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Old 08-25-2012, 10:32 AM   #1
jimwg
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Partitioning a USB Flash Drive For Full Mint 13 Install


Greetings!

This blog has proved very helpful background for me of late, and perhaps you can assist me! With Mint maven assistance, I've been successful installing and running Mint 9 on a 8gig flash (not "live" or persistent, but a full install) and runs superbly -- with one caveat; when Mint updates it bloats the drive! From an initial 1.8 gigs free it's down to 320megs with space warnings. I decided to backup my Mint 9 home folder so I can fully install Mint 13 on my flash for max drive space over mere space hungry live/persistent as with 9 before, and I got as far as the live CD's partitions creator when I got stuck! I lost my touch from how I installed Mint 9 a while ago in exactly how to use 13's partitioner screen to set-up the partitions and in what sized segments as /boot, /home and swat if needed at all. I wish there was a kind of script that looks at your USB flash and auto figures out a way to set up appropriate optimum partitions and lets you move on to installing. If at all possible, can anyone recommend me what partitions and the type and sizes of each to set up for my 8gig flash so I don't have to spend weeks of trial and error at this again like with Mint 9, especially as at 81 I don't really have that much time left to fiddle with!

Any assist will of course be greatly appreciated.
Thank you!

Jim in NYC
 
Old 08-25-2012, 11:09 AM   #2
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I would be tempted to leave it as one partition and make sure you back up your data. My EEEPC has an 8GB root drive and that currently has 5.4GB on it, that's with XFCE on Debian Sid. From experience I'd not want a root partition any smaller than 5GB but would prefer up to 8GB to be sure. I would do without swap entirely if at all possible, or try without and if problems occur create a swap file instead.
This way you get to use all the space on the drive without shifting things between partitions, with the only downside being your home is not a separate partition so reinstall of the OS will wipe home also.
This is only from experience of playing, I'm certainly no expert.
 
Old 08-25-2012, 12:08 PM   #3
jimwg
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Originally Posted by 273 View Post
I would be tempted to leave it as one partition and make sure you back up your data. My EEEPC has an 8GB root drive and that currently has 5.4GB on it, that's with XFCE on Debian Sid. From experience I'd not want a root partition any smaller than 5GB but would prefer up to 8GB to be sure. I would do without swap entirely if at all possible, or try without and if problems occur create a swap file instead.
This way you get to use all the space on the drive without shifting things between partitions, with the only downside being your home is not a separate partition so reinstall of the OS will wipe home also.
This is only from experience of playing, I'm certainly no expert.
Thanks for the swift reply!

I'd be happy to do away with /home or any other partition if it makes things simpler and aren't necessary! One of the things hamstringing me in using Maya's partitioner is when I set up 2gigs for "/", 2gigs for /boot, and 2gigs for swap, I get alerts like; "Some of the partitions you created are too small. At least make the following this large: /boot 0TB0.

I have no idea what this means, but it still happens even if I set up /boot as 6gigs!

Jim in NYC
 
Old 08-25-2012, 12:15 PM   #4
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If you're just installing on a USB stick I see no reason at all to have /boot. I know there are situations where a /boot is a good idea but I can't see how this is one of them.
I have read (on the Fedora USB Install instructions I think) that some PCs have trouble if you have more than one partition on a USB stick also. To me 2GB sounds tiny for / and I'm surprised you can install on that -- you must be being very careful.
Sorry, to clarify: unless you have a specific reason to create more than one partition I would suggest you don't as it's likely to cause problems or waste space.
 
Old 08-25-2012, 01:25 PM   #5
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I have made these type of flash installs for a while. I tend to use only / partition and no swap file or a very small swap like 200M.

The updates should have cleaned up when finished.

I have thought about compression and even used btrfs as a test. The live cd has compression so that makes the usb installers look a bit better for size.

The answer really is to just buy a 16g drive. Darn things are so cheap it kind of makes no sense to try compression. Compression would tend to be faster in most computers.
 
Old 08-25-2012, 05:22 PM   #6
jimwg
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273:
I'm not into anything fancy and if the system can work fine with just one partition I'm go for it! My only apprehension is whether Maya's install partitioner will allow you to pass up on omitting certain partitions. It's already balking about minimum sizes as I mentioned, so we will see if there's a get-around! Again, I'm just a rank amateur playing it by ear in this kind of thing with lots of education from guys like you!

Jefro:
For right now I'd like to practice up on installing Maya on the current 8gig flash I have before moving on and buying a 16gig one on my pension, but as you seem to hint it is possible, my qualm is exactly how do I set up each required partition in terms of size and type? I'm currently just doing it by trial and error via the partitioner which offers you no clues or suggestions on the best partition configuration to create. I wish there was a standard rule of creating the right type partition for a minimal hassle install!

To you both:
If you feel Maya is too much to format my 8gig flash with, would you recommend I try Mint 12 or 10? Mint 9 just worked great until the Mint-auto-updates started bloating the drive (and can't be deleted, true?). I don't want to go back to 9 if I can install something more advanced to move my home folders back into!

Thanks for your helpful tips!!

God Bless Neil Armstrong,
Jim in NYC
 
Old 08-25-2012, 05:44 PM   #7
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I tend to use the latest distro. If you have a newish system, any of the latest distro's are possible. I think the installed mint is something like 4.3 gig. I don't use the automatic partition apps. I just make one single partition and mount it as / (root). If you want you can make a small swap if you need to. If the computers you use are generally more than 1G you don't need a swap for common desktop use.

Last edited by jefro; 08-26-2012 at 01:02 PM.
 
Old 08-25-2012, 05:51 PM   #8
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I agree with jefro completely. I have installed Mint onto a USB stick myself and it allowed me to use it all as one partition. The only partition necessary is / the other partitions are optional and otherwise the data simply goes into directories instead.
 
Old 08-26-2012, 01:07 PM   #9
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273 and I know that a small usb flash is a unique install. The reason one might partition a hard drive do not translate to the same reasons one uses a small usb flash. Don't concern yourself with a hard drive type install with this.

Don't do all the updates. Just install it and see the size. Then do the critical updates only and see if it changes. It should not change much. The delta files ought to only fix the issue and then delete.

You should have 2 to 4 gig to play with. If you want you can remove apps that you don't need after you get it installed.

Someone called my on the carpet the other week about the lifespan of a usb flash. While I don't have any data to prove this I will still say it. These usb flash drives will fail.

Last edited by jefro; 08-26-2012 at 01:12 PM.
 
Old 08-27-2012, 02:42 PM   #10
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Greetings

Well. my attempts to full-install 32-bit Maya XFCE or MATE on my 8gig flash drive keeps failing because the installer apparently won't allow me to just have a single "/" partition; it just stalls and that's it. I have a sneaky feeling that Maya full install is a whole lot different program from Mint 9 full install, which went in pretty easily, but Maya looks like it won't install unless I have the right "formula" of number/type/size partitions but that'd be a long trial by error game. Just can't see why a script can't compute such for you! So right now, till I'm more educated, I'll grind thru the Maya live install instead for practice and transferring its fresh customized configs off the flash to restall in the new full install later on, and learned two shockers; using Universal-USB-Installer-1.9.0.9 with persistence set (arbitrarily) for 1gig, my post-live install space on my 8gig flash was 1.8gig. Then all I did was package manager download Remmina (excellent in Mint 9!) and DesktopNova and Computer-Janitor (none which works in Maya!) and added several folders from my home folder backup (amounting to 200meg), my free space is now down to 1.2gigs! Where'd most of that space go?? That's why I tried to get janitor to clean out any junk in there! Of course this is all experimental working with just a live install, but is this a preview of how Maya acts on a full install on a flash drive?

One thing; Have experienced no degradation on any of our flash drives yet, even some over four years old. Called Kingston about how I was using the flash and they said I'd likely be buying a new SSD before I notice any "wear" (you'd get a "alert" if such happened) and said the five-year warrantly would still go no matter how much I pushed it, so I'll take customer service at their word!

Thanks for any tips!

Jim in Queens!

Last edited by jimwg; 08-27-2012 at 02:48 PM.
 
Old 08-27-2012, 07:14 PM   #11
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You should just be able to use the option "Use Entire Disk" then select the USB drive from the drop-down menu.
I think the "live CD" type install uses compressed files so the normal install to USB will take up a lot more room -- probably around 5.5GB.
 
Old 08-27-2012, 08:17 PM   #12
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Persistence uses some of the space for any and all changes. Everything from desktop to downloads.

The mint is a good disto. Not sure what is going on but it should work as we have stated. I guess I could build one tonight and test.
 
Old 08-29-2012, 05:44 AM   #13
jimwg
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You should just be able to use the option "Use Entire Disk" then select the USB drive from the drop-down menu.
I think the "live CD" type install uses compressed files so the normal install to USB will take up a lot more room -- probably around 5.5GB.
Okay, I would use the "Use Entire Disk" option but that seems to only pertain to my system's HD and not the flash drive. I don't see any way of forcing Maya's installer to completely format a drive other than the one your system's running on, and it makes you have to do the partitions dance to format another drive (I can do it but it's not taking my guesswork partition type/size configs). It's possible I missed a option somewhere, being I'm just a play-it-by-ear newbie ex-Mac Linux newbie. I'd also like to create more space on my live flash while I'm learning a full install, so can you give me any ideas exactly what big files are safe to delete which is not needed on a flash so I make no fatal mistakes? This is a true learning experience! Thanks!

Jim in Queens

BTW Remmina works fine! I guess it needed a system restart, but the time keeps losing its setting though!
 
Old 08-29-2012, 07:10 AM   #14
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Oh, oops, yes, if you're installing from USB to a USB then it ought to be a different USB.
You do need to select the USB disk from the drop-down in gparted and create a partition table on it then a partition. Then you can select it as the install medium.
If you're using a live CD to install run
Code:
fdisk -l
to see which partitions you have to give you a clue.
 
Old 08-29-2012, 03:52 PM   #15
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To be safe, just remove power from the internal drive(s) or use a virtual machine to install to usb.

You can mess up your hard drive is either you or the installer app is not careful/correct.
 
  


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