Start openSUSE 11.3 from external USB drive?

I want an easy and convenient way to test openSUSE 11.3 without installing it on my internal hard drive.

I have started and tested the last ISO image form a burned CD. But as I had to test some new programs with patches form a special repositoriy (compiz) I had to update my RAM-Disk. This Updates are gone if I start again from CD.

And the system is slow as it regularly has to get data from the CD and seems not to use my swap-partition (as a Knoppix live CD is able to do).

I found no entry to flash the installation to a USB stick (as in Knoppix offered).

Is there a How-To for installing or starting openSUSE live CDs form a USB stick or do I have to do a regular install and choose the external USB disk? Can I prevent a overwriting of my GRUB 2? I think of 1. installing the hole GRUB 0.9… on the external drive and boot from that by BIOS or
2. to ad an new entry to the GRUB 2 (from Ubuntu)?


As 11.3 is still not released, I move this one to Prerelease/Beta.

Thread moved.

You are refferring two different actions: putting a LiveCD image on a USB-stick and installing openSUSE on the external USB drive.
First one is possible with simple dd command, but it will not allow you to write changes back to the stick.
So only the second way is convinient for you and nothing stops you from just pointing the openSUSE installer to the desireable harddisk (USB in your case). Good luck!

[Sorry for the wrong sub-forum but I did not find something about this with released openSUSE versions so I thought it was more about booting in general than about prerelease].

Is there a thread / a How-To about starting openSUSE from external USB drives in general/for released versions?

I think Knoppix does something different so in the context of my questions I do think I did not ask for that ;).

What is about the GRUB 0.9 / GRUB 2 things? Can I just install openSUSE (11.3) without any boot manager or the boot manager only on the external drive without touching the existing GRUB 2? Will one of them work?


You install OS on a different harddrive. What problems do you expect with bootloaders? The only thing you need to do is to be very careful when picking location for grub installation, so that you don’t destroy existing installation (some people even remove other hard drives just to be sure =) )
Once you’re done with new GRUB installation you’ll only have to configure other GRUB for booting this. If you install GRUB in MBR you’ll be able to boot openSUSE both from existing GRUB2 AND BIOS.


Sorry just to be sure for the bit stupid/cautious me:
I should install the GRUB 0.9* of the new operating system (openSUSE 11.3) in the MBR of the external USB stick (if there is one)?

P. S.: What did Samuel Langhorne Clemens say/write (for people mostly not familiar with Russian)?

There’s nothing wrong in double checking details of potentially dangerous operation. You can install GRUB 0.9* to MBR of your USB disk (so that you could boot it directly from BIOS), but you don’t have to do this if you use other bootloader anyway.

P.S. IIRC, “It’s better to keep your mouth shut and be thought as a fool than to open it and remove all doubts.”

If I boot via BIOS direct to/on/from the USB stick would this partition with the system on the stick be called sda1 or sdb1?
Can I install openSuse 11.3 without installing Grub at all?

P.S. Twain’s words seems to me a progression/climax or hyperbole or parody of “Si tacuisses, philosophus mansisses. (Boethius) = If you had remained silent, you would have remained a philosopher.”

P.P.S.: Would an image/file for installation and/or live use directly form a USB stick/drive not a reasonable and useful feature especially for testing or for netbooks without an optical drive?

It really does not matter, BIOS has nothing to do with device kernel names.
Sure, you can install openSUSE with no GRUB at all, but you’ll have to manually configure full set of parameters of your existing GRUB2 to load this.

How much space do I need for this installation on the USB stick?

The installation to my 2 GB USB flash drive always breaks up.

The GNOME live-CD image is smaller than 700 MB but works with compressed data and a RAM disk?


LiveCD images are hardly compressed and can contain up to 1.5GB of data. Anyway, it is a good guide on what to install not to exceed 2GB limit =) I’d personally prefer bigger USB-sticks.

Starting the pae kernel of 11.2 gave me a with desktop - only Alt+print+… helped - Seams to me I have done something wrong :shame: .

Can I not avoid the steps of (slow and checked) burning a CD and installing with avoiding a damage to my other partitions and especially my boot manager?

What are these images for?:
Index of /repositories/openSUSE:/Factory:/Live/images


To install a livecd to a usb stick from a terminal dd if=yourimage of=/dev/sdstick bs=4M

to install a net install iso on a usb stick. First you need to install the package syslinux then run the command isohybrid filename.iso
then dd as above.

To install on a usb hard drive simply edit your partitioning so your root / is on your usb drive and your boot loader boots from the root partition.

one caveat if you add or remove external drives your root device will probably change ie root (hd1,0) becomes (hd2,0)

Now I also found this:
Live USB stick - openSUSE
Seems it describes also a way to what I wanted.


Thanks dale,
seems I did not reload before the last posting:shame:.

Ok I should also have looked at the wiki!:
SDB:Live USB stick - openSUSE

Maybe that what I meant above (but I used the linux names not the grub names). Hope something like that had happened to my openSUSE 11.2 so I can find it easy by repairing GRUB 2 or something in openSUSE 11.2 's root partition.

I will give a feedback if i will have success or not.


According to the wiki SDB:Live USB stick - openSUSE
I have to look first where it is mounted

ls -l /dev/disk/by-id/*usb*

and than to unmount the USB stick.


umount /dev/sdb

did not work, only

umount /media/Mst7plus11.3

did (I assume as I told my system to mount devices by name).

Should I do the dd command to /media/Mst7plus11.3 or to /dev/sdb (as in wiki)?

Why is no mention of the package syslinux in the wiki?

SYSLINUX is a boot loader for the Linux operating system which operates off an MS-DOS or Windows FAT file system. It is intended to simplify first-time installation of Linux and for creation of rescue and other special purpose boot disks.
I think my USB flash device has now one ext4 partition on it. Will dd just make a quite new filesystem/partition or should/could I make first a FAT or ext3 etc. partition?


On 06/04/2010 06:56 PM, pistazienfresser wrote:
> dale14846;2172705 Wrote:
>> To install a livecd to a usb stick from a terminal dd if=yourimage
>> of=/dev/sdstick bs=4M
>> to install a net install iso on a usb stick.
> According to the wiki ‘SDB:Live USB stick - openSUSE’
> (
> I have to look first where it is mounted
> with
> Code:
> --------------------
> ls -l /dev/disk/by-id/usb
> --------------------
> and than to unmount the USB stick.
> But
> Code:
> --------------------
> umount /dev/sdb
> --------------------
> did not work, only

You need to umount a partition, ‘mount’ will tell you which it is.
Then, for example
umount /dev/sdb1

openSUSE 11.2 (x86_64)
19:36pm up 31 days 23:48, 12 users, load average: 3.01, 3.08, 2.46

Ok. A partition is mounted not a device.

/dev/sdb1 on /media/Mst7plus11.3

So in my example both ‘names’ works to unmount via umount.

But the dd command seems to refer to the device ( so /dev/sdb )