Installing a bootable OS on a USB drive

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Installing a bootable OS on a USB drive

Post by ampakine on Thu Aug 04, 2011 1:02 pm
([msg=60551]see Installing a bootable OS on a USB drive[/msg])

I just got an 8GB USB drive and want to install linux (probably backtrack or blackbuntu) on it so that I can bootup my own OS on whatever computer I'm on (i.e. the computers at college or at the library). What I'm trying to figure out though is how do I get the computer to boot up the USB drive? I can't go overwriting the MBR and installing my own bootloader on the computers at college. Live linux CD's are cool cuz computers automatically boot them up by default and if needs be I can modify them to make my own custom live CD's but having a live USB distro would obviously be better cuz unlike a CD/DVD, you can write data back to the USB drive. I'm guessing plenty of you here are experienced with making USB distros so can you share how you get computers to boot your USB distro.
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Re: Installing a bootable OS on a USB drive

Post by tremor77 on Thu Aug 04, 2011 1:24 pm
([msg=60552]see Re: Installing a bootable OS on a USB drive[/msg])

It would be in the BIOS startup options of the individual PC itself. Some older PC's do not even have the option/ability to boot from USB. You need to enable the USB boot option, then in the boot order you would want:

1. USB Device
2. CD-Rom
3. C:\

If you are unable to access BIOS or USB Boot is not a configurable option, maybe consider a workaround... burn a bootable CD-ROM that launches the OS on USB.
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Re: Installing a bootable OS on a USB drive

Post by mShred on Thu Aug 04, 2011 1:32 pm
([msg=60553]see Re: Installing a bootable OS on a USB drive[/msg])

Keep in mind that most public computers will edit the BIOS so you can't do things like that. But if you are able to load a live CD, then you should be fine. Just go into boot settings at startup.
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Re: Installing a bootable OS on a USB drive

Post by conscience on Thu Aug 04, 2011 3:34 pm
([msg=60556]see Re: Installing a bootable OS on a USB drive[/msg])

Ingredients (usually):
  • A bootable partition on a USB drive
  • An appropriate second stage bootloader on the volume
  • The OS on the volume

The MBR loads second stage, the second stage loads the OS.
Make a research on the actual boot sequence of the OS you want to load (Google will do I guess)

Oh! You'll need a machine capable of booting USB drives as well
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Re: Installing a bootable OS on a USB drive

Post by Phantom Wolf on Thu Aug 04, 2011 10:39 pm
([msg=60566]see Re: Installing a bootable OS on a USB drive[/msg])

Some computers might be able to boot USB, but set up to boot hard disk first. If this is the case, there's usually a key you can hold down during boot to get a menu allowing you to choose what device to boot. Of course, this won't work if booting USB is disabled.
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Re: Installing a bootable OS on a USB drive

Post by LoGiCaL__ on Thu Aug 04, 2011 10:49 pm
([msg=60567]see Re: Installing a bootable OS on a USB drive[/msg])

Some computers might be able to boot USB, but set up to boot hard disk first. If this is the case, there's usually a key you can hold down during boot to get a menu allowing you to choose what device to boot. Of course, this won't work if booting USB is disabled.


If it happens to be a dell, the key is F12 while it is booting up.
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Re: Installing a bootable OS on a USB drive

Post by tremor77 on Thu Aug 04, 2011 11:14 pm
([msg=60568]see Re: Installing a bootable OS on a USB drive[/msg])

LoGiCaL__ wrote:
Some computers might be able to boot USB, but set up to boot hard disk first. If this is the case, there's usually a key you can hold down during boot to get a menu allowing you to choose what device to boot. Of course, this won't work if booting USB is disabled.


If it happens to be a dell, the key is F12 while it is booting up.


Repeatedly mashing F8 also tends to be common and/or repeatedly mashing SHIFT & C or CTRL & C
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Re: Installing a bootable OS on a USB drive

Post by centip3de on Fri Aug 05, 2011 12:20 am
([msg=60569]see Re: Installing a bootable OS on a USB drive[/msg])

tremor77 wrote:
LoGiCaL__ wrote:
Some computers might be able to boot USB, but set up to boot hard disk first. If this is the case, there's usually a key you can hold down during boot to get a menu allowing you to choose what device to boot. Of course, this won't work if booting USB is disabled.


If it happens to be a dell, the key is F12 while it is booting up.


Repeatedly mashing F8 also tends to be common and/or repeatedly mashing SHIFT & C or CTRL & C


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Re: Installing a bootable OS on a USB drive

Post by ampakine on Fri Aug 05, 2011 4:54 pm
([msg=60606]see Re: Installing a bootable OS on a USB drive[/msg])

tremor77 wrote:If you are unable to access BIOS or USB Boot is not a configurable option, maybe consider a workaround... burn a bootable CD-ROM that launches the OS on USB.

Didn't think of that, thanks. Thats probably what I'm gonna do. I'll keep a boot CD in my bag for situations where I can't manually boot the USB OS.
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Re: Installing a bootable OS on a USB drive

Post by tremor77 on Tue Aug 09, 2011 2:30 pm
([msg=60716]see Re: Installing a bootable OS on a USB drive[/msg])

ampakine wrote:
tremor77 wrote:If you are unable to access BIOS or USB Boot is not a configurable option, maybe consider a workaround... burn a bootable CD-ROM that launches the OS on USB.

Didn't think of that, thanks. Thats probably what I'm gonna do. I'll keep a boot CD in my bag for situations where I can't manually boot the USB OS.


+points for me I actually helped someone instead of trolling for once.
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