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1 <?xml version='1.0' encoding="UTF-8"?>
2 <!DOCTYPE guide SYSTEM "/dtd/guide.dtd">
3 <!-- $Header: /var/cvsroot/gentoo/xml/htdocs/doc/en/liveusb.xml,v 1.1 2006/01/07 23:29:20 rane Exp $ -->
4
5 <guide link="/doc/en/liveusb.xml">
6 <title>Gentoo Linux LiveUSB HOWTO</title>
7
8 <author title="Author">
9 <mail link="brix@gentoo.org">Henrik Brix Andersen</mail>
10 </author>
11
12 <abstract>
13 This HOWTO explains how to create a Gentoo Linux LiveUSB or, in other words,
14 how to emulate a Gentoo Linux Installation CD using an USB flash drive.
15 </abstract>
16
17 <!-- The content of this document is licensed under the CC-BY-SA license -->
18 <!-- See http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.5 -->
19 <license/>
20
21 <version>1.0</version>
22 <date>2006-01-04</date>
23
24 <chapter>
25 <title>Introduction</title>
26 <section>
27 <title>The LiveUSB</title>
28 <body>
29
30 <p>
31 This HOWTO explains how to create a <e>Gentoo Linux LiveUSB</e> or, in other
32 words, how to emulate a Gentoo Linux Installation CD using an USB flash drive.
33 This is particularly useful for installing Gentoo Linux on a modern laptop with
34 no CD-ROM drive.
35 </p>
36
37 <p>
38 Although the instructions found in this document aims at emulating a Gentoo
39 Linux Installation CD using an USB flash drive, they should work for any
40 arbitrary block device as long as you adjust the device names accordingly.
41 </p>
42
43 </body>
44 </section>
45 <section>
46 <title>Prerequisites</title>
47 <body>
48
49 <p>
50 In order to use a Gentoo Linux LiveUSB you need the following:
51 </p>
52
53 <ul>
54 <li>Bootable USB flash drive (at least 64MB)</li>
55 <li>x86 computer with support for booting from USB</li>
56 </ul>
57
58 <p>
59 You will also need access to the following for creating the LiveUSB:
60 </p>
61
62 <ul>
63 <li>
64 A computer running Gentoo Linux (or alternatively another Linux
65 distribution)
66 </li>
67 </ul>
68
69 </body>
70 </section>
71 </chapter>
72 <chapter>
73 <title>Preparing the USB flash drive</title>
74 <section>
75 <title>Partitioning the drive</title>
76 <body>
77
78 <warn>
79 These instructions will erase all data from the USB flash drive. Make sure to
80 backup your data first.
81 </warn>
82
83 <impo>
84 This HOWTO assumes that the <path>/dev/sda</path> device node corresponds to
85 your USB flash drive. If you have other SCSI-like devices make sure to use the
86 correct device node.
87 </impo>
88
89 <p>
90 Create a FAT32 partition on your USB flash drive and mark it bootable using
91 <c>fdisk</c>. An example partitioning scheme can be seen below:
92 </p>
93
94 <pre caption="Example partitioning scheme">
95 # <i>fdisk -l /dev/sda</i>
96
97 Disk /dev/sda: 1048 MB, 1048313856 bytes
98 33 heads, 61 sectors/track, 1017 cylinders
99 Units = cylinders of 2013 * 512 = 1030656 bytes
100
101 Device Boot Start End Blocks Id System
102 /dev/sda1 * 1 1017 1023580 b W95 FAT32
103 </pre>
104
105 </body>
106 </section>
107 <section>
108 <title>Creating the filesystem</title>
109 <body>
110
111 <p>
112 Create a FAT32 filesystem on the USB flash drive using <c>mkdosfs</c>:
113 </p>
114
115 <pre caption="Running mkdosfs">
116 <comment>(Make sure you have sys-fs/dosfstools installed)</comment>
117 # <i>emerge -av sys-fs/dosfstools</i>
118 # <i>mkdosfs -F 32 /dev/sda1</i>
119 mkdosfs 2.11 (12 Mar 2005)
120 </pre>
121
122 </body>
123 </section>
124 <section>
125 <title>Installing a Master Boot Record</title>
126 <body>
127
128 <p>
129 Install the precompiled Master Boot Record (MBR) from <c>syslinux</c> on the
130 USB flash drive:
131 </p>
132
133 <pre caption="Installing a master boot record">
134 <comment>(Make sure you have sys-boot/syslinux-3.00 or later installed)</comment>
135 # <i>emerge -av '>=sys-boot/syslinux-3*'</i>
136 # <i>dd if=/usr/lib/syslinux/mbr.bin of=/dev/sda</i>
137 0+1 records in
138 0+1 records out
139 </pre>
140
141 </body>
142 </section>
143 </chapter>
144 <chapter>
145 <title>Copying the files</title>
146 <section>
147 <title>Mounting the Gentoo Linux Installation CD</title>
148 <body>
149
150 <p>
151 Download the <path>install-x86-minimal-2005.1-r1.iso</path> file from your
152 local Gentoo Linux <uri link="/main/en/where.xml">mirror</uri> site and mount
153 the ISO image on <path>/mnt/cdrom/</path> as shown below:
154 </p>
155
156 <pre caption="Mounting the Gentoo Linux Installation CD ISO image">
157 <comment>(Create the /mnt/cdrom/ mount point if needed)</comment>
158 # <i>mkdir -p /mnt/cdrom</i>
159 # <i>mount -o loop,ro -t iso9660 install-x86-minimal-2005.1-r1.iso /mnt/cdrom/</i>
160 </pre>
161
162 </body>
163 </section>
164 <section>
165 <title>Mounting the LiveUSB</title>
166 <body>
167
168 <p>
169 Mount the newly formatted USB flash drive on <path>/mnt/usb/</path> as shown
170 below:
171 </p>
172
173 <pre caption="Mounting the USB flash drive">
174 <comment>(Create the /mnt/usb/ mount point if needed)</comment>
175 # <i>mkdir -p /mnt/usb</i>
176 # <i>mount -t vfat /dev/sda1 /mnt/usb/</i>
177 </pre>
178
179 </body>
180 </section>
181 <section>
182 <title>Copying the files</title>
183 <body>
184
185 <p>
186 Copy the files from the Gentoo Linux Installation CD to the LiveUSB. The files
187 needs to be reordered a bit as we will be using the <c>syslinux</c> bootloader
188 instead of <c>isolinux</c>:
189 </p>
190
191 <pre caption="Copying the files">
192 # <i>cp -r /mnt/cdrom/* /mnt/usb/</i>
193 # <i>mv /mnt/usb/isolinux/* /mnt/usb/</i>
194 # <i>mv /mnt/usb/isolinux.cfg /mnt/usb/syslinux.cfg</i>
195 # <i>rm -rf /mnt/usb/isolinux*</i>
196
197 <comment>(The memtest86 kernel needs to be renamed for loading it via syslinux)</comment>
198 # <i>mv /mnt/usb/memtest86 /mnt/usb/memtest</i>
199 </pre>
200
201 <p>
202 You can now unmount the ISO image:
203 </p>
204
205 <pre caption="Unmounting the ISO image">
206 # <i>umount /mnt/cdrom/</i>
207 </pre>
208
209 </body>
210 </section>
211 <section>
212 <title>Adjusting the bootloader configuration</title>
213 <body>
214
215 <p>
216 Adjust the syslinux configuration file using <c>sed</c> as shown below. The
217 <c>scandelay=10</c> parameter will introduce a 10 seconds delay before
218 attempting to mount the filesystem. This is needed to allow the USB flash drive
219 to settle upon detection.
220 </p>
221
222 <pre caption="Adjusting the boot parameters">
223 # <i>sed -i \
224 -e "s:cdroot:cdroot scandelay=10:" \
225 -e "s:kernel memtest86:kernel memtest:" \
226 /mnt/usb/syslinux.cfg</i>
227 </pre>
228
229 <note>
230 Consider adding <c>docache</c> to the boot parameters. This will allow running
231 <c>umount /mnt/cdrom/</c> after booting so that you can unplug the USB flash
232 drive.
233 </note>
234
235 </body>
236 </section>
237 </chapter>
238 <chapter>
239 <title>Installing a bootloader</title>
240 <section>
241 <title>Unmounting the drive</title>
242 <body>
243
244 <p>
245 Make sure you unmount the USB flash drive before installing the bootloader:
246 </p>
247
248 <pre caption="Unmounting the USB flash drive">
249 # <i>umount /mnt/usb/</i>
250 </pre>
251
252 </body>
253 </section>
254 <section>
255 <title>Installing syslinux</title>
256 <body>
257
258 <p>
259 Finally install the <c>syslinux</c> bootloader on the USB flash drive:
260 </p>
261
262 <pre caption="Running syslinux">
263 # <i>syslinux /dev/sda1</i>
264 </pre>
265
266 <impo>
267 You will need to rerun <c>syslinux /dev/sda1</c> each time you modify the
268 <path>syslinux.cfg</path> file for the configuration changes to take affect.
269 </impo>
270
271 </body>
272 </section>
273 </chapter>
274 <chapter>
275 <title>Using the LiveUSB</title>
276 <section>
277 <title>Booting</title>
278 <body>
279
280 <p>
281 Insert the USB flash drive and turn on the computer, making sure the BIOS is
282 set to boot from USB. If all goes well you should be presented with a standard
283 syslinux prompt.
284 </p>
285
286 <p>
287 You should be able to follow the generic installation instructions found in the
288 <uri link="/doc/en/handbook/">Gentoo Handbook</uri> from here on.
289 </p>
290
291 </body>
292 </section>
293 </chapter>
294 </guide>

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