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Old 08-20-2005, 10:48 PM   #1
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Question Boot Linux iso from thumb drive

I have a laptop with no floppy drive or cd rom built in. It will boot from a usb thumb drive. Is it possible to copy an iso like Knoppix or Phlak directly to a 1 gig thumb drive and have it load the same as when you boot from a cd rom? I am looking for a way to load linux like it does when you insert a cd rom with the knoppix iso on it. I am not looking for a method to run linux on the thumb drive.
Old 08-21-2005, 12:29 AM   #2
Registered: Jun 2004
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there is a way that I found. here's how i did it, approximately.

1) you must write a master boot record to the first sector of your flash drive. this is the only way i could get mine to boot. This could be specific to my motherboard, however.

1.5) fdisk your flash drive and make a partition of type fat16.

1.6) run mkdosfs on the partition you just created.

now... i don't remember exactly how the next steps go. but:

2) you must use the syslinux utility to make your flashdrive bootable.

3) you must mount your .iso as a loopback device, like so :

# mount -t iso9660 -o loop file.iso /mnt/iso

4) go into the /mnt/iso direcory (or wherever you mounted your iso) and copy everything to your flashdrive. now let me think ...

5) go into the directory with the boot files in it. copy them to the root of your flash drive.

6) rename isolinux.cfg --> syslinux.cfg

and that should work. i'll be right back with a better link if you need more info.


here's a link for in case you're in windows.


here's for in case you're in *nix.



Last edited by fenderman11111; 08-21-2005 at 12:42 AM.
Old 08-21-2005, 12:38 AM   #3
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Booting Linux off of a USB drive.

You may want to take a look at this.
Old 08-22-2005, 09:15 AM   #4
Registered: Jun 2004
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There is a distro called DSL (D?mn Small Linux) Which is designed to boot off of a mini CD. They also have a version that is designed to boot off of a USB drive. I have never used it, and haven't found all the details. It might be worth looking into.
Old 08-22-2005, 10:21 AM   #5
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There are actually many Linices that work off a USB drive.
They are usually called Mini Distributions.

And Entire list of such distributions can be found HERE
Old 08-28-2005, 11:52 AM   #6
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Thanks fenderman11111

The link to was exactly what I needed. I now have my IBM X40 laptop booting off of a Lexar 256mb jump drive using DSL (Damn Small Linux). I wanted to boot PHLAK off of the 1gig Intelligent Stick thumb drive that I have. But my laptop does not want to boot from this thumb drive. I have tried just installing DOS to the drive and it will not boot. I will try a different brand and see if I can get this to work with PHLAK.

The link to has changed to


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