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Old 08-16-09, 11:29 PM   #1
EJ123
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Are persistent USB installs REALLY that easy?

So if I purchase a distro from a website that promises a live persistent install of whatever, I just plug it into the computer and whalah? It boots that distro? Or do I go to the BIOS boot option and select USB drive, and whalah? And so no matter what I save it will go onto the USB drive and whalah? And Windows will remain perfectly operable? Seems to good to be true.
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Old 08-17-09, 06:31 AM   #2
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What's "whalah? Is that like a WAaaahhhhh, I wiped my HD lost all my data?

Make sure you back-up everything first...
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Old 08-17-09, 11:05 AM   #3
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Before trying anything out, I highly recommend buying an external hard disk, then using an image based backup program such as Acronis. Then, if your USB persistant install scrozzles the boot hard disk, getting back all your data exactly where you left it isn't a big deal.

You could use Mozy, but Mozy is nowhere as easy to recover from on a "bare metal" basis than an external hard disk and recovery software.
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Old 08-17-09, 11:07 AM   #4
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voila. just sayin'
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Old 08-17-09, 12:01 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by EJ123 View Post
So if I purchase a distro from a website that promises a live persistent install of whatever, I just plug it into the computer and whalah? It boots that distro? Or do I go to the BIOS boot option and select USB drive, and whalah? And so no matter what I save it will go onto the USB drive and whalah? And Windows will remain perfectly operable? Seems to good to be true.
It isn't too good to be true. Most major distributions have a way to do what is called a "live, persistent" install to a USB. The hard drive is never used in a live, persistant install of a Linux OS. The machine uses the USB for everything. They are useful for two purposes:
  1. Trying out various Linux distributions before picking one to install.
  2. Having your very own operating system and tools that you can use to boot any PC (that will boot form USB) into your preferred operating environment.

HOWEVER, purchasing such a thing from a website that charges more than a cheap USB drive costs is a waste of money. Every Linux distribution that has a live, persistent version has a way to make your own bootable USB stick, usually with "cookbook" instructions.
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Old 08-17-09, 04:44 PM   #6
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It is basically like a live cd, except you can actually save stuff on the usb drive. I've played with several and have never had anything happen to the hdd. Unless you connect to it because you want something off it, it doesn't touch it.

You will have to tell the bios to boot from it rather than the drive, but other than that, simple way of trying linux.

Oh, and normally the usb drive they sell pre-installed is for people that can't figure out how to get it working or just as a way of supporting the developers.
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Old 08-21-09, 09:15 AM   #7
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here is the site I've used for this purpose quite often on my eeePC 900A netbook. should be useful for you

http://www.pendrivelinux.com/
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Old 08-21-09, 10:01 AM   #8
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voila. just sayin'
Thank you. Whalah just hurt to read, over and over.
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