How to boot Linux from USB?

Started Jan 4, 2013 | Questions thread
joey_B
Senior MemberPosts: 3,080
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Re: How to boot Linux from USB?
In reply to CAcreeks, Jan 19, 2013

CAcreeks wrote:

Whew, this question is getting a lot of traffic considering it is already answered!

joey_B wrote:

an ISO is just an archive file, it's a container holding files. You can write out the container to a CD or a USB, and boot from that.

Usually for Linux (and other operating systems that support it) a boot image is required, but Mint delivers a dual-purpose "Hybrid" ISO that serves as both a CD/DVD image, and a boot image.

well, off course it would have to be an image of a live CD/DVD, but you wouldn't have to unpack it or write it out ot CD/DVD before it would work, using the described method. the bootloader on your usb uses a loopback mechanism to mount the iso in memory and fool the pc into thinking it is actually a diskdrive.

Almost all modern linux distro's that offer live CD distro's use those as an installing platform for a real HDD install. either from the desktop after starting up, or from the bootloader using a custom set of boot commands.

here is a site that explains the how-to : http://www.pendrivelinux.com/boot-multiple-iso-from-usb-via-grub2-using-linux/

This seems similar to the dual-purpose "Hybrid" ISO. I am not sure. Probably JimC knows for sure whether it is the same or slightly different.

I did a little search on Yumi, that is the same method (multiboot using syslinux bootloader instead of Grub), but it does unpack the contents of the ISO to the USB. That way it avoids the rather complex loopback setup.

I just made a stick for myself with 7 different tools/distro's on it, works like a charm. It sure takes the work out of making a multiboot. All you have to do is download the appropriate ISO's, and point the installer to it. All the dirty formatting and setup work is done very well by yumi itself.

What I don't like is the childish splash screen of the bootloader... but I suppose I can change that.

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