Installing Ubuntu 8.10 To A USB Flash Drive

ONE of the features of Ubuntu 8.10 I have overlooked in my recent review was the utility included for creating a bootable version of Linux OS on a USB Flash memory stick.
Personally I love the idea of having a whole operating system on a memory stick – it appeals to the geek in me and I love the look on a non-geek’s face when you boot up their machine and your operating system comes up instead of theirs!
But one of the issues I have frequently come across with such pocket-sized OSes is, how to make them persistent ie. getting any changes you make in the live environment to remain for your next boot.
With the latest version of Ubuntu, however, everything you need is included in the GNOME menu – just look in System>Administration>Create a USB startup disk (this was also available in Ubuntu 8.04).
The procedure to get Ubuntu installed, working and persistent is really very simple indeed.

1. Download the Ubuntu 8.10 ISO and burn it to a CD
2. Restart your computer, booting from the Live CD
3. Insert a 1GB or larger USB flash drive
4. Navigate to System>Administration>Create a USB startup disk
5. Next, select the USB disk to use, select the option ‘Stored in reserved extra space’ and adjust the sider to set the capacity you wish to use (I set mine at 2GB on an 8GB stick), then click the ‘Make Startup Disk’ button. It is not a fast process, so go and make a coffee
6. Once the installation is complete, simply remove the CD, restart your computer and set your boot menu or BIOS to boot from the USB device.

This last step will vary according to how you BIOS is set up, but on my machine it was a case of holding down the F2 button during the boot process, then editing the Boot Devices section to make sure USB came first, followed by CD then HDD.
And that, basically, is it. Thanks to Ubuntu’s inclusion of the application Casper, any subsequent changes you make or data you create will be saved in the slice of the flash drive you created during step 5.
So as you can see this feature will become very handy if you want to help someone to recover files in his/her computer when things go wrong.

Windows XP and Vista also can be customized like this but not for the USB level but as bootable cd/DVD. BartPE is a good place to look into how to part.

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