited number or erase/write cycles and under normal use can last for many many years. However, journaling and swap if used will affect a flash drives life.
 
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Old 09-18-2010, 03:00 PM   #12
TheIndependentAquarius
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Michael,

Many thanks to you for the informative reply !
 
Old 09-18-2010, 05:53 PM   #13
SalmonEater
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09/17/10 @ 09:30 PM #3
silntdoogood said,

" . . . I have no wifi on this old system and a functioning but broken Ethernet port. I do like the look of this distro though..."

For USB to ethernet converter, see
http://www.monoprice.com/products/sub...03&cp_id=10311

Flash drives are cheap -- http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16820183269

Ultilex is one thing, stick with it for now --
Best wishes!
 
Old 09-18-2010, 10:54 PM   #14
silntdoogood
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SalmonEater View Post
...use Puppy and save to the USB flashdrive you've partitioned (i.e. one to copy OS directories to, another for your storage of files)
I want to avoid partitioning the drive for storage & OS because I will continually be file hunting and messing with settings. Some stuff I want on my desktop, some I want off form the default ISO.
 
Old 09-18-2010, 10:56 PM   #15
silntdoogood
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TobiSGD View Post
There a adapters available from IDE to CF-cards, maybe this is a better way to do it.
It probably is, i was just looking at doing it this way because I have all these parts on hand right now, and I wouldn't have to put any money into the project to get it 'working'. I know it could be better, but I'm just looking for tolerable functionality.
 
  


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