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Old 03-06-2017, 11:56 AM   #1
dcs.79c
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Multi-partition flash drive


I want to try more than 1 distro of Linux. I have a Mac. Partitioning the flash drive is easy. Instead of buying several flash drives & putting a single distro on each one, is it possible to make each partition bootable? I assume that the answer is no. I assume that only the primary partition is bootable but not the others. Am I correct?

I assume that there's a limit to the number of partitions on a single flash drive.

I want to try out Peppermint & Chalet & Zorin & Mint.
 
Old 03-06-2017, 12:02 PM   #2
jsbjsb001
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dcs.79c View Post
I want to try more than 1 distro of Linux. I have a Mac. Partitioning the flash drive is easy. Instead of buying several flash drives & putting a single distro on each one, is it possible to make each partition bootable? I assume that the answer is no. I assume that only the primary partition is bootable but not the others. Am I correct?

I assume that there's a limit to the number of partitions on a single flash drive.

I want to try out Peppermint & Chalet & Zorin & Mint.
If you want to try more than one OS, what about Virtual Machine software? (like Virtualbox, for one)

You can make more than just, one partition bootable, if you would like to/IS possible.
 
Old 03-06-2017, 12:17 PM   #3
dcs.79c
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If you want to try more than one OS, what about Virtual Machine software? (like VirtualBox, for one)

That's the plan. I'm going to install VirtualBox on my Mac so I can try out different distros of Linux.

Reputation is disabled on my Mac. How do I enable it?

How do I make more than 1 partition bootable? Is it easy or hard?
 
Old 03-06-2017, 02:47 PM   #4
Ztcoracat
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dcs.79c View Post
If you want to try more than one OS, what about Virtual Machine software? (like VirtualBox, for one)

That's the plan. I'm going to install VirtualBox on my Mac so I can try out different distros of Linux.

Reputation is disabled on my Mac. How do I enable it?

How do I make more than 1 partition bootable? Is it easy or hard?
To change the reputation go to "Edit Options" and check the box for your rep points to show.

To make more than one partition bootable you would have to flag the partition as bootable.
In gparted you would create a partition and apply all changes. Than go to Partition> manage flags> and mark it as bootable.

I'm not sure how you would mark a partition on a flash drive bootable. I've only made one usb flash drive with one distro bootable at a time.

This article looks like a start:
http://www.techradar.com/how-to/how-...s-from-one-usb
 
Old 03-06-2017, 03:10 PM   #5
dcs.79c
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Whoa! I had to ask. That's a lot of typing. I'll stick with 1 distro per flash drive!

So, I'll install VirtualBox on my Mac & install the different versions of Linux (Ghost BSD?) & try them out & decide what I want to install on my HP mini.
 
Old 03-06-2017, 03:13 PM   #6
Ztcoracat
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dcs.79c View Post
Whoa! I had to ask. That's a lot of typing. I'll stick with 1 distro per flash drive!

So, I'll install VirtualBox on my Mac & install the different versions of Linux (Ghost BSD?) & try them out & decide what I want to install on my HP mini.
Good luck and enjoy-
 
Old 03-06-2017, 05:48 PM   #7
jefro
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If you have a modern well made usb flash drive then modern linux can't tell the difference between it and a regular mechanical drive. You could install what you want as if you were installing to a hard drive.

You can also consider using something like you'd find at pendrivelinux.com where you can use non-real installs. There are ways to take a live media and place it compressed on a usb drive. They tend to work OK except when you have to modify the squashed image.
 
Old 03-06-2017, 07:16 PM   #8
suicidaleggroll
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YUMI is a good option for installing multiple live linux distros on a single USB, it's worth looking into.
 
Old 03-06-2017, 08:40 PM   #9
Ztcoracat
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https://www.pendrivelinux.com/yumi-m...t-usb-creator/
 
Old 03-07-2017, 12:38 AM   #10
tofino_surfer
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>>>I want to try more than 1 distro of Linux. I have a Mac. Partitioning the flash drive is easy. Instead of buying several flash drives & putting a single distro on each one, is it possible to make each partition bootable?

You don't have to make more than one partition bootable as one instance of grub can load configfiles from other partitions and boot numerous kernels and initrds.

I have Centos 7 and Fedora 24 on one SSD. I can invoke the Fedora 24 grub menu from the Centos 7 grub by loading its configfile.

menuentry "Fedora 24 using grub2 configfile" {
insmod ext2
insmod part_gpt
search --no-floppy --fs-uuid --set=root e52b5567-e0eb-4ac6-93d3-6fd86d8043b1
configfile /grub2/grub.cfg
}

Only the first distribution needs to be bootable. You can manually add targets for the second, third, fourth installations to /etc/grub.d/40_custom.

>>>I assume that there's a limit to the number of partitions on a single flash drive.

With GPT partitions there are 128 primary partitions. With MBR partitioning the number of logical partitions is unlimited but the Linux SCS1/SATA driver allows for 15.
 
Old 03-07-2017, 07:09 AM   #11
yancek
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Using VirtualBox might be the simplest method. As pointed out above, you can do full installs of various Linux distributions on a usb/flash drive in the same way you install to a standard hard drive. You would be limited only by the size of the flash drive.

You could do one full install and use the Grub2 bootloader and the simply copy the iso file of different distributions to that or another partition and boot the iso. This works with Grub2 for most major Linux distributions. With this method, you would need to manually create boot entries in grub.cfg for the various iso entries. There are a number of sites which explain this and have example entries.

You could also simply install Grub2 to the MBR and partition on the usb/flash drive without an OS. This again will mean manually creating the proper grub.cfg entries.

Grub2 looks for boot files rather than the active/bootable partition so that is irrelevant.

I'd suggest you use Virtualbox but YUMI also works pretty well.
 
Old 03-07-2017, 08:06 AM   #12
hydrurga
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Quote:
Originally Posted by yancek View Post
Using VirtualBox might be the simplest method. As pointed out above, you can do full installs of various Linux distributions on a usb/flash drive in the same way you install to a standard hard drive. You would be limited only by the size of the flash drive.

You could do one full install and use the Grub2 bootloader and the simply copy the iso file of different distributions to that or another partition and boot the iso. This works with Grub2 for most major Linux distributions. With this method, you would need to manually create boot entries in grub.cfg for the various iso entries. There are a number of sites which explain this and have example entries.

You could also simply install Grub2 to the MBR and partition on the usb/flash drive without an OS. This again will mean manually creating the proper grub.cfg entries.

Grub2 looks for boot files rather than the active/bootable partition so that is irrelevant.

I'd suggest you use Virtualbox but YUMI also works pretty well.
+1 for YUMI. If you want your separate distros on the same portable USB stick, it's a great way to do it.
 
Old 03-07-2017, 09:51 AM   #13
tofino_surfer
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Quote:
You could do one full install and use the Grub2 bootloader and the simply copy the iso file of different distributions to that or another partition and boot the iso. This works with Grub2 for most major Linux distributions. With this method, you would need to manually create boot entries in grub.cfg for the various iso entries.
This is true but one thing needs to be understood. Booting the iso file of a Live distribution is the same as simply running a Live distribution off a USB or DVD. The file system would be in memory only as live distributions don't touch the local storage so any changes you made would be lost. You would be able to play around with the GUI and try out various interfaces but you couldn't add software. If you wanted to do actual work and save your files you would need to mount a second drive such as a second flash drive (or another partition on the same flash drive) each time you booted.

Live distributions allow you try out a system or do system maintenance without the local storage mounted (such as the GParted iso file) but you can't modify the system or easily do work with it. It is not the same as actually installing a system to a flash drive or SSD/HDD where you can actually write files to the drive and install new software packages.
 
Old 03-07-2017, 06:09 PM   #14
yancek
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Quote:
You would be able to play around with the GUI and try out various interfaces but you couldn't add software.
It's possible to install software on a Live system and keep it as long as not rebooting. Also, with a persistent system additional software can be installed and saved on reboot. Given the OP just wants to test, YUMI and VirtualBox are probably simpler options.
 
Old 03-09-2017, 08:57 AM   #15
dcs.79c
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How do I mount an external USB flash drive?

I'm a firm believer in the KISS principle. I don't want to fool with grub config files. Even though it's possible to have more than 1 distro on a flash drive that's not KISS. Flash drives are cheap. I can have 1 flash drive for each distro I want to try.

I'd say that I have 2 choices to try out each distro - Live Boot or VirtualBox. As was previously pointed out, Live Boot doesn't save changes. Live Boot is running from the flash drive & VirtualBox uses a virtual environment. Neither one is probably as fast as an actual install. With Live Boot I'd have to reboot every time that I want to try a different distro. With VirtualBox I can try more than 1 distro at a time. So, basically, I'd say that I have only one choice to try out multiple distros - VirtualBox.

I suppose that all of the major distros have the Live Boot option.

Specifically, I want to try Linux Mint, Peppermint, Zorin, Chalet.
 
  


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