Problems Installing To USB Stick


I have been experimenting with installing to USB sticks. I have had two issues. The first is that if I leave the system’s HHD in place the installer will try to use swap on the system’s HDD instead of creating it on the usb stick. When I select the advanced option for editing the partition table, I see a lot of information; but there is no obvious way to edit this information, for instance to make the installer create swap on the stick. Also, it always makes the fat32/windows partition too big. I want to edit this to about half or a quarter of what is suggested; again it is not obvious how to do this.


I see I have no takers on this thread; so it’s obvious that you know that it’s a probem, even though the download page states that the iso is suitable for installation to usb stick. Unfortunately, this is absolutely not true.

The first thing the installer does wrong is to suggest the installtion of swap to my system hdd if I do not remove it before loading the iso. The second thing it does wrong is not to allow me to modify the partition sizes or default file systems. This is mostly a problem for the partition sizes, as I expect that the default file system choices have probably tested in the lab to be the best. The third thing it does wrong, when installing to a usb stick is the file system order. The default order is as follows:

FAT32 Primary Partition
Swap Primary Partition
btrfs Logical Partition (root file system)
xfs Logical Partition (user file system)

The problems with this configuration are that first of all the installer suggests or rather enforces that creation of a FAT32 partition that takes up far to much room on the usb stick. It should only have to be big enough to pass a disc image to, 4.7GiB. The second problem is that I cannot edit this size enforcement. Simply nuts… Third and most important, there is no advantage to shrinking the FAT32 partition after installation because of the crazy order this is in. I cannot move either swap or the extended partition without breaking the file system; again simply nuts…

The fourth thing that the installer does wrong, is to not recognize and accept when I have prepartitioned the usb stick to my requirements, which are usually something like this:

SWAP Primary
btrfs Logical
xfs Logical
FAT32 Primary (I think it is useful to keep a “small” fat32 partition to push and pull files to, without having to boot the OS on the stick)

The installer will again try to override what I have done, without the possibility of editing the configuration; and even randomly trying to create swap on a system hdd that I have removed for the purpose of preventing that.

Dear fellow penguins, with all due respect, openSUSE is a good product once installed; but apparently the installer was intended to confound and torture the end user. I should never have had to do any of the things above; and am no longer willing to be guinea pig. Please fix this; I cannot invest any more of my time. Realistically it seems to me like there is no point in trying again until a true LIVE iso has been created. I don’t expect this until at least 43.2. And BTW, cloning a working OS from usb stick to usb stick breaks grub2.


I do test installs to an external USB drive, but not a stick.

When a recommended partitioning is offered, I ignore it. I instead click on “Create partitioning”. Sometimes, I just tell the partitioner to use the whole disk (and recommend partitioning). And sometimes I then go to custom partitioning and select the partitioning that I want.

Well you didn’t say how you are installing in mbr or uefi mode.
Do not use swap on usb sticks as they have limited writes and using swap on a stick will just kill it faster.
Also do not use btrfs on a usb as btrfs a write intensive filesystem those snapshots will kill your usb use ext4 or xfs for root.
The biggest problem with using usb sticks is it’s mount point /etc/fstab, on different computers the usb will have a different mount point and grub will not know how to boot it.

here’s an older tutorial on how to install on a usb stick

There is no way the installer can tell what you want to do. It can only make a guess and proposes a reasonable setup (based on it’s limited knowledge of what you would like to do) …

… BUT the installer offers an option (i think it is called something like “expert partitioning” or the like) which allows you to create your own partition setup or use a setup you prepared in advance. I use that option since many openSUSE-Versions, because i normally install on pre-prepared disk setups.

Please give the details of what you did and what went wrong.

Best regards