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Old 01-14-2013, 04:37 PM   #1
rip
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Linux distro on flash drive, keep /home across reboots


Normally I would research things like this myself, but I was asked to help a family member set this up *tonight*, so I am hoping for a quick answer. I am not a noob, but I have not kept up on this particular subject. The 'similar threads' assistant showed a few hits but they were pretty old.

I need to install Linux to a usb flash drive and have the ability to keep/create files in the /home directory across reboots and possibly using it on multiple systems.

Most that I have tried (pclinuxos, xubunt...) act like 'live' distros, meaning that any files created are not kept across reboots.

So, in a nutshell, I need a distro that can run from a flash drive and has the ability to keep files on it.
 
Old 01-14-2013, 04:45 PM   #2
suicidaleggroll
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Many distros have an option to make the live install "persistent" so that modifications are retained between reboots. I typically use LiLi (Linux Live USB Creator) or Universal USB Installer to make my live USBs, either of which will give you the option if it's available.

I know knoppix is one of the distros with this option, but there are many others as well.

Last edited by suicidaleggroll; 01-14-2013 at 04:46 PM.
 
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Old 01-14-2013, 04:46 PM   #3
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Is there another old system you have available you could throw CentOS or something on and make it a NAS for your home directories?
 
Old 01-14-2013, 05:01 PM   #4
rip
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Kustom,
Thanks for the fast reply.

This flash drive will be used by a family member who does not reside in my house. I am trying to get him interested in Linux, so the fact that I was asked to do this is a good thing. He wants to try Linux on his windoze PC and possible at another locatipn or two, so a NAS is out.
 
Old 01-14-2013, 05:02 PM   #5
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Most distros, if you run the regular installer (not some kind of USB installer like Unetbootin) you can just do a "full" install to the USB drive. Be careful about things like installing GRUB to the USB drive (and NOT the MBR of your internal hard drive!)---if you are in doubt about how to do this, the safest option is to temporarily disconnect the hard drive.

User C.S. Cameron has some excellent tutorials how to do this over on UbuntuForums.org.
 
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Old 01-14-2013, 05:04 PM   #6
rip
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Mr eggroll,
thank you too for the fast reply.

Any distro names? I am on short notice for this otherwise I would try out a few to see which ones would do the trick. (I used to distro hop a lot, loved trying out new things, just short on time today.)
 
Old 01-14-2013, 05:17 PM   #7
suicidaleggroll
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I know that Knoppix gives you the option for persistent storage, so you can start with that if you're pressed for time.
 
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Old 01-14-2013, 05:25 PM   #8
yancek
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I would concur with the suggestion by snowpine above to just do a regular install to the flash drive just as you would to a regular hard drive. The distribution of choice and size of the flash would need to be taken into consideration as most of the current full distros require 4-5GB when installed.
 
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Old 01-14-2013, 05:33 PM   #9
suicidaleggroll
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Having never played with that before, how well would a regular install cope with the variability of a portable distro? Every time it boots up it could have a different sound card, different video card, different monitor with a different resolution, different ethernet and wifi cards, etc.

Live installs are designed to handle this variability in stride, nothing particular to the computer is written to the drive, everything is loaded on the fly as needed. AFAIK a regular install tends to tailor the installation for the hardware it's running on, which could change every time the distro boots up.
 
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Old 01-14-2013, 05:41 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by suicidaleggroll View Post
Having never played with that before, how well would a regular install cope with the variability of a portable distro? Every time it boots up it could have a different sound card, different video card, different monitor with a different resolution, different ethernet and wifi cards, etc.

Live installs are designed to handle this variability in stride, nothing particular to the computer is written to the drive, everything is loaded on the fly as needed. AFAIK a regular install tends to tailor the installation for the hardware it's running on, which could change every time the distro boots up.
Most distros auto-detect hardware each time they are booted. Therefore you can transfer the drive from one computer to another and not have any problems.

The main exception would be certain hardware drivers you install (such as non-free graphics drivers for your video card). These might cause problems if you try to use them on computers without that hardware.
 
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Old 01-14-2013, 06:30 PM   #11
rip
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Quote:
Originally Posted by snowpine View Post
Most distros, if you run the regular installer (not some kind of USB installer like Unetbootin) you can just do a "full" install to the USB drive.
That seems pretty obvious, why didn't I think of that?

As I said in the orig post, "... I have not kept up on this particular subject ...."

I'm gonna give it a try just to see what happens using my pclinuxos 2012 cd.
 
  


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