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Old 01-10-2009, 12:32 PM   #1
U4LINUX2
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Downloading Linux to flash drive


Hello all,

I'm definitely new to Linux and look forward to learning all I can about the software. I want to download Linux to my flash drive. Does this mean that I will lose all of the text files that are on the flash drive? Linux dist. is Zenwalk. It is an FAT32 Kingston drive with Mostly Microsoft Word Files. I’m currently using Windows XP.

I’m really excited about joining and looking forward to all of your answers.

Thanks

Last edited by U4LINUX2; 01-10-2009 at 12:33 PM.
 
Old 01-10-2009, 12:43 PM   #2
SHENGTON
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Do you mean, you want to install a Linux OS into your flash drive?
 
Old 01-10-2009, 12:48 PM   #3
U4LINUX2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SHENGTON View Post
Do you mean, you want to install a Linux OS into your flash drive?
If installing means that I will lose the text files then no. I do not fully understand the concept of "Live." I thought there was a way to load it on a flash drive, DVD, CD, and use it almost as if it were installed. I thought this could be done without losing the other data on the disk.

Is that incorrect?
 
Old 01-13-2009, 05:23 PM   #4
U4LINUX2
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Thought there was some magical way to install an OS without loosing data already stored. This is no different from Windows in that regard. It removes all data with the install. I guess the difference would be that I can actually run it from a flash drive. I don't think you can run Windows from a flash drive...yet.

Last edited by U4LINUX2; 01-13-2009 at 05:28 PM.
 
Old 01-28-2009, 10:58 PM   #5
GibsoneanNode
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Quote:
Originally Posted by U4LINUX2 View Post
I want to download Linux to my flash drive. Does this mean that I will lose all of the text files that are on the flash drive?
I'm working on getting Linux to boot from a USB flash drive too. Based on what I've read there are non-destructive installation methods that would place the ISO image on the solid state memory without causing harm to preexisting data.

One such choice would be Fedora's Live USB Creator which is accessible from the desktop environment of that distribution and might then be used to install a Live build of Fedora, for instance. According to the January 2009 issue of Linux Format the Live USB Creator is Qt-based so it is not platform specific and can run on Microsoft Windows XP as well.

On the subject of backing up files, if you've been using your Kingston drive for storage up till now I would find an alternative location if possible while you experiment with install processes. Depending on how you install Zenwalk Live Edition the lack of space remaining could leave you without a further backup medium from that point on.

Whether you have access to Linux or Microsoft Windows instead there are ISO image installers such as Unetbootin that might be helpful.
 
Old 01-29-2009, 12:07 AM   #6
digerati1338
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If you want to have the files on the drive you can back them up to your computer and then copy them back to the flash drive after the install. They will be erased during the install, but will remain on your hard disk (which is untouched in a live linux environment). You should have them backed up anyway - what if you lose your flash drive?

If you are new to linux, an ubuntu flash drive would be a great way to start. Here is a guide. Slax is also quite good at running on a flash drive, but is a bit more technically advanced than ubuntu since it is based on slackware.

Last edited by digerati1338; 01-29-2009 at 12:08 AM.
 
Old 01-29-2009, 12:08 AM   #7
fdshows
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Is this the correct way to install Linux ?
 
Old 01-29-2009, 12:11 AM   #8
digerati1338
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This is a method of running a live linux distribution from a usb flash drive. This does not install linux to the hard drive. Live linux can also be run from a CD rom, but changes to the system will not be saved to a CD while they will be saved to a usb drive.

If you just want to install linux you simply have to run the installer CD.
 
Old 01-29-2009, 11:52 AM   #9
schneidz
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Quote:
Originally Posted by U4LINUX2 View Post
Thought there was some magical way to install an OS without loosing data already stored. This is no different from Windows in that regard. It removes all data with the install. I guess the difference would be that I can actually run it from a flash drive. I don't think you can run Windows from a flash drive...yet.
fedora-core-9 live-usb creator is non-destructive (meaning it will install to the remaining space of your usb thumb drive without deleting files).
 
Old 01-29-2009, 02:29 PM   #10
GibsoneanNode
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digerati1338, I appreciate your input as backup conventions would be an area where I could use more study.

Quote:
Originally Posted by fdshows View Post
Is this the correct way to install Linux?
A variety of different ways exist, the suitability of one over another would depend on the needs of that user. Though a few nice things about using a USB thumb drive would be that if one did not have access to GNU/Linux by other means they could install the operating system to the USB flash drive without troubling to repartition, say, a preexisting Microsoft Windows partition on a lone hard disk drive. This way at their leisure they could dabble with Linux and take it with them where ever they go. Solid state memory is coming down in price and it merely takes a gigabyte or two to install an OS.

While deterrents might be old computers, pre-2002, that can not boot from USB (check your BIOS for such information). Also, boot up periods can be longer as the OS checks for the hardware configuration. Additionally, not having needed an OS on a thumb drive myself until recently, I wonder about bus speeds and bandwidth remaining a hindrance at least until USB 3.0 comes out next year.
 
Old 01-29-2009, 02:54 PM   #11
digerati1338
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Quote:
I wonder about bus speeds and bandwidth remaining a hindrance
There is an option on most modern live distros to boot to RAM. This makes it incredibly fast after the initial boot up, but requires at least 1GB RAM in most cases.
 
Old 01-31-2009, 12:31 PM   #12
U4LINUX2
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Originally Posted by schneidz View Post
fedora-core-9 live-usb creator is non-destructive (meaning it will install to the remaining space of your usb thumb drive without deleting files).
Great Info. Have you played with it? How stable is it? furthermore, even though you may not save anything with the live version to the hardrive, can you save it to the flash drive?
 
Old 01-31-2009, 04:16 PM   #13
3rods
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I don't think anyone has mentioned this:
http://unetbootin.sourceforge.net/

I can't remember if it preserves the files on the USB or not. Worst case, can't you just copy your files off and then put them back on after you install the live USB OS?
 
Old 01-31-2009, 08:49 PM   #14
GibsoneanNode
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Quote:
Originally Posted by U4LINUX2 View Post
Even though you may not save anything with the live version to the hardrive, can you save it to the flash drive?
I myself am not very familiar with Fedora's Live USB Creator in particular or Live ISO installers for USB sticks in general, but If I understand you correctly you're asking if the operating system once resident on the flash drive can store changes made by the OS to that same flash drive. The answer is yes, the “memory overlay system” of a modern Live OS provides for this as described by Paul Hudson in Linux Format magazine, January 2009.

The single limitation that Hudson spoke of with this installer was that one can only make use of a maximum of 2 Gigabytes storage space for personal documents. So, if you have a 3 Gigabyte USB drive or larger this installer would not benefit from that additional space, at least not with out a workaround.

Compare this to Ubuntu's Create A USB Startup Disk program that has an app. slider that can go the full size of a multi-gigabyte thumb drive. Though it is not available for Microsoft Windows users, at least not yet.

Quote:
Originally Posted by U4LINUX2 View Post
Have you played with it?
No, not yet but I'm looking forward to it soon! If you are going to use Fedora's Live USB Creator it would be fun to see what your results are!

Quote:
Originally Posted by 3rods View Post
I can't remember if [Unetbootin] preserves the files on the USB or not.
According to the Wikipedia page for Unetbootin it is non-destructive so it would not overwrite preexisting files. However not even the Unetbootin homepage references this feature, to my knowledge, so be cautious.

A great thread on Unetbootin was started by tuxcantfly at the Ubuntu forums who I presume is the developer of that installer.
 
Old 02-02-2009, 09:43 AM   #15
schneidz
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Quote:
Originally Posted by U4LINUX2 View Post
Great Info. Have you played with it? How stable is it? furthermore, even though you may not save anything with the live version to the hardrive, can you save it to the flash drive?
pretty stable (sometimes it flakes when i close my laptop lid but that mite be because the usb thumb-drive powers down to conserve energy so there is no os to wake it up - as if i pulled it out or something).

you can save stuff to the $HOME on the flash drive or mount any harddrive and save stuff there.

i dont like the persistent overlay because when it runs out of room, it is impossible to get your data back.


it is still pretty slow although faster than cd. live_ram boot option has a bug in it where it tries to eject the non-existant cd and crashes on boot.

Last edited by schneidz; 02-02-2009 at 09:49 AM.
 
  


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