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dual boot, on a flash drive?

Discussion in 'Linux Compatibility and Software' started by nailbeeer, Feb 21, 2009.

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  1. nailbeeer

    nailbeeer Notebook Enthusiast

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    just wondering, is it possible to put multiple OS installs on a single USB flash drive, and maybe still have space for files on it, as well? mine is 16gb. but also, i don't know how to install an OS onto a flash drive. i ordered an eee 901, it should come next week sometime, and i want to experiment with different kinds of linux and gain experience with that, of which i have absolutely none of atm.

    do you need to partition the drive, and is that even possible on a flash drive? does it need to be completely clear of everything else to install an OS?
     
  2. ALLurGroceries

    ALLurGroceries   Super Moderator

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    Yes, you can partition a USB stick and boot multiple OSes off of it. You can probably fit 2 or 3 full linux distributions on 16GB depending on which you choose. Good luck :)

    Whether you clear it entirely or not is your choice, you can either resize the existing partition(s) or start fresh.
     
  3. nailbeeer

    nailbeeer Notebook Enthusiast

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    how do you partition a flash drive, and, er, how do you install an OS in it?
     
  4. ALLurGroceries

    ALLurGroceries   Super Moderator

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    It's easy to resize/repartition from the linux installer.... installing the OS is a bit of a different story, that'll be dependent on which you want to install... A good place to start is pendrive linux

    Note that there's a lot of guides there for installing FROM usb, you want to install TO usb, so make sure to keep that in mind...
     
  5. nailbeeer

    nailbeeer Notebook Enthusiast

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    so if find something to install from, when i start installing it is there an option to select which drive to install to, or what partition?
     
  6. ALLurGroceries

    ALLurGroceries   Super Moderator

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    Yes, the installers differ between linux distributions, but most allow you to resize partitions. All of them have a partitioning step where you create and set the mount points of the partitions. It's important to make sure you are partitioning the USB stick and not your internal hard disk, but beyond that it's pretty straightforward. There are loads of tutorials on that site I linked and others. It'll require a bit of reading no matter what distro you choose.
     
  7. nailbeeer

    nailbeeer Notebook Enthusiast

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    awesome, thanks for the help, guess i've got some reading to do.
     
  8. ALLurGroceries

    ALLurGroceries   Super Moderator

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    Yeah, post back if you have a specific problem, somebody here will help! Good luck ;)
     
  9. kingbob

    kingbob Notebook Evangelist

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    I am trying to determine if my pc will boot from a usb drive. I plugged in an empty usb drive, restarted, entered bios, and I am still only showing three boot devices, cd/dvd, hdd, and gasp, floppy drive. No usb option. Am I correct in assuming that booting from usb in not an option on my pc, or is there another way to check it? Thanks. I had hoped to try running Linux from a usb drive to test it out as the live cd is so slow that it is almost unusable.
     
  10. ALLurGroceries

    ALLurGroceries   Super Moderator

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    Hmm... it should show 'removable devices' in your boot order or somesuch, if not, you probably can't boot from USB. That'd have to be an older machine, you might try looking for a BIOS update.
     
  11. kingbob

    kingbob Notebook Evangelist

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    Yea, it is 5 1/2 years old. The latest BIOS update from the manufacturer is a 2005 version, which I have already done. There are no removable devices shown in my boot order. There are only 3 devices shown in my boot order, floppy, cd/dvd rw, and hdd. I also have a dvd ROM drive and it is not shown either. I guess I am out of luck?
     
  12. ALLurGroceries

    ALLurGroceries   Super Moderator

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    Yeah, if you can't add removable devices to your boot order you're probably out of luck, sorry :(

    Edit: This isn't uncommon though for older notebooks, so it's not anything you're doing wrong..
     
  13. kingbob

    kingbob Notebook Evangelist

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    Rep for you. I really appreciate all the help you have given me and I hope you won't mind answering more questions as I go along. Thanks.

    I have to decide whether to partition and install it on my hdd and dual boot with XP, or buy anoher hdd and install it there and swap back and forth in the BIOS. What do you think about that? As soon as my wife goes to bed, I'm going to check the BIOS in her laptop and see if it can boot from usb, then maybe I can test it out there. :D It is only a few months old so hopefully it will be able to boot from usb.
     
  14. ALLurGroceries

    ALLurGroceries   Super Moderator

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    Yeah, I lurk here all the time, I'll answer anything I can ;)

    It's pretty easy to resize your windows partition to make space for linux partitions and dual booting, but you'd want to thoroughly defragment your disk and run a chkdsk first to be safe (make sure there are no filesystem errors before resizing).

    Anything with USB 2.0 will most certainly boot off of USB, so you should be all clear there.
     
  15. kingbob

    kingbob Notebook Evangelist

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    I have usb 2.0 on my pc too and it doesn't show in the boot order. I am going to check hers out soon. I gave you rep but it is still showing the same number under your name, why's that? I still don't understand how the rep points are determined and how many rep points I have to give.
     
  16. ALLurGroceries

    ALLurGroceries   Super Moderator

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    Hm, that's weird, guess there are obvious exceptions. It's something I've noticed, not anything about USB 2.0 having anything to do with booting.

    For the rep points, I see your rep in my user CP (thanks ;)) but until my post count goes higher I won't get more bars... I think I have to break 1k to get another. I'm not exactly sure....

    Edit: There it goes, just went from 4 to 5, I dunno about the bars though. The rep system totally confuses me too...
     
  17. kingbob

    kingbob Notebook Evangelist

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    So you're an East Coast night owl too. I'm in MA.
     
  18. ALLurGroceries

    ALLurGroceries   Super Moderator

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    Haha, nice, yea, I'm a bit nocturnal ;)
     
  19. kingbob

    kingbob Notebook Evangelist

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    I'm going to read up on this link now. Thanks for the info.
     
  20. ALLurGroceries

    ALLurGroceries   Super Moderator

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    It'll be a lot faster from USB but still not as fast as from hard disk, better than the Live CD though...
     
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