Persistent Linux installation on USB



  • I own no spare hard drives and only one flash drive. Is it possible to write bootable Linux to this flash drive, boot it, and install Linux on the same flash drive? Alternatively, are there any Linux live distros that save changes you make, including installing new drivers? Alternatively, are there any Linux live distros that use NVIDIA proprietary drivers?



  • @gąska said in Persistent Linux installation on USB:

    I own no spare hard drives and only one flash drive. Is it possible to write bootable Linux to this flash drive, boot it, and install Linux on the same flash drive? Alternatively, are there any Linux live distros that save changes you make, including installing new drivers? Alternatively, are there any Linux live distros that use NVIDIA proprietary drivers?

    In the time it took you to write this post you should've probably gone to a dollar store and bought yourself a flash drive :trolleybus:

    Also I'm talking out of my ass here probably, but I think you could partition the stick?



  • @maciejasjmj said in Persistent Linux installation on USB:

    Also I'm talking out of my ass here probably, but I think you could partition the stick?

    I could partition it, but I'm not sure about booting it afterwards.



  • So turns out that BIOS upgrade I did when I tried to solve GPU issue made me unable to boot from USB anymore. So the whole question is :cow: (unless someone tells me how to downgrade Acer Aspire BIOS from within Windows).



  • @gąska said in Persistent Linux installation on USB:

    So turns out that BIOS upgrade I did when I tried to solve GPU issue made me unable to boot from USB anymore.

    Unable how? I've never had that problem with my Aspire S7.

    Did you try toggling UEFI mode?



  • @blakeyrat said in Persistent Linux installation on USB:

    Did you try toggling UEFI mode?

    Huh. It worked. Which is weird because before BIOS update, I didn't have to.

    Looks like Linux Mint can enable NVIDIA drivers after booting and selecting appropriate option. Still working so far, which makes me think it doesn't really use GPU. Downloading Unigine benchmark now to stress test it a little.



  • @gąska said in Persistent Linux installation on USB:

    Huh. It worked. Which is weird because before BIOS update, I didn't have to.

    Well you shouldn't have to either way, it was just something a BIOS update could have done that could have prevented USB boot.



  • @gąska said in Persistent Linux installation on USB:

    I own no spare hard drives and only one flash drive. Is it possible to write bootable Linux to this flash drive, boot it, and install Linux on the same flash drive? Alternatively, are there any Linux live distros that save changes you make, including installing new drivers? Alternatively, are there any Linux live distros that use NVIDIA proprietary drivers?

    I've done it myself with TailsCD. Although the installation guide recommends doing some funky double-installation, there's no need if you don't care about the privacy element. I'm not sure how well it'd fit your needs, however.

    Edit:

    I found out what these sorts of systems are classified as:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Live_USB



  • @sumireko Live USB is Live CD but on USB with maybe some elements preserved in persistent storage file. Different from actual installation. And I need actual installation to mess with drivers.

    Anyway. Downloaded Linux Mint, which has both nouveau and NVIDIA proprietary drivers. After some messing around, I discovered the builtin driver selection menu doesn't work, neither before nor after reboot. So instead I switched manually.

    sudo service lightdm stop
    sudo rmmod nouveau
    sudo modprobe nvidia
    sudo service lightdm start
    

    The good news is, the driver was loaded, the desktop environment started OK, I was logged into GUI session and heard startup jingle. The bad news is, after a couple seconds the computer froze completely and I had to shut it down by holding power button - exactly the same symptoms as on Windows. I officially declare my GPU dead.

    Edit: oh and of course Linux fucked up my system clock.



  • @gąska said in Persistent Linux installation on USB:

    Edit: oh and of course Linux fucked up my system clock.

    In case it's useful, relevant, and you're after dual booting:

    One reason users often set the RTC in localtime is to dual boot with Windows (which uses localtime). However, Windows is able to deal with the RTC being in UTC with a simple registry fix. It is recommended to configure Windows to use UTC, rather than Linux to use localtime.

    Using regedit, add a DWORD value with hexadecimal value 1 to the registry:

    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\TimeZoneInformation\RealTimeIsUniversal

    No citation as to why it's better to do it that way, however.


  • BINNED

    For future reference, Ubuntu and derivatives (such as Mint) have built-in support for persistent storage on live USB drives and are easiest to get this working with. It's merely a matter of checking a checkbox in a bootable USB creation tool that supports it. The built in tools on both Ubuntu and Mint support this, as does uNetBootin which has a Windows version, Yumi and Rufus might also have this though it's been a while since I used any of them so I'm not 100% which ones have it.


  • area_pol

    I am also interested in a USB image with nvidia drivers (without the drivers, it boots to black screen).
    I am trying LiveCDCustomization tutorial, will let you know if it worked.


  • Notification Spam Recipient

    You can also boot from a distro that supports the toram boot parameter

    This frees up the flash drive after boot



  • @pjh said in Persistent Linux installation on USB:

    No citation as to why it's better to do it that way, however.

    OSX also uses UTC, so you'd have problems dual-booting Windows and OSX too.



  • @adynathos said in Persistent Linux installation on USB:

    I am also interested in a USB image with nvidia drivers (without the drivers, it boots to black screen).

    I've had this problem. You may not need NVidia drivers to fix it, you may just need to boot with argument nouveau.noaccel=1.


  • area_pol

    @heterodox The way i booted was to add nomodeset in GRUB when booting from USB.
    But having the NVidia drivers directly in the image seems more elegant, so I am researching it for the future.



  • @adynathos said in Persistent Linux installation on USB:

    @heterodox The way i booted was to add nomodeset in GRUB when booting from USB.
    But having the NVidia drivers directly in the image seems more elegant, so I am researching it for the future.

    nomodeset worked for me as I recall but also borked graphics more.


  • BINNED

    @adynathos said in Persistent Linux installation on USB:

    @heterodox The way i booted was to add nomodeset in GRUB when booting from USB.
    But having the NVidia drivers directly in the image seems more elegant, so I am researching it for the future.

    I still have to use nomodeset even with NVidia drivers. Had to do it for both my old 960 and my new 1060. Mind you there might be other factors apart from the GPU itself, but that's my experience anyway.

    Debian testing btw, happened both on Jessie and now on Stretch.


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