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This page is about boot Linux via ["USB"] pendrives in any computer with or without USB-BIOS capability (in this last case, using a BootFloppy). You can install Linux in your USB pendrive or buy it installed.

=== BIOS and USB standard mass storage interface ===

There are two common BIOS methods for direct USB booting:
 * One method is called the "USBHDD" method and it is used to support the booting of standard USB mass storage devices that are configured like a normal PC hard drive.
 * The other method is called the "USBZIP" method and it supports booting from a USB storage device that behaves like the original IOMEGA ZIP drive with USB support.

Most computers (just about all Dells, for example) made today have a BIOS that supports the USBHDD method so I expect that this will eventually become the standard way to boot a USB device. However, many motherboards will support BOTH methods, and many older motherboards have USBZIP support.

You need a USB device with standard mass storage interface and with, '''at least, 128 MBytes''' (the distros uses generally 50 -64 MB) to work with Linux.

See StandardPendrive.

=== USB pendrive location and mount ===

Most USB pendrives are located at device name ["sda"] after they are plugged into the USB port.

However, you can verify this location by typing this command inside a [[terminal]] window:

      dmesg | grep scsi -A 3

and it should tell you the device name for your USB (SCSI emulated) devices and vendor name.

See : ["dmesg"].

If you cannot find it, you have to load the UsbStorage ["module"] (type in a ["terminal"] ''modprobe usb-storage'') and ["mount"] the usb FileSystem s (''mount -t usb-devfs none /proc/bus/usb ).

=== Format the USB key ===
Store your USB pendrive data and the ["root"] used must format it with ["fdisk"] (the USB key must not be mounted).

Press P to see the list of all ["partition"]s and D to exclude the first partition. Unmark all partitions and clean them. Create a new partitin pressing N , P and L . Make it a boot partition selecting the A option (t > 6 create a FAT16 partition, that detects upto 4 GB volumens) and finally press W to store and exit from fdisk.
=== Installation methods ===
There is two installation methods:

 * Burned: from a LiveCD using the utility Install to USB.
 * Unburned: downloading the files and installing them in the USB pendrive. There is two file types : ISO and other types.
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[[Category:USB]] ==== Unburned using DSL ====
To install DamnSmallLinux download the ISO image and as ["root"] user go the directory with the dsl-0.9.2.iso file and :

  mkdir dsl_temp
  
  mkdir dsl_usb
 
  mount -o loop dsl-0.8.3.iso dsl_temp

  cp -a dsl_temp/* dsl_usb

  cd dsl_usb

  mv boot/isolinux/* ./

  rm -Rf boot
 
  mv isolunux.bin syslinux.bin

  mv isolunux.cfg syslinux.cfg

  cd..
 
  mkdir usb_pen

  mount -t vfat /dev/sda1 U usb_pen
  
  cp -a dsl_usb/* usb_pen
 
  umount usb_pen

  syslinux /dev/sda
  

  

See also IsoBuster, ["Isolinux"], ["Grub"] .


=== USB Debian distros ===

 * Debian:
 * DamnSmallLinux, that uses FluxBox , where the majority of Debian USB distros are based .
 * Flonix : based on DamnSmallLinux, but uses IceWM instead of FluxBox .
 * Fedora / RedHat:
 * PuppyLinux , that uses FVWM-95 graphical environment.
 * Gentoo :
 * SPB-Linux , with XFCE4 environment
=== More information ===
 * [http://damnsmalllinux.org/usb.html USB pendrive with Linux preinstalled].
 * http://br-linux.org/noticias/000156.html
 * http://indiboi.com/history/2003/11/18/2887223
 * http://www.qbik.ch/usb/devices/
 * http://www.linux-usb.org/
=== More aditional links ===

 * [http://d-i.alioth.debian.org/manual/en.powerpc/ch04s04.html Preparing Files for USB Memory Stick Booting].
 * [http://www.pcquest.com/content/linux/104010505.asp Booting Linux off USB Storage].
 * [http://d-i.pascal.at/Installing Debian Sarge from a USB memory stick (USB key)].
 * http://fuzzymunchkin.dyndns.org/tdot/usbkeyfob/index.php
 * [http://rz-obrian.rz.uni-karlsruhe.de/knoppix-usb/ Boot KNOPPIX from an USB Memory Stick].
 * [http://lists.debian.org/debian-boot/2004/11/msg01601.html Reboot from USB].
 * [http://www.damnsmalllinux.org/wiki/index.php/Main_Page Damn Small Linux USB boot].
 * [http://groups.yahoo.com/group/bootflashlinux Mail list about booting Debian from a USB flashdrive].

See also:
 * BootingFromFloppyToUsb .
 * ["growisofs"].
 

This page is about boot Linux via ["USB"] pendrives in any computer with or without USB-BIOS capability (in this last case, using a ?BootFloppy). You can install Linux in your USB pendrive or buy it installed.

BIOS and USB standard mass storage interface

There are two common BIOS methods for direct USB booting:

  • One method is called the "USBHDD" method and it is used to support the booting of standard USB mass storage devices that are configured like a normal PC hard drive.
  • The other method is called the "USBZIP" method and it supports booting from a USB storage device that behaves like the original IOMEGA ZIP drive with USB support.

Most computers (just about all Dells, for example) made today have a BIOS that supports the USBHDD method so I expect that this will eventually become the standard way to boot a USB device. However, many motherboards will support BOTH methods, and many older motherboards have USBZIP support.

You need a USB device with standard mass storage interface and with, at least, 128 MBytes (the distros uses generally 50 -64 MB) to work with Linux.

See StandardPendrive.

USB pendrive location and mount

Most USB pendrives are located at device name ["sda"] after they are plugged into the USB port.

However, you can verify this location by typing this command inside a terminal window:

  • dmesg | grep scsi -A 3

and it should tell you the device name for your USB (SCSI emulated) devices and vendor name.

See : ["dmesg"].

If you cannot find it, you have to load the ?UsbStorage ["module"] (type in a ["terminal"] modprobe usb-storage) and ["mount"] the usb FileSystem s (mount -t usb-devfs none /proc/bus/usb ).

Format the USB key

Store your USB pendrive data and the ["root"] used must format it with ["fdisk"] (the USB key must not be mounted).

Press P to see the list of all ["partition"]s and D to exclude the first partition. Unmark all partitions and clean them. Create a new partitin pressing N , P and L . Make it a boot partition selecting the A option (t > 6 create a FAT16 partition, that detects upto 4 GB volumens) and finally press W to store and exit from fdisk.

Installation methods

There is two installation methods:

  • Burned: from a LiveCD using the utility Install to USB.
  • Unburned: downloading the files and installing them in the USB pendrive. There is two file types : ISO and other types.

Unburned using DSL

To install DamnSmallLinux download the ISO image and as ["root"] user go the directory with the dsl-0.9.2.iso file and :

  • mkdir dsl_temp mkdir dsl_usb mount -o loop dsl-0.8.3.iso dsl_temp cp -a dsl_temp/* dsl_usb cd dsl_usb mv boot/isolinux/* ./ rm -Rf boot mv isolunux.bin syslinux.bin mv isolunux.cfg syslinux.cfg cd.. mkdir usb_pen mount -t vfat /dev/sda1 U usb_pen cp -a dsl_usb/* usb_pen umount usb_pen syslinux /dev/sda

See also IsoBuster, ["Isolinux"], ["Grub"] .

USB Debian distros

  • Debian:
  • DamnSmallLinux, that uses FluxBox , where the majority of Debian USB distros are based .

  • Flonix : based on DamnSmallLinux, but uses IceWM instead of FluxBox .

  • Fedora / RedHat:

  • ?PuppyLinux , that uses FVWM-95 graphical environment.

  • Gentoo :
  • SPB-Linux , with XFCE4 environment

More information

See also:

  • ?BootingFromFloppyToUsb .

  • ["growisofs"].