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Thread: Creating bootable USB flash drive from an INSTALLATION DVD (not ISO)

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    Default Creating bootable USB flash drive from an INSTALLATION DVD (not ISO)

    I have an OpenSuSE 11.2 32-bit installation DVD from DLHSites.com. I've used it to install OpenSuSE on my laptop and desktop. Now I want to use it to create a bootable USB flash drive for a friend. Can I do it?

    I've read the OpenSuSE SDB article on creating a bootable USB flash drive from either a network download or an ISO image on a DVD. Neither case seems to apply here, since there's no ISO image on the installation DVD.

    My friend's hard-drive seems to be wearing out. She's running OpenSuSE 10.2. Her root partition fsck fails at boot, and Ctrl-D fails to fix the problem. Other partitions seem to be ok, for the time being -- including the initial Windows partition, which she has now started using again because Linux won't come up.

    I'd like to install 11.2 for her, but I don't want to install onto a defective drive. At the same time, I don't want to replace the drive because I don't want to dispose of the OEM Windows on partition 1.

    I'm thinking that a live Linux running on a USB stick might be the solution. I know that USB memory has a lifetime of about 100,000 read/write cycles, at best, but I don't know how that translates into time. It depends on how much she uses the system and how often RAM is used in place of persistent storage. I've also read that there is even a limit to how many times the USB stick can be mounted before it fails. Are my concerns justified?

    Oddly enough, my own harddrive, running under 10.2, failed with the same symptoms a week or two before hers did. The coincidence is hard to explain, since my computer is 11 years old and hers only about 4, and I installed 10.2 about two years before she did.

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    Default Re : Creating bootable USB flash drive from an INSTALLATION DVD (not ISO)

    Quote Originally Posted by NonZ View Post
    I have an OpenSuSE 11.2 32-bit installation DVD from DLHSites.com. I've used it to install OpenSuSE on my laptop and desktop. Now I want to use it to create a bootable USB flash drive for a friend. Can I do it?

    I've read the OpenSuSE SDB article on creating a bootable USB flash drive from either a network download or an ISO image on a DVD. Neither case seems to apply here, since there's no ISO image on the installation DVD.
    But you can create one with the DVD with the help of k3b or Brasero.

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    Default Re: Re : Creating bootable USB flash drive from an INSTALLATION DVD (not ISO)

    You should create a .iso from the DVD with k3b
    Then use that to make the USB

    But you know the DVD is not a running OS / Live Desktop, it just installs.
    You sound like you want a live OS
    I'm thinking that a live Linux running on a USB stick might be the solution.
    A live CD .iso would be better
    And this assumes you have a USB booting capable machine?!
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    Default Re: Re : Creating bootable USB flash drive from an INSTALLATION DVD (not ISO)

    Quote Originally Posted by caf4926 View Post
    You should create a .iso from the DVD with k3b
    Then use that to make the USB

    But you know the DVD is not a running OS / Live Desktop, it just installs.
    You sound like you want a live OS
    A live CD .iso would be better
    And this assumes you have a USB booting capable machine?!
    I believe the machine does support booting from USB, but I need to verify this.

    I want to use the hard-drive as little as possible, since it seems to be defective. I was hoping to put everything (swap, / and /home) on a 16G USB flash-drive -- and replace it when it uses up its read/write cycles. Maybe an external USB hard-drive would be a better option.

    Can I use the install program on the Installation DVD to install directly to a USB flash-drive or hard-drive?

    Would it be better to boot from a live OS CD? How do I then save the configuration? It seems like I would still need /home and /etc on the USB drive. I'm getting lost here!

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    Default Re: Re : Creating bootable USB flash drive from an INSTALLATION DVD (not ISO)

    Well we were lost, because it wasn't clear what exactly you wanted. Now it is.

    Would it be financially unrealistic to invest in a new HD?
    And why would you keep the XP install on a dud HD anyway?
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    Default Re: Re : Creating bootable USB flash drive from an INSTALLATION DVD (not ISO)

    Quote Originally Posted by caf4926 View Post
    Well we were lost, because it wasn't clear what exactly you wanted. Now it is.

    Would it be financially unrealistic to invest in a new HD?
    And why would you keep the XP install on a dud HD anyway?
    Finance is not the problem. The problem is that I want Linux to be minimally disruptive. I don't want to destroy anything she already has on the drive.

    If one partition is beyond repair, then others will probably fail as well, in which case Windows will disappear of its own accord -- unless she has the OEM installation disks or buys a new set. I don't want to force this process or force her to use Linux. Linux should be an option.

    Anyway, I'm still wondering whether I can use the installation DVD to install onto a USB drive. If no one else has ever tried this, then I guess I will have to be the first!

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    Default Re: Re : Creating bootable USB flash drive from an INSTALLATION DVD (not ISO)

    With some help from Google ("Linux install onto USB drive"), I've now learned:

    * that there is a Linux distribution developed especially for USB drives (PenDriveLinux)

    * that there are even smaller distributions (e.g., DSL, Puppy)

    * that there is a utility (UNetbootin, see sourceforge UNetbootin) that allows the user to select the distribution and version and install it automatically onto a USB drive

    * that there are even wikipedia articles on the subject

    I post here, because OpenSuSE is my first resource -- though maybe I should have done more research before posting. I hope it is ok to share the results of that research.

    Here are some helpful articles I found:

    * Installing Ubuntu on a usb drive
    * DSL to USB
    * PenDriveLinux
    * Wikipedia: Live USB
    * Wikipedia: SYSLINUX
    * Wikipedia: boot loader comparison
    * LILO
    * Using UNetbootin

    Why is syslinux is recommended over GRUB? And as an aside, I wonder why LILO has gone out of favor. The comparison chart suggests that it supports everything that GRUB supports.

    The need to reduce USB read/write cycles suggests an invention -- a hybrid USB/RAM drive that writes into RAM while mounted then writes the RAM data to flash memory ONCE, just before it shutdowns.

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    Default Re: Re : Creating bootable USB flash drive from an INSTALLATION DVD (not ISO)

    You can install to a USB HD or flash drive if it's big enough and your hardware supports it.
    I have never done it myself. My circumstances have never required it.
    Puppy is a great little OS, which loads to RAM - But it's poles apart form the kind of OS you get with openSUSE

    If Linux is not a serious priority, you could install Puppy to a USB flash drive.
    Though I am still struggling with understanding your methodology
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    Default Re: Re : Creating bootable USB flash drive from an INSTALLATION DVD (not ISO)

    Quote Originally Posted by caf4926 View Post
    Though I am still struggling with understanding your methodology
    What methodology would make more sense to you?

    Are you saying that I should force my friend to get rid of the harddrive and the still functioning partition? That's what I did on my own computer when the same problem occurred there, but I don't feel comfortable telling a friend to get rid of the one system that is still working for her.

    Are you saying that OpenSuSE is not likely to run on a USB drive, or, if it does run, would run very poorly? My friend is not a developer, and she is not using the computer to store video. She wants something she can use to write letters, browse the internet, handle e-mail and entertain her children. Her storage requirements are probably under 1G. I'm hoping that 11.2 will install in 6G. That leaves 1G for swap, if I use an 8G drive.

    I'm looking for a temporary solution that will enable her to use Linux while the harddrive fails gracefully. But you seem to be saying that a USB system would be worse than nothing.

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    Default Re: Re : Creating bootable USB flash drive from an INSTALLATION DVD (not ISO)

    You have a failing HD
    IMO, the priority would be to recover data and replace.

    You can re-install OEM windows if you have the necessary CD, it might even be possible to image the current install to put back to a new HD

    But honestly, I think this is something you could just try and see. As I said I have not done exactly as you are planning.
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