I always like to have live OS on sticks and tools to check PCs I'm tring to fix at hand, but sometimes I use custom images or the tools comes without a usb-installation procedure so I find pretty annoying to try to use win style several not properly working tools that are supposed to make usb bootable so here it is a procedure that should work for any custom.
To install a live USB system on a memory the following steps need to be done :
- A USB flash drive needs to be connected to the system, and be detected by it
- One or more partitions may need to be created on the USB flash drive
- The "bootable" flag must be set on the primary partition on the USB flash drive
- A MBR must be written to the primary partition of the USB flash drive
- The partition must be formatted (most often in FAT32 format, but other systems can be used too)
- A bootloader must be installed to the partition (most often using syslinux when installing a Linux system)
- A bootloader configuration file (if used) must be written
- The necessary files of the operating system and default applications must be copied to the USB flash drive
- Language and keyboard files (if used) must be written to the USB flash drive
note: drive used here is a usb drive located on /dev/sdb so make changes accordingly (eg a hard drive install would use /dev/hdc instead)
First Step - format the drive
optional, only suggested if you're drive needs a good cleaning
(this may take a long time given the size of the drive)
dd if=/dev/zero of=/dev/sda bs=8MSecond Step - create FAT partitions (syslinux requires FAT)
Third Step - format FAT partition
this will create a FAT16 partition with the boot flag set
mkdosfs /dev/sdb1Fourth Step - install syslinux
syslinux /dev/sdb1Fifth Step - mount drive and setup syslinux
mount /dev/sdb1 /mnt/sdb1Sixth Step - copy over the Memtest image
(look inside the partition, it should have a file called ldlinux.sys)
we now need to create a file called syslinux.cfg written with the following:default memtest
either grab the source and compile your own binary, or simple download the Pre-Compiled Bootable Binary from the memtest86+ site:Seventh Step - install MBR
gunzip the file, and you will find a file called memtest86+xxxx.bin, rename this file to memtest and copy it to the drive:
cp memtest86+xxxx.bin /mnt/sdb1/memtest
you can unmount the drive now:
now install the Master Boot Record:
dd if=/usr/lib/syslinux/mbr.bin of=/dev/sdb bs=512 count=1
Done. You can now boot the drive. Make sure you make the appropriate changes to your BIOS.
and as a last reference following are several live distros links:
- BackTrack: A distribution of linux that is made with security in mind and is commonly used for cracking WEP passcodes and has live installs including USB and CD.
- BeleniX: Customized OpenSolaris installs including live CD and live USB.
- Billix: A multiboot distribution and system administration toolkit with the ability to install any of the included distributions.
- Damn Small Linux: Knoppix derived small installation, uses a 2.4 kernel, with JWM as default user interface.
- Devil-Linux: for service installations e.g. firewall/router, no graphical interface, can boot from CD or USB.
- dyne:bolic: 100% free distribution for multimedia production, boots from CD and USB stick, with Xfce as default user interface.
- FaunOS: a live USB distribution based on Arch Linux
- Fedora (with Fedora Live USB creator)
- Gentoo Gentoo USB Live.
- Knoppix: Full live CD/USB based on Debian distro.
- Knopperdisk: A small distribution based on Gentoo but designed to be run from USB pen drives or floppy disks.
- MCNLive: Mandriva derived live CD, and live USB distribution.
- MilaX: Small OpenSolaris live CD and live USB distribution.
- MooLux: Live-USB Linux based on linux Slackware that can be installed to hard drive with focus on Internet applications, multimedia and programming tools.
- NimbleX: A small (200mb) distribution based on Slackware.
- OpenSolaris: The Distribution Constructor project has tools allowing users to build an install image.
- OS-9 RTOS: The standard OS-9 Configuration Wizard for X86 creates bootable USB sticks. OS-9 5.0 for X86 will support the creation of bootable CDs.
- PCLinuxOS: Version 2009.1 comes with a live USB creator tool, version 2008 "MiniMe" can be installed manually
- Pentoo: Gentoo based live CD and live USB distribution focused on penetration testing and security assessment.
- Puppy Linux Designed for easy install on USB.
- RUNT Linux: Based on Slackware with a 2.4 kernel and Umsdos filesystem. Designed as a network testing tool for students at North Carolina State University.
- sidux: Based on Debian unstable (sid)
- Slax: Slackware based installation.
- Sugar (desktop_environment) - Sugar on a Stick is a LiveUSB for children and learning.
- Super OS: usb-creator and cd2usb already included on the DVD
- Ubuntu (can be installed directly to a flash drive or USB external hard drive manually by using tools like usb-creator, UNetbootin, or cd2usb)
- Windows Preinstallation Environment: Freely available version of a live Windows installation, command-line only.
long live knowledge alex