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Old 06-24-2008, 01:47 PM   #1
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Any neat ideas or reasons to boot Linux from a USB thumb drive?

I'm trying to decide if I want to do it and I'm curious, what neat things have people done (or can think of doing) with a Linux distro booting from a thumb drive? Thoughts both humanitarian (killing viruses) and not so humanitarian are equally welcome
Old 06-24-2008, 02:07 PM   #2
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well i have a Linux password cracker on USB that is handy to have for those special times...
also a rescue disk on a different usb drive.
Old 06-24-2008, 02:07 PM   #3
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You can run Linux on any PC if you can make it boot to the USB.
Old 06-24-2008, 03:41 PM   #4
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Several 'ideas' on the pen drive Linux site....
Old 06-24-2008, 06:22 PM   #5
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put backtrack 3 on a thumb drive for pen testing
Old 06-25-2008, 02:18 PM   #6
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I put knoppix 5.1, Helix forensic live distro, and BT3 beta on a micro sdhd card. I can carry everything on a card the size of my little fingernail. What's really great is I can load the card into my camera, and hook it up to usb, and boot into any of three live linux distros from the camera. I wrote scripts to make each one writable, and created an aes encrypted loop device for a writable home directory, just in case the thing gets lost. I back it up using dd.
Old 02-15-2009, 05:18 PM   #7
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how did you get Helix to properly boot on USB? I've gotten it to boot but still can't get it to load after the initial screen.
Old 02-15-2009, 06:05 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by hiddenillusion View Post

how did you get Helix to properly boot on USB? I've gotten it to boot but still can't get it to load after the initial screen.
that would be the program syslinux
the easist way would be to use a live cd iso, mount at a prompt with mount -o loop image.iso /mnt/cdrom (or something to that effect), then copy the contents of the bootable iso to your thumb drive, rename isolinux.cfg to syslinux.cfg, unmount the thumb drive then as root (su or sudo) syslinux /dev/sdb (or whatever your thumb drive is)

the rest depends on wether or not the bios of the target machine supports booting from usb, most modern machines do but alot of older ones do not
Old 02-15-2009, 06:34 PM   #9
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I always install distros from USB if I can find a way. Saves write-once CDs.
Old 02-15-2009, 10:49 PM   #10
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I don't travel much anymore but 3 times a year I am forced to leave home for 3 to 7 days at a time. (Family obligations.)
Since I do not own or desire to own a laptop, having my favorite OS and apps on a pendrive makes it possible for me to check e-mail and my favorite online sites without being forced to use 'doze.
Old 02-15-2009, 11:03 PM   #11
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USB is great as a system-rescue disk.

Also, you can carry a customized desktop with you wherever you go that can save changes and files. Work with your own linux desktop at the library, on a friend's computer, etc. I'm sure you can think of many not-so-friendly things that this could lead to.


boot, thumbdrive

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