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Old 03-28-2009, 11:50 AM   #1
linus72
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Easiest USB distro install for Newbie's


I am writing this "How-To" because many Linux distro to USB tutorials are overly complicated, involve extra programs to install that are not needed, risk installing syslinux to your HD via the terminal with the command "syslinux -s /dev/sdxx" where "xx" is your USB, or they involve needlessly partitioning your USB which may endanger your HD if your not careful about choosing what to partition with "fdisk" or "cfdisk".

With this tutorial you do not need to use the terminal at all, there's NO risk of overwriting anything on your HD or USB, best of all you don't even need to know the name your computer uses for the USB-"sdf1/sde1/sdc1", etc.
As long as a window pops open when you insert the USB, or you can find the USB in the "Places" menu on the Ubuntu Desktop, this "How-to" will work.
As long as you know the Windows point-n-click copy/paste, drag-n-drop approach you will be fine.

Note that you do not have to have Linux installed to your HD-just reboot and run Ubuntu-8.04 LIVE off CD, choose "Try Ubuntu without any change to my Computer".

This tutorial assumes you have Ubuntu-8.04/8.10 running as a LiveCD or installed to your Hard Drive.
The Linux Distro's listed are examples of those I have installed to my USB's (2GB & 4GB Kingston Data-Traveler's).
There are many distro's that can install to a USB-this list is nowhere near complete.
1-Knoppix-5.1.iso (great for HW detection)
2-Slax-6.0.9 (almost any variant) .iso
3-Goblinx-2.7 (any variant) .iso
13-NetbootCD-2.2.iso (Can install Debian/Ubuntu/Fedora/Mandriva/Slack12.2/OpenSuse/CentOS via internet)
14-Wolvix-Hunter/Cub.iso
15-Billix-0.24.iso or tar.gz

All these distro's are slightly different in how to arrange the folders, etc to get them to boot properly.
Some are pretty easy-while others must undergo some surgery.

For this example we're gonna do Goblinx/Slax/Wolvix/NetbootCD and Knoppix-5.1/Billix-0.24
Note tha Goblinx/Wolvix/Slax are similar in in their folder/file layout.

Step-1 Download "Billix" USB version from here-( http://sourceforge.net/projects/billix/ )
Download Billix to your Ubuntu Desktop, right-click on the Billix-0.24.tar.gz and select "extract here". Now go into the folder that appears, find a file named "ldlinux.sys"-This Is SYSLINUX. Right-click on "ldlinux.sys" and select "copy", then go back out to the Ubuntu Desktop and right-click on the Desktop and select "paste". You'll want to keep "ldlinux.sys" for future USB installs. More about this in a minute...

Step-2 Download the ISO of one of the Distro's above to the Ubuntu Desktop-either running Ubuntu LIVE or installed.
Right now we're gonna do Goblinx/Wolvix/Slax/NetbootCD as their essentially the same in terms of installing to USB.
When the download completes-Right-click on the .iso image and select "extract here".

Step-3 After extracting, a folder should be on the Desktop-so for Goblinx-2.7-Mini.iso there should now be a folder named "Goblinx-2.7-Mini". Open the folder, there should be 2 folders-"boot" and "goblinx", although you might see a folder named [BOOT] with a "BOOTABLE_NoEmulation.img" in it-don't worry about that.

Step-4 Go into the "boot" folder, into the "syslinux" folder, Right-click on "syslinux.cfg" and select "copy".
Go back UP into the top folder-where the "boot" and "goblinx" folders are.
Right-click an empty area in the window and select "paste"-now you should have the folders "boot" and "goblinx" and the "syslinux.cfg" file in there.

Step-5 Right-click on the "ldlinux.sys" file on your Desktop, select "copy" and "paste" it into the Goblinx-2.7-Mini folder. Now you should have the folders "boot", "goblinx" and the files "ldlinux.sys" and "syslinux.cfg" in the Goblinx-2.7-Mini folder.

Step-6 Plug in your USB and wait for a window to open...Now go back into the Goblinx-2.7-Mini folder, on the top panel of the file browser window are the buttons "file/edit/view/search/tools/documents/help".
Now select the "Edit" button, then select "select all", then select "cut" or "copy".
Now right-click in the window that opened when you plugged the USB into your computer. Select "paste".
The contents of Goblinx-2.7-Mini will be transferred to your USB.

Step-7 Assuming the "boot" flag is not set on your USB-go to the Ubuntu top panel-Select "System"/"Administration"/"Partition Editor".
Gparted will pop up and scan your HD/devices.

Step-8 Gparted has a button at the top panel named "Gparted", click on the button, then select "devices", then click your USB-for mine it says /dev/sdf (1.86GB). just make sure it's not your HD.

Step-9 Right-click on the line in Gparted that displays your USB info-
-select "manage flags", then check the "boot" box.
Your done, unmount the USB, and reboot into Goblinx-2.7-Mini!
This is mine-
Partition File System Mountpoint Size Used Unused Flags
/dev/sdf1 FAT32 /media/disk 1.86GiB 3.74MB 1.86GiB "boot"

Very simple and no worries about accidently installing "syslinux" to your HD or having to partition the USB.
As I said-each distro is a little different in setting it up.

The hardest ones make you rename "isolinux.cfg" to "syslinux.cfg" and you will have to edit the new "syslinux.cfg" by putting a "/" mark in front of anything that's in the USB-for instance...
Download "Knoppix-5.1.iso", extract it to a folder as with Goblinx...also includes Billix how to...

Inside are the folders "boot", "KNOPPIX", and some "auto-run" files plus "index.html" and "cdrom.ico".
Go into the "boot" folder, into the "isolinux" folder. Now, select the "edit" button at the top of the file browser, select "select all", then "cut".

Go back UP onto the "boot" folder, right-click anywhere empty and select "paste". All the contents of the "isolinux" folder should now be in the "boot" folder-along with the now-empty "isolinux" folder.
Delete the empty "isolinux" folder.

Right-click on "isolinux.cfg" and Rename "isolinux.cfg" to "syslinux.cfg"
Now right-click "syslinux.cfg" and select "open with text editor"

When it pops open edit these lines-
DEFAULT linux
APPEND initrd=minirt.gz
DISPLAY boot.msg
F1 boot.msg
F2 f2
F3 f3
KERNEL linux

Now, for syslinux to recognize and find the Kernel and initrd and whatever else, you have to put a "/" mark before the kernel, initrd, files, etc and give the full path to them-like so...
DEFAULT /boot/linux
APPEND initrd=/boot/minirt.gz
DISPLAY /boot/boot.msg
F1 /boot/boot.msg
F2 /boot/f2
F3 /boot/f3
KERNEL /boot/linux

Also note that syslinux cannot recognize names of more than eight 8 letters and extensions of more than 3 letters I think.
After editing the "syslinux.cfg" file above, hit "save".

Now, do just as with Goblinx and add "ldlinux.sys" to the Knoppix-5.1 folder and put a copy of "syslinux.cfg" from the "boot" folder in there too.
So, you should have the folders "boot" and "KNOPPIX", plus "syslinux.cfg" and "ldlinux.sys" in there.

As with Goblinx-cut or copy the entire CONTENTS of the folder "Knoppix-5.1" to your USB and reboot into Knoppix-5.1 Live!

For Billix the only thing you need to do is edit "syslinux.cfg" by putting the "/" mark as above, then just drag-n-drop, copy/paste all the contents of the "Billix-.024" folder into your USB as "syslinux" (ldlinux.sys) is already there.

Things to remember-
Make sure the "boot" flag is activated for the USB
"ldlinux.sys" is SYSLINUX so you don't have to install syslinux to your USB via the terminal like "syslinux -s /dev/sdxx"
Where "xx" is your USB-just paste or drop-n-drag the "ldlinux.sys" file to your USB.
Make sure you rename "isolinux.cfg" to syslinux.cfg
make sure you edit the isolinux.cfg/syslinux.cfg file by adding the full path to the kernel/initrd/files and put a "/" before the folder/file name.
Note that most Slax/Goblinx/Wolvix distro's already have a "syslinux.cfg" setup-just copy the syslinux.cfg file to the "root"-(top) directory of the USB-as above with Goblinx.

You cannot use "usb.img"'s for this you must use the "dd" command-this how-to is not for USB images-such as any distro that has ".img" at the end-like "Debian-500-i386.img"
Thes must be installed using the "dd" command and will erase all data on your USB!

With this how-to as I said up top-you can have files/folders already on the USB-these will not be affected because your just "copy" and "paste"/drag-n-drop the distro into the USB, including "syslinux", so nothing will get erased or partitioned/formatted.

For reference-
ISOLINUX ( http://syslinux.zytor.com/wiki/index.php/ISOLINUX )
SYSLINUX ( http://syslinux.zytor.com/wiki/index.php/SYSLINUX )
 
Old 03-28-2009, 12:57 PM   #2
repo
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Why complicate things?

Quote:
1. Download fixkp2.exe and run, a USB-Knoppix folder is created
2. Download the Knoppix Linux ISO and move it to the USB-Knoppix folder
3. Click fixkp2.bat from the USB-Knoppix folder and follow the onscreen instructions
4. Reboot your PC and set your system BIOS or Boot Menu to boot from the USB device, save your changes and reboot
5. Upon reboot, you should have a successful launch of Knoppix Linux from your USB memory stick.
see http://www.pendrivelinux.com/usb-knoppix-510/


Also most live CD's have the option to install to USB

Last edited by repo; 03-28-2009 at 12:59 PM.
 
Old 03-28-2009, 01:42 PM   #3
linus72
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Maybe you didn't notice-I don't have Windows
 
Old 03-28-2009, 01:46 PM   #4
repo
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Quote:
Maybe you didn't notice-I don't have Windows
But most newbies have windows, no?
 
Old 03-28-2009, 01:58 PM   #5
linus72
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The how to is about any distro-does fixkp2.exe do any other distro?

Does it do Debian-500-Live to USB?
Maybe CrunchBang Ubuntu?
Remember we are avoiding anything to do with formatting or partitioning anything.
 
Old 03-28-2009, 02:19 PM   #6
repo
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Everyone has his own approach :-)
 
Old 03-28-2009, 02:48 PM   #7
linus72
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No, your right-everyone has their own approach-I was ignorant of fixkp2.exe and can use it through Wine-hopefully I can edit it so that it will install other distro's than Knoppix.
Right now I have Billix-0.24.iso, Debian-500-i386-LIVE-Gnome-Desktop.iso, Knoppix-5.1.iso, and Scientific-Linux-5.3.iso on my 4GB USB.
All boot like on CD, all use the same menu/syslinux.cfg and I don't know of any app that can put the distro's together and then install to USB.
 
Old 03-29-2009, 07:09 AM   #8
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You do not need to do this to install GoblinX over a pendrive, just download the ZIP file instead of the ISO image, uncompress it inside the mounted pendrive, open a console, go to the boot folder inside the pendrive and run bootinst.bat (for Windows users) or bootinst.sh (for Linux users) to make it bootable, if your pendrive is FAT32, or liloinst.sh if it's ext2. And Slax uses the same method. It's the easiest way adopt by Linux distros.
 
Old 03-29-2009, 07:28 AM   #9
linus72
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Awesome-thanks.
By the way Grobsch-when's Goblinx-3.0 stable gonna be out?

Last edited by linus72; 03-29-2009 at 07:30 AM.
 
Old 03-29-2009, 05:44 PM   #10
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We are working in G:Noblin rc01 and we've released G:Mini rc01... It could take around three weeks or a month, but as we still need to work more with KDE4, probably more than a month.
 
Old 03-30-2009, 02:20 AM   #11
cavaliersunbird
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Great! Now i have a new linux distribution to try. i thought you were talking about Gobo linux for a minute. Can't wait (download in progress)
 
Old 04-15-2009, 08:07 PM   #12
dunce
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Easiest distro install from iso for newbie

I have a Dell desktop P111, 500mhz, 128mb ram, and Puppy 4.1 installed on /dev/hda1, (600mb) and 1gb free. Swap (300mb) is on /dev/hda3

I don't have a cd burner.

I would like to install G:Mini rc01. Slitaz, MintFluxbox, Vector light, Mepis light or any other small distro from iso in the free space, (1.5gb) or on a usb drive. The bios does not support USB boot.

I am a Linux Newbie and also a dunce. What is possible ? And how do I do it? Instructions with examples, would be appreciated.

Thanks in advance

Last edited by dunce; 04-15-2009 at 08:12 PM.
 
Old 04-15-2009, 10:52 PM   #13
jefro
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"The bios does not support USB boot."

Then the only other choice would be to make a boot floppy or more that can boot enough support for a usb device.

Might be better to use pxe or gpxe to lan.

Repost on different post if you need more help.
 
Old 04-16-2009, 07:40 AM   #14
dunce
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Thanks for the info

I will re-post

dunce
 
  


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