How To Boot and Run Linux from a USB Pen Drive [Easy Way]

Hello,

this time I’m gonna show you two easy ways to install and run two common linux distributions from a pen drive using both Windows Xp or Vista or a Linux Distribution, and wizard procedures. It’s like a “Live” distribution, but from a USB drive. The two distributions are Fedora Core 9 (or 8 ) and BackTrack (what is BackTrack ?!? Take a look at this ), both with the persistence feature…what is the “persistence feature” ??? Well, is the possibility to store the changes you’re making to the system (in fact, it’s NOT exactly like a Live distribution)…anyway…

Fedora Core 9 (2 Gb Pen drive is enough, 4 Gb is better )

The Windows’s Way…

1. Insert the pen drive, and make sure it’s empty

2. Download the lastest version of the “liveusb-creator” from here then extract the zip file to a directory and run ” liveusb-creator.exe ”

3. Choose the Fedora Distribution you prefer ( the 9 is really better ! ), choose the USB Drive, then the dimension of the “Persistent Overlay”, the space left to store the modifications to the system, or the files you make. (for 4 gb units, “choose the greatness”…2047 Mb, for 2 Gb… 1024 Mb…less or more… )

4. BUTTON : “Create the Live USB”

5. Wait a couple of hours…

That’s all…now you should have your distribution full working…

The Linux’s Way…

1. Insert the pen drive, mount it and make sure it’s empty

1b. Install YUM if you haven’t got it yet… (your system probably has it already installed…)

2. Open a terminal windows or get a shell, go to an empty directory ( you need a couple of Gb’s free storage space), and give

# yum -y install syslinux PyQt4 git $ git clone git://git.fedorahosted.org/git/liveusb-creator 
# cd liveusb-creator 
# ./liveusb-creator

3. Choose the Fedora Distribution you prefer ( the 9 is really better ! ), choose the USB Drive, then the dimension of the “Persistent Overlay”, the space left to store the modifications to the system, or the files you make. (for 4 gb units, “choose the greatness”…2047 Mb, for 2 Gb… 1024 Mb…less or more… )

4. BUTTON : “Create the Live USB”

5. Wait a couple of hours…

That’s all…now you should have your distribution full working…you SHOULD…this is still beta version software…so no one is really sure about that…

Backtrack 3 Final (2 Gb Pen drive is enough, 4 Gb is better )

The Windows’s Way…

1. Insert the pen drive and make sure it’s empty

2. Download the [ USB Version (Extended) ] from the official site

3. Extract the whole .iso file to the USB Drive (feel free to use Winrar )

4. Then open the root folder of the drive (ex. G:\ ), go to “boot” folder

5. Run bootinst.bat and follow the onscreen istructions (just press ENTER if everything is ok )

6. That’s all…. should be working…

The Linux’s Way…

1. Insert the pen drive, mount it and make sure it’s empty

2. Download the [ USB Version (Extended) ] from the official site

3. Extract the whole .iso file to the USB Drive (feel free to use the extractor you prefer…like Ark)

4. Then open the root folder of the drive (ex. /home/media/usb1 or /mnt/sda1 ), go to “boot” folder

5. Run bootinst.sh (double click on the icon or “./bootinst.sh” to the shell) and follow the onscreen istructions (just press ENTER if everything is ok )

6. That’s all…. should be working…

Hope this was useful…. Happy Holidays…

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Author: Federico Fregosi

DevOps Engineer in London

10 thoughts on “How To Boot and Run Linux from a USB Pen Drive [Easy Way]”

  1. Very nice guide. This is precisely what I was looking for; I wasn’t sure if you should simply extract the ISO to the USB drive or somehow “burn” it to the drive.

    Backtrack 3 is up and running. Thanks mate.

  2. Ii doesn´t work in 64-bits Widows vista..:!! Anyone has a solution,…. ??

  3. Better way to do in Fedora is

    # yum install liveusb-creator

    Then run

    # liveusb-creator

    Or run it from Applications->System Tools->liveusb-creator

  4. Mine doesn’t work either 😦
    Tried the Easy Way – Liveusb-creator
    My pen is a 4 Gb KINGSTON Format FAT 32
    The PC is an ASUS laptop with USB boot support 😦

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