Author Topic: Creating a portable OS on a USB pendrive. RESOLVED  (Read 892 times)

Offline Fitzroy

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Creating a portable OS on a USB pendrive. RESOLVED
« on: September 06, 2020, 02:05:23 am »
I have a "copy" of Peppermint and also of Manjaro on a USB stick which I believe is called a live USB? I'm given to understand that it's possible to put a complete OS on to a USB drive as if it was a HDD drive in other words as a portable laptop.

I'm not sure I'm explaining myself very well here but hopefully someone will be able to make sense of my ramblings!

Just to try to clarify I want to have a USB stick with the OS loaded and all my files as well so that I'm carrying round a "cloned" version of my HDD on a USB drive.

First is it possible and second how do I do it if it is?

Any help gratefully received.

Thanks, Fitzroy
« Last Edit: September 20, 2020, 03:23:40 am by Fitzroy »

Online VinDSL

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Re: Creating a portable OS on a USB pendrive
« Reply #1 on: September 06, 2020, 11:14:31 am »
I've done something like this many, many times over the years. I used to call it my 'Pocket PC', until someone brought it to my attention that Pocket PCs were actually a thing - and I was confusing ppl by calling it that.   ;D

Anyway, it's easy to make a 'portable laptop' for want of another phrase. But, it does require two (2) USB sticks.

All one needs to do is make a Live USB stick, and boot into a live session. Then, plug a second USB stick into a spare USB port and do a full install to the second USB stick, instead of the SSD/HDD drive.

When installation is complete, just boot from the USB that you created, and away you go.

I've never actually "cloned" data to a bootable USB stick with persistence. I just copy n' paste what I need to the stick. I suppose one could do a data backup of the SSD/HDD and restore it to the USB, but that's just a guess.

Like I said, I've done this many times. As an experiment, I ran one of my bots 24/7/365, off one of these sticks.  I wanted to see how long the USB stick would survive constant read/write activity. It lasted almost 2 years before it started getting errors. Last recorded uptime was 285 days.

Have fun!
« Last Edit: September 06, 2020, 11:25:42 am by VinDSL »

Offline Fitzroy

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Re: Creating a portable OS on a USB pendrive
« Reply #2 on: September 06, 2020, 01:25:26 pm »
Hi, VinDSL,

I did as you directed and booted up the live USB and then asked it to install as you would normally do if you were installing on the HDD.

However, when it came to the  partition stage it only showed the HDD no option to install anywhere else - in this case the second USB.

I must be missing something or not doing something presumably?

Any ideas?

Regards, Fitzroy

Online VinDSL

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Re: Creating a portable OS on a USB pendrive
« Reply #3 on: September 06, 2020, 01:38:15 pm »
I did as you directed and booted up the live USB and then asked it to install as you would normally do if you were installing on the HDD.

I always use "Something else" in Ubiquity, to setup/choose the partitions where to install it.

You should see the USB stick in there.

Perhaps I should write a HowTo on this, when I get some time...   ;)

Offline Fitzroy

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Re: Creating a portable OS on a USB pendrive
« Reply #4 on: September 07, 2020, 03:11:21 am »
Hi, Vin DSL,

Perhaps I should tell you what I have done and you can tell me where I'm going wrong if you wouldn't mind?

I have Manjaro on a USB drive and have formatted another USB.

Booted up the live USB with Manjaro and started to install. When it gets to the partition bit there's nothing to show a USB stick or any option to install on anything other than the HDD. There's no option that says "something else".

What is Ubiquity? and why do I need it?

I'm obviously doing something wrong or missing something out and if you can help I'll be very grateful.

Cheers.

Offline invisible

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Re: Creating a portable OS on a USB pendrive
« Reply #5 on: September 07, 2020, 01:27:48 pm »
Ubiquity is the name of the installer used by Peppermint (the same installer as used in Ubuntu)

Manjaro uses a different installer. If you wish to install Manjaro, it would be more appropriate to seek advice from the Manjaro website & forum.

If you boot up your Peppermint USB, you should come across "Something else" during the installation procedure.

Offline Fitzroy

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Re: Creating a portable OS on a USB pendrive
« Reply #6 on: September 07, 2020, 01:50:35 pm »
Hi, invisible,

No I'm happy to try Peppermint just thought I'd give Manjaro a try for a change.

I remember when I installed Peppermint the "something else" option so I'll try P10 instead.  Presumably at that point it will give me the option of installing to the second USB drive?

Thanks for the info.

Regards, Fitzroy


Offline invisible

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Re: Creating a portable OS on a USB pendrive
« Reply #7 on: September 07, 2020, 04:19:12 pm »
Are you familiar with the choices of the older legacy/BIOS booting and UEFI booting?

When you install Peppermint on your second usb stick, it will install based on how you booted the live system.

Boot in legacy = installation in legacy
Boot in UEFI =installation in UEFI

One or other of these methods may inhibit further use of your "portable" device when trying to boot on an unfamiliar machine without access to the machine's BIOS/UEFI set up.

A way to avoid this difficulty is to make a live usb with persistence (i.e.storage area) and which boots in both legacy and UEFI mode.

Here is a link for some bedtime reading:-

https://help.ubuntu.com/community/mkusb

Reading the web page is more daunting than trying the software.  ;D

I've used mkusb for many years and I find it very reliable. Peppermint is also ideal because it boots rapidly and you can boot with or without persistence via a grub choice.

Good luck with your project

Offline Fitzroy

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Re: Creating a portable OS on a USB pendrive
« Reply #8 on: September 08, 2020, 03:04:33 am »
Hi, invisible,

Thanks for the info. and link,

I thought I was keeping up OK but I think this is now above my level of competence and ability!!  You were right about the web page being daunting although the word bewildering is more appropriate for me.

I don't really know anything about legacy or EUFI booting.  Sorry to be so dim,  you're probably regretting getting involved by now!!

I've read just now that one should remove the HDD drive whilst doing this,  is that true or necessary do you think?

I'm going to give it a go but I'll be entirely honest when I say most of the terminology and tech. speak is beyond my level of understanding - not that that is saying much.  ;D

Thanks for your help and advice I hope I can make good use of it.

Regards, Fitzroy. 

Offline invisible

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Re: Creating a portable OS on a USB pendrive
« Reply #9 on: September 08, 2020, 03:58:48 am »
When installing additional operating systems, I think it is good practice to remove (or deactivate) your internal drives to prevent overwriting your system. With some PCs, it may be impossible if the drive is soldered onto the motherboard.

However, modern devices have settings in the UEFI set up screens to de-activate drives, usb ports, video output etc.

Also, before attempting any OS installation, it is essential that you have restorable back-ups. Back-ups are a Get out of jail free card.

Offline Fitzroy

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Re: Creating a portable OS on a USB pendrive
« Reply #10 on: September 08, 2020, 07:04:47 am »
Thanks for the update and for your help and advice,  I'll give it a go tomorrow.

I'm using a desktop PC so the HDD is presumably a sata connection so shouldn't be a problem disconnecting it. 

Many thanks again for your help and patience.

Regards, Fitzroy.


Offline rayzer

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Re: Creating a portable OS on a USB pendrive
« Reply #11 on: September 12, 2020, 03:00:36 pm »
installing to a usb can take much longer to install and boot but once running it performs well. i have xubuntu core on a 8gb stick and its really bare apart from some tools like disk utilities
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Offline stevesveryown

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Re: Creating a portable OS on a USB pendrive
« Reply #12 on: September 13, 2020, 07:55:03 pm »
I remember when I installed Pepp 5 on a sdcard when the hard drive failed on my Asus Netbook.  It did the job until my new hard drive came in.  I just selected the sdcard in the installer.

Offline alynur

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Re: Creating a portable OS on a USB pendrive
« Reply #13 on: September 15, 2020, 12:08:09 pm »
Hi Fitzroy, be sure to use a usb stick of at least 32gb, the bigger the better. You will need to know if you're going to make it a Legacy or EUFI  bootable system because you'll have to prep the usb stick for a EUFI installation. If you can, definitely disconnect the hard drive, that way when grub is created it won't list the computer's hard drive. There have been a few conversations about how to do this here before, look under Installation in the forum. Good luck.
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