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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 1.4 2006/01/24 18:32:35 vanquirius 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>1.1</version>
22 <date>2006-02-12</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 aim 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>
56 x86 computer with support for booting from USB (with at least 64MB RAM)
57 </li>
58 </ul>
59
60 <p>
61 You will also need access to the following for creating the LiveUSB:
62 </p>
63
64 <ul>
65 <li>
66 A computer running Gentoo Linux (or alternatively another Linux
67 distribution)
68 </li>
69 </ul>
70
71 </body>
72 </section>
73 </chapter>
74 <chapter>
75 <title>Preparing the USB flash drive</title>
76 <section>
77 <title>Partitioning the drive</title>
78 <body>
79
80 <warn>
81 These instructions will erase all data from the USB flash drive. Make sure to
82 backup your data first.
83 </warn>
84
85 <impo>
86 This HOWTO assumes that the <path>/dev/sda</path> device node corresponds to
87 your USB flash drive. If you have other SCSI-like devices make sure to use the
88 correct device node.
89 </impo>
90
91 <p>
92 Create a FAT32 partition on your USB flash drive and mark it bootable using
93 <c>fdisk</c>. An example partitioning scheme can be seen below:
94 </p>
95
96 <pre caption="Example partitioning scheme">
97 # <i>fdisk -l /dev/sda</i>
98
99 Disk /dev/sda: 1048 MB, 1048313856 bytes
100 33 heads, 61 sectors/track, 1017 cylinders
101 Units = cylinders of 2013 * 512 = 1030656 bytes
102
103 Device Boot Start End Blocks Id System
104 /dev/sda1 * 1 1017 1023580 b W95 FAT32
105 </pre>
106
107 </body>
108 </section>
109 <section>
110 <title>Creating the filesystem</title>
111 <body>
112
113 <p>
114 Create a FAT32 filesystem on the USB flash drive using <c>mkdosfs</c>:
115 </p>
116
117 <pre caption="Running mkdosfs">
118 <comment>(Make sure you have sys-fs/dosfstools installed)</comment>
119 # <i>emerge -av sys-fs/dosfstools</i>
120 # <i>mkdosfs -F 32 /dev/sda1</i>
121 mkdosfs 2.11 (12 Mar 2005)
122 </pre>
123
124 </body>
125 </section>
126 <section>
127 <title>Installing a Master Boot Record</title>
128 <body>
129
130 <p>
131 Install the precompiled Master Boot Record (MBR) from <c>syslinux</c> on the
132 USB flash drive:
133 </p>
134
135 <pre caption="Installing a master boot record">
136 <comment>(Make sure you have sys-boot/syslinux-3.00 or later installed)</comment>
137 # <i>emerge -av '>=sys-boot/syslinux-3*'</i>
138 # <i>dd if=/usr/lib/syslinux/mbr.bin of=/dev/sda</i>
139 0+1 records in
140 0+1 records out
141 </pre>
142
143 </body>
144 </section>
145 </chapter>
146 <chapter>
147 <title>Copying the files</title>
148 <section>
149 <title>Mounting the Gentoo Linux Installation CD</title>
150 <body>
151
152 <p>
153 Download the <path>install-x86-minimal-2005.1-r1.iso</path> file from your
154 local Gentoo Linux <uri link="/main/en/where.xml">mirror</uri> site and mount
155 the ISO image on <path>/mnt/cdrom/</path> as shown below:
156 </p>
157
158 <pre caption="Mounting the Gentoo Linux Installation CD ISO image">
159 <comment>(Create the /mnt/cdrom/ mount point if needed)</comment>
160 # <i>mkdir -p /mnt/cdrom</i>
161 # <i>mount -o loop,ro -t iso9660 install-x86-minimal-2005.1-r1.iso /mnt/cdrom/</i>
162 </pre>
163
164 </body>
165 </section>
166 <section>
167 <title>Mounting the LiveUSB</title>
168 <body>
169
170 <p>
171 Mount the newly formatted USB flash drive on <path>/mnt/usb/</path> as shown
172 below:
173 </p>
174
175 <pre caption="Mounting the USB flash drive">
176 <comment>(Create the /mnt/usb/ mount point if needed)</comment>
177 # <i>mkdir -p /mnt/usb</i>
178 # <i>mount -t vfat /dev/sda1 /mnt/usb/</i>
179 </pre>
180
181 </body>
182 </section>
183 <section>
184 <title>Copying the files</title>
185 <body>
186
187 <p>
188 Copy the files from the Gentoo Linux Installation CD to the LiveUSB. The files
189 need to be reordered a bit as we will be using the <c>syslinux</c> bootloader
190 instead of <c>isolinux</c>:
191 </p>
192
193 <pre caption="Copying the files">
194 # <i>cp -r /mnt/cdrom/* /mnt/usb/</i>
195 # <i>mv /mnt/usb/isolinux/* /mnt/usb/</i>
196 # <i>mv /mnt/usb/isolinux.cfg /mnt/usb/syslinux.cfg</i>
197 # <i>rm -rf /mnt/usb/isolinux*</i>
198
199 <comment>(The memtest86 kernel needs to be renamed for loading it via syslinux)</comment>
200 # <i>mv /mnt/usb/memtest86 /mnt/usb/memtest</i>
201 </pre>
202
203 <p>
204 You can now unmount the ISO image:
205 </p>
206
207 <pre caption="Unmounting the ISO image">
208 # <i>umount /mnt/cdrom/</i>
209 </pre>
210
211 </body>
212 </section>
213 <section>
214 <title>Adjusting the bootloader configuration</title>
215 <body>
216
217 <p>
218 Adjust the syslinux configuration file using <c>sed</c> as shown below. The
219 <c>scandelay=10</c> parameter will introduce a 10 seconds delay before
220 attempting to mount the filesystem. This is needed to allow the USB flash drive
221 to settle upon detection.
222 </p>
223
224 <pre caption="Adjusting the boot parameters">
225 # <i>sed -i \
226 -e "s:cdroot:cdroot scandelay=10:" \
227 -e "s:kernel memtest86:kernel memtest:" \
228 /mnt/usb/syslinux.cfg</i>
229 </pre>
230
231 <note>
232 Consider adding <c>docache</c> to the boot parameters. This will allow running
233 <c>umount /mnt/cdrom/</c> after booting so that you can unplug the USB flash
234 drive.
235 </note>
236
237 </body>
238 </section>
239 </chapter>
240 <chapter>
241 <title>Installing a bootloader</title>
242 <section>
243 <title>Unmounting the drive</title>
244 <body>
245
246 <p>
247 Make sure you unmount the USB flash drive before installing the bootloader:
248 </p>
249
250 <pre caption="Unmounting the USB flash drive">
251 # <i>umount /mnt/usb/</i>
252 </pre>
253
254 </body>
255 </section>
256 <section>
257 <title>Installing syslinux</title>
258 <body>
259
260 <p>
261 Finally install the <c>syslinux</c> bootloader on the USB flash drive:
262 </p>
263
264 <pre caption="Running syslinux">
265 # <i>syslinux /dev/sda1</i>
266 </pre>
267
268 <impo>
269 You will need to rerun <c>syslinux /dev/sda1</c> each time you modify the
270 <path>syslinux.cfg</path> file for the configuration changes to take affect.
271 </impo>
272
273 </body>
274 </section>
275 </chapter>
276 <chapter>
277 <title>Using the LiveUSB</title>
278 <section>
279 <title>Booting</title>
280 <body>
281
282 <p>
283 Insert the USB flash drive and turn on the computer, making sure the BIOS is
284 set to boot from USB. If all goes well you should be presented with a standard
285 syslinux prompt.
286 </p>
287
288 <p>
289 You should be able to follow the generic installation instructions found in the
290 <uri link="/doc/en/handbook/">Gentoo Handbook</uri> from here on.
291 </p>
292
293 </body>
294 </section>
295 </chapter>
296 </guide>

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