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collen 01-23-2009 10:20 AM

Boot linux of usb with write support ?!
Hi, i've read all about installing linux on usb sticks

but they all talk about live-cd's (fedora eg)
now i would like to install linux on my usb,
but to be able to write to it as well.

coz' once in a while i would like to ugrade/update it, and install
extra software, write and save scrips ect ect..

but how how how can i do that, simply formatting the usb as ext3
will not work..

can some one put me in the right direction...



mrclisdue 01-23-2009 10:38 AM

Actually, the beauty of installing a "live" distro to a usb stick is that you can write to it. I've just done it with Slax.

I formatted the usb stick ext3, etc. There is ample documentation on the Slax website to explain this.

afaik, the same holds true for puppy. There is also documentation on pendrive linux.

Feel free to ask for more help/info if you require.


collen 01-26-2009 04:27 AM

Hmm, but what is wise ..

use grub as boot loader and make de usb ext3 ?? (what is the sda jumps to sdb or sdc on a different pc)

or make 2 part. 1 fat with syslinux, and one with ext3 and /

thx.. C.

mrclisdue 01-26-2009 04:41 AM

If you use slax, which is a derivative of slackware, you can format the stick ext3, and use lilo as the bootloader. Once you've extracted the contents of the slax archive to the usbstick, you run (a script which includes a lilo.conf (which you can adjust to your needs.))

If you need to make any changes in the future, lilo style, you simply adjust the script.

Also, this will all work (though not using lilo, but another script) if the stick is formatted fat32. The "persistent-changes" section of the slax webpage is incomplete, however you can find out more on:

which was created and maintained by the chap responsible for slax.


collen 01-26-2009 08:11 AM

Sorry i'm not really into slax...

i digged in a little more, and found the problem.

if you boot from usb (or hdd also) there is a line in lilo,grub,syslinux
saying what the root dir is.

normally when you use a ram disk it's /dev/ram0 (or so)
but the ram disk isn't saved back to the stick.

i can't use /dev/sda or sdb, coz on every pc it might be differend.

so i'm looking for either a image format that is read&write and writes it back to the stick(so i can use a ram disk)
or looking for a way to tell the bootloader where to look for the root dir.

all i want from the usb-boot is a way i can normaly access my linux file system
and to be able to write and save to it... (for updates and all)

Cheers.. Collen

mrclisdue 01-26-2009 09:01 AM


Did you even bother to read any of the stuff on:


What I'm apparently wasting my time telling you is that there is a way to deal with persistent changes, and it's there, in detail, on that site.

It is not restricted to slax. That site instructs you on how to create a live usb with any distro.

Your concerns are addressed there, if you'd bother to read.

I'm done.

collen 01-26-2009 10:17 AM

I did read it, but i don't like the "persistent changes directory"

with that, the main system stay's read only, and all changes are written to that dir.

i'd rather have an ext2/3 system (orsome alike)

that's where the boot loader post comes from.

i also noticed that fedora works with root=UUID=<number>
and not with /dev/sdX

sorry if i gave you the impression not to take your post serious.
i do, but am looking for a good solution to my prob.

Thx for your efforts

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