full install on USB stick 12.2

Hello all, first i will say that i know a USB stick isnt an ideal medium because running linux off of one will shorten its life.However it is a necessary evil for a project i am working on.

I need to install 12.2 on a stick, and i want it to touch nothing on my main hard drive partition, the reason being i have had issues when grub is loaded on the main hdd and booting to windows when the flash drive is not installed in the system.

i have followed SDB:Installation on external hard drive - openSUSE instructions before with a 12.1 installation and it worked perfectly on my external esata drive. However now when im trying to do the installation on the flash drive the end step with editing the boot is dramatically different. I set partitions the same way as in that guide, but what do i do once i reach the boot set up?

I have very little experience with stick installs, but I’m 100% sure it can be done.
I’ve only done it once and the procedure was straightforward, but there may be a couple of different ways to do it.
First I made a stick bootable, then used live cd to copy installed root filesystem from hdd to usb (ext4 to ext4)
Then it’s just a matter of editing some files, menu.lst and fstab if I recall correctly. (I have not tried this with grub2)
If it throws you to grub cmd instead of booting, manually specify root and initrd location, then boot into it and setup grub with yast.
I’m fairly sure I did specify install to MBR when I did that last part, but I had no other drives connected at the time.
Be careful not to overwrite MBR of the wrong drive, that could cause some problems.

You can roll your own linux distro and make it any way you want. Check out SUSE Studio and specifically this miniSUSE miniSUSE – SUSE Gallery. If that does not work for you check out Puppy Linux Puppy Linux which uses the squash file system to put a whole distro on a usb drive with storage space too. I have used it for years and it works well.

i should maybe say that i am a linux newbie a step by step guide would be very helpful

Well if the SDB guide worked for you before, and the boot setting is the only problem you have then it’s a simple fix.
Just select legacy grub when installing and follow the guide.
The reason why boot settings are dramatically different is because 12.1 uses legacy and 12.2 uses grub2 by default.
To make sure the installer keeps your hdd intact, unplug it before installing anything (it’s the safest way if you have doubts)
I suggested moving installed system to usb, which is possible but you may have to do some additional research.

excellent ill give it a shot later today or tomorrow. I cant really unplug my HDD because the internal drive on this ultrabook is not really easily accessible but i have a buddy at school whos very familiar with linux so ill have him look over my shoulder while im doing it all

WARNING: make sure the bootloader gets installed on the root partition, NOT on /dev/sda, not in MBR, otherwise you’ll need the stick to get your machine booted.

BTW: busy creating an 8GB 32bit KDE install on a stick.

yes i have encountered that recently, wasnt too big a pain to fix with windows disks and cmd prompt but annoying

I did everything that I had done previously. the only way I could get the same setup as in the link that I posted with the config file is if I set the boot to be grub. I went through made all the changes that I previously had made however now I don’t understand this at all. When it does the system reboot after installation it loaded into opensuse perfectly. However now if I try to boot into it with my flash drive it tells me there is no bootable device. I have no clue what im doing wrong can anyone point me in the right direction?

Have you checked if the usb is bootable? Maybe your bios doesn’t support booting from usb keys.
Maybe there’s some boot guard security in place.
As a quick test, use imagewriter to burn a small NET install iso to your usb drive and try booting from that.
If that works, legacy grub must also work.
There are several different ways to make it bootable, for example fdisk or cp006049 provided by HP.

Are your entries in grub and fstab labled by-id Or by UUID? I think you would have to set it by uuid since by-id will change every time you remove the stick but uuid will be set one time when the partition is formatted.

You can find the uuid by running

sudo /usr/sbin/blkid

You can see what fstab is using by

cat /etc/fstab

They should look like this

UUID=92d585d8-f1e5-462c-af8a-e200828117be /                    ext4       acl,user_xattr        1 1
UUID=b343d8c7-f6b6-4b15-b6b5-0ab3c26a3564 /home                ext4       acl,user_xattr,nofail 1 2
UUID=33d79d5e-9e97-4e2b-bd6b-e6ff2065a08c swap                 swap       defaults              0 0

Are you unsing legacy Grub? I think those config files are in /etc/grub.d somewhere. I think you will have to tell it to use uuid, It has been a while since I used it though so I am not 100% sure on that.

During install, when you change the bootloader location, go into the bootloader options, there’s a checkbox that sets, when activated, the “bootable” flag on the boot partition. You could even fix that by taking over the installed openSUSE with the aid of a Live install medium. I guess fdisk can do it too. Just make sure, the partition you set to have the bootloader on, has the bootflag.

this is proving to be a major pain and im not really making any headway. i know booting from USB is possible on my laptop. Is there a way for me to do the type of setup im looking for using grub 2?

I tried it again last night and i made sure to remove my hd0 from the grub configuration file, and made the other necessary changes but it stills screwed up my MBR and i had to recover my laptop again. ive had to recover 4 times now in the past 24 hours. I dont understand why it isnt working and i dont have much confidence that i can make it work

If you are installing to the stick then on the install be sure exactly where the installer plans to put grub and write the MBR code. It can be controlled from the advanced section of partitioning I think and can be edited when the final scheme is shown for approval. If the scheme is not what you want or expect edit it and be sure the scheme is tight before you commit the install.

Sorry for butting in, but this thread seems relevant ot my own query. I want to setup 12.2 on a 16GB stick (with storage space too), and have a couple of questions related to what you've said here, if I may:
When you say "make sure the bootloader gets installed on the root partition" -  are you referrring to the root partition on the USB stick? Please forgive me if this seems like a silly question, but I'm very rusty with Linux and want to make sure I get everything clear.
Also, when running isohybrd.pl, I get the following message:
Does this mean the process was completed, or not?