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Old 03-27-2017, 06:43 PM   #1
ykffc
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running Linux Mint without Hard Disk


I have a laptop that cannot be boot up normally and I like to find out if I can access its data by running on the same computer (which is Intel based) another OS.

I am thinking to find running Linux Mint WITHOUT a HARD DISK. Is that possible? After checking some internet resources I've got the answer being yes. In other words I assume no matter I have REMOVED the hard disk or not, no matter the only hard disk in my laptop is faulty or not, and no matter if a corrupted hard disk is still connected or not Linux Mint will just run. Kindly re-confirm me. If the answer is positive, read on.

Now further questions:
a) assume I have already created and tested a Linux Mint boot CD/USB (I have experience only with the MATE desktop version) on another computer. I can take that USB/CD to my laptop and make it to boot up in live mode to confirm the answer. The system should boot and it WILL NOT even try to write anything onto the hard disk even a working disk is connected. Is that true?

b) The system must need some disk space for RAM data swapping. etc. Will the system always create a "RAM disk" and it will never using any space on my hard disk even it is present? What is the minimum ram size required?

c) Question in related to persistent mode and with different computers: Assume I already have a tested USB boot disk with Linux Mate. Assume i had taken it to Computer A and because I did not plan to install Linux onto its hard disk I run Linux in persistent mod on computer A. After I while I shutdown the system. Can I take the same USB live USB and use it in a very different computer or laptop B and trying out in persistent mode without any issues?

Excuse me if I am not good in explaining what I need to find out.

Last edited by ykffc; 03-27-2017 at 06:46 PM.
 
Old 03-27-2017, 06:57 PM   #2
jefro
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Linux doesn't need a mechanical drive to work.

Maybe the most common way is to create a simple live usb. I make them like a real install but others and I have and do use creators. You may have to have a working computer to make it under mac,windows or linux or even live boot. Sounds like you used a creator already.

So to answer #1, yes, it might boot and should not normally write to hard drive. Some distro's are mounting the internal drives automatically and I'm not sure that is really a great idea. However you can mount and read, write to it if it is electromagnetically sound still.

I think mint is a poor choice for minimal but as I recall you need a bit more than a gig ram to run live or abouts depending on hardware. You can make swap on a flash drive and I do usually even if I don't need it.

Maybe you can move a usb. They should in theory be portable but things like video and nic drivers are a stinker of a deal. The second big concern is UEFI. You usually have to create one or the other but a dual type usb can be made.

Last edited by jefro; 03-27-2017 at 06:58 PM.
 
Old 03-27-2017, 08:20 PM   #3
Ztcoracat
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Quote:
I am thinking to find running Linux Mint WITHOUT a HARD DISK. Is that possible?
Yes, I do it all the time with usb flash drives of Live distributions.

Quote:
I can take that USB/CD to my laptop and make it to boot up in live mode to confirm the answer. The system should boot and it WILL NOT even try to write anything onto the hard disk even a working disk is connected. Is that true?
Correct.
Unless you double click on the icon "Install To Hard Disk" the os 'will not' walk you through the installation.

IF you have trouble getting the Live USB to boot just enter into the BIOs and set the machine to boot to usb as the first boot priority.

Quote:
What is the minimum ram size required?
512 MB but 1 GB is recommended:- <for Linux Mint that is>

Quote:
Can I take the same USB live USB and use it in a very different computer or laptop B and trying out in persistent mode without any issues?
You should be able to however; like jefro said;"there's UEFI".

If your machine is a UEFI machine in order to install Linux you will have to go into the BIOS and disable the 'secure boot' and 'quick boot' and possibly have to create and /efi partition.

-::-If for some reason the machine won't boot the live usb flash drive you'll have to disable the secure boot.-::-

Quote:
Excuse me if I am not good in explaining what I need to find out.
You have done an exceptional job at explaining.
Soldier on:-
 
Old 03-27-2017, 10:12 PM   #4
ykffc
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Thumbs up

Quote:
Originally Posted by jefro View Post
Sounds like you used a creator already.
Yes, I am using LinuxLive 2.9.x

Quote:
Originally Posted by jefro View Post
Some distro's are mounting the internal drives automatically.
Even if the system is not mounting it automatically but my plan is to mount the drive anyway. This is because the reason to run Linux is because the system cannot boot up Windows in the normal way. The main reason for booting up Linux from live CD/USB is to mount the internal disk afterwards. And then try to retrieve the required and critical data and other files. Will this mounting of internal drive action reduce our chances to retrieve more data files?

Quote:
Originally Posted by jefro View Post
The second big concern is UEFI. You usually have to create one or the other but a dual type usb can be made.
Not quite fully understand your comment at this moment.

This question is only academic. If sharing the same USB may generate new issues I change the plan to have for each system its own copy of Linux live usb drive.

Thanks to all those who provide answers.
 
Old 03-28-2017, 07:49 AM   #5
yancek
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Some Linux systems will mount some partitions on boot, even a Live DVD/usb. Others do not. I think Mint will and you can check by navigating to the /media/mint directory once you have booted. You should see partitions listed there by UUID. Otherwise, you will have to manually mount the partition. If you don't mount the partition, you won't be able to access it and won't be able to copy any data from it to another drive.

You should be able to use the same USB on different computers if you are running it as a 'Live' medium.
 
Old 03-28-2017, 10:26 AM   #6
JeremyBoden
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You can mount disk partitions of a sick hard disk, preferably as read-only, and copy or backup files to (for example) an external disk.

Whether it will over-strain your hard disk depends on the cause of the imminent failure!

Linux will not use the hard disk for writing, including swap space. Only partitions which you mount as write-capable and which you explicitly write to will get altered.
 
Old 03-28-2017, 12:04 PM   #7
BW-userx
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welllll its not Mint but it is something I developed to be able to install a full blown Linux OS onto a USB Stick and run it just like it is on a hard drive. the only thing is you'll have to install the xbps package manger on to a Posx system - which I have installed them on a Slackware instillation and it worked fine.

Install Void Linux onto a USB Stick

but this might be a little bit too tecky for you. So I'll just leave it as a suggestion.

Last edited by BW-userx; 03-28-2017 at 12:06 PM.
 
Old 03-28-2017, 02:54 PM   #8
jefro
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UEFI explanation.

UEFI and Legacy bios have issues when regards to Linux. You may have a great working legacy boot usb drive that will not easily work on a newer system.

UEFI is, so far, a broken replacement for the older broken legacy bios.
 
Old 03-28-2017, 03:38 PM   #9
JeremyBoden
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What kind of issues?
I have no problems with UEFI boot from hard disk or a legacy style boot from USB on the same PC.
 
Old 03-28-2017, 06:44 PM   #10
jefro
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I was explaining the question that the OP asked. They said it was academic.

Last edited by jefro; 03-30-2017 at 04:20 PM.
 
Old 03-28-2017, 09:06 PM   #11
DDukes
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@ OP

If you're paranoid about LM leaving traces or writes to any storage, you can run the LiveDVD/USB completely in ram if you have enough resources.

When the boot screen comes up, use the arrow key to select the image. Then hit the e key to edit the boot code. Find the image line and add toram at the end of the line. Hit b or some other key to boot. This is not permanent. You must do this at every reboot.

All things done in this session will be gone on the next reboot.

Better yet, boot LM normally via the LiveDVD/USB and install LM onto your usb stick and select to encrypt home directory. This way you have the best in both worlds -- a portable transportable LM installation with an encrypted home directory/partition.

Last edited by DDukes; 03-28-2017 at 10:34 PM.
 
1 members found this post helpful.
Old 03-30-2017, 02:37 PM   #12
Shadow_7
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I use the same USB install on many machines. You may need to doing fancy things. Like on my hp stream 11s I need to spam ESC on boot to boot from USB. On a gateway I need to spam F12 to boot from USB. Plus other quirks depending on if the motherboard supports GPT partitioning, and UEFI / secure boot concerns. But it IS very much possible.

One common quirk is that udev will change your interface name when you have a new device with a new MAC address for your networking device(s). So be sure to remove the /etc/udev/rules.d/*net* rules before you shutdown if your scripts expect a hardcoded dev name. Or change your scripts. And other quirks like various usb devices that are not bootable by default. The built in card reader on my hp stream 11 is such a thing. But I can boot another usb device and use configfile in grub to chainload the bootloader / OS from that reader. And then pull the bootable usb device once in the other grub / booted.
 
Old 03-30-2017, 06:34 PM   #13
RockDoctor
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shadow_7 View Post
But I can boot another usb device and use configfile in grub to chainload the bootloader / OS from that reader. And then pull the bootable usb device once in the other grub / booted.
When I first got my Stream 11, I didn't have a large USB device, so I plugged in a 16 GB SD card and installed Ubuntu-Mate there with /boot initially going on the internal eMMC alongside Windows.
 
Old 03-30-2017, 07:04 PM   #14
Ztcoracat
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ykffc:

How are things running?

Don't forget to mark your thread SOLVED.
 
Old 04-02-2017, 01:52 AM   #15
ykffc
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JeremyBoden View Post
You can mount disk partitions of a sick hard disk, preferably as read-only, and copy or backup files to (for example) an external disk.

Whether it will over-strain your hard disk depends on the cause of the imminent failure!

Linux will not use the hard disk for writing, including swap space. Only partitions which you mount as write-capable and which you explicitly write to will get altered.

I prepared the bootable LM USB using LinuxLive freeware, just follow the instructions from www.

I thought there is no option to control whether or not disk partitions will be mount by LM. I assume it will always try to mount it for reading by default. If there are ways to control this I like to know how. Reading your reply there are ways to mount a volume as read-only or write-capable. How?

Last edited by ykffc; 04-02-2017 at 01:54 AM.
 
  


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