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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 1.16 2009/01/26 07:15:58 nightmorph Exp $ -->
4
5 <guide>
6 <title>Gentoo Linux LiveUSB HOWTO</title>
7
8 <author title="Author">
9 <mail link="brix"/>
10 </author>
11 <author title="Editor">
12 <mail link="neys"/>
13 </author>
14
15 <abstract>
16 This HOWTO explains how to create a Gentoo Linux LiveUSB or, in other words,
17 how to emulate an x86 or AMD64 Gentoo Linux LiveCD using a USB flash drive.
18 </abstract>
19
20 <!-- The content of this document is licensed under the CC-BY-SA license -->
21 <!-- See http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.5 -->
22 <license/>
23
24 <version>6</version>
25 <date>2009-01-26</date>
26
27 <chapter>
28 <title>Introduction</title>
29 <section>
30 <title>The LiveUSB</title>
31 <body>
32
33 <p>
34 This HOWTO explains how to create a <e>Gentoo Linux LiveUSB</e> or, in other
35 words, how to emulate an x86 or AMD64 Gentoo Linux LiveCD using a USB flash
36 drive. This is particularly useful for installing Gentoo Linux on a modern
37 laptop with no CD-ROM drive.
38 </p>
39
40 <note>
41 The <c>sys-boot/unetbootin</c> package provides a much easier alternative to
42 create a bootable USB stick from any bootable CD image.
43 </note>
44
45 <p>
46 Although the instructions found in this document aim at emulating a Gentoo
47 Linux LiveCD using a USB flash drive, they should work for any arbitrary block
48 device as long as you adjust the device names accordingly.
49 </p>
50
51 </body>
52 </section>
53 <section>
54 <title>Prerequisites</title>
55 <body>
56
57 <p>
58 In order to use a Gentoo Linux LiveUSB you need the following:
59 </p>
60
61 <ul>
62 <li>Bootable USB flash drive with at least 1GB</li>
63 <li>i686 or x86_64 computer with support for booting from USB</li>
64 </ul>
65
66 <p>
67 You will also need access to the following for creating the LiveUSB:
68 </p>
69
70 <ul>
71 <li>
72 A computer running Gentoo Linux (or alternatively another Linux
73 distribution)
74 </li>
75 </ul>
76
77 <note>
78 If you want to use the minimal CD on a smaller key or boot a &lt;i686 system,
79 you need to follow the procedure described in this document with a
80 <b>2006.0</b> minimal CD image because of a <uri
81 link="http://bugs.gentoo.org/show_bug.cgi?id=173117">bug</uri> in more recent
82 releases.
83 </note>
84
85 </body>
86 </section>
87 </chapter>
88 <chapter>
89 <title>Preparing the USB flash drive</title>
90 <section>
91 <title>Partitioning the drive</title>
92 <body>
93
94 <warn>
95 These instructions will erase all data from the USB flash drive. Make sure to
96 backup your data first.
97 </warn>
98
99 <impo>
100 This HOWTO assumes that the <path>/dev/sdc</path> device node corresponds to
101 your USB flash drive. If you have other SCSI-like devices make sure to use the
102 correct device node.
103 </impo>
104
105 <p>
106 Create a FAT16 partition on your USB flash drive and mark it bootable using
107 <c>fdisk</c>. An example partitioning scheme can be seen below:
108 </p>
109
110 <note>
111 If your key is 4GB or larger, use partition type <c>b</c> (W95 FAT32).
112 </note>
113
114 <pre caption="Example partitioning scheme">
115 # <i>fdisk -l /dev/sdc</i>
116
117 Disk /dev/sdc: 2063 MB, 2063597056 bytes
118 255 heads, 63 sectors/track, 250 cylinders
119 Units = cylinders of 16065 * 512 = 8225280 bytes
120
121 Device Boot Start End Blocks Id System
122 /dev/sdc1 * 1 250 2008124+ 6 FAT16
123 </pre>
124
125 </body>
126 </section>
127 <section>
128 <title>Creating the filesystem</title>
129 <body>
130
131 <p>
132 Create a FAT16 filesystem on the USB flash drive using <c>mkdosfs</c>:
133 </p>
134
135 <note>
136 If your key is 4GB or larger, use <c>-F 32</c> to create a FAT32 filesystem.
137 </note>
138
139 <pre caption="Running mkdosfs">
140 <comment>(Make sure you have sys-fs/dosfstools installed)</comment>
141 # <i>emerge -av sys-fs/dosfstools</i>
142 # <i>mkdosfs -F 16 /dev/sdc1</i>
143 mkdosfs 2.11 (12 Mar 2005)
144 </pre>
145
146 </body>
147 </section>
148 <section>
149 <title>Installing a Master Boot Record</title>
150 <body>
151
152 <p>
153 Install the precompiled Master Boot Record (MBR) from <c>syslinux</c> on the
154 USB flash drive:
155 </p>
156
157 <pre caption="Installing a master boot record">
158 <comment>(Make sure you have sys-boot/syslinux-3.00 or later installed)</comment>
159 # <i>emerge -av '>sys-boot/syslinux-3'</i>
160 # <i>dd if=/usr/share/syslinux/mbr.bin of=/dev/sdc</i>
161 0+1 records in
162 0+1 records out
163 304 bytes (304 B) copied, 0.0162317 s, 18.7 kB/s
164 </pre>
165
166 </body>
167 </section>
168 </chapter>
169
170 <chapter>
171 <title>Copying the files to your key</title>
172 <section>
173 <title>Mounting the Gentoo Linux Installation CD</title>
174 <body>
175
176 <p>
177 Download either <path>livecd-i686-installer-2007.0.iso</path> or
178 <path>livecd-amd64-installer-2007.0.iso</path> from your local Gentoo Linux
179 <uri link="/main/en/where.xml">mirror</uri> site and mount the ISO image on
180 <path>/mnt/cdrom</path> as shown below:
181 </p>
182
183 <pre caption="Mounting the Gentoo Linux Installation CD ISO image">
184 <comment>(Create the /mnt/cdrom mount point if needed)</comment>
185 # <i>mkdir -p /mnt/cdrom</i>
186 # <i>mount -o loop,ro -t iso9660 livecd-i686-installer-2007.0.iso /mnt/cdrom</i>
187 </pre>
188
189 <note>
190 If you receive a <e>Could not find any loop device</e> error message when
191 mounting the iso, you need to enable the <c>Loopback device support</c> option
192 in your kernel configuration.
193 </note>
194
195 </body>
196 </section>
197 <section>
198 <title>Mounting the LiveUSB</title>
199 <body>
200
201 <p>
202 Mount the newly formatted USB flash drive on <path>/mnt/usb</path> as shown
203 below:
204 </p>
205
206 <pre caption="Mounting the USB flash drive">
207 <comment>(Create the /mnt/usb mount point if needed)</comment>
208 # <i>mkdir -p /mnt/usb</i>
209 # <i>mount -t vfat /dev/sdc1 /mnt/usb</i>
210 </pre>
211
212 </body>
213 </section>
214 <section>
215 <title>Copying the files</title>
216 <body>
217
218 <p>
219 Copy the files from the Gentoo Linux Installation CD to the LiveUSB. The files
220 need to be reordered a bit as we will be using the <c>syslinux</c> bootloader
221 instead of <c>isolinux</c>:
222 </p>
223
224 <pre caption="Copying the files">
225 # <i>cp -r /mnt/cdrom/* /mnt/usb</i>
226 # <i>mv /mnt/usb/isolinux/* /mnt/usb</i>
227 # <i>mv /mnt/usb/isolinux.cfg /mnt/usb/syslinux.cfg</i>
228 # <i>rm -rf /mnt/usb/isolinux*</i>
229
230 <comment>(The memtest86 kernel needs to be renamed for loading it via syslinux)</comment>
231 # <i>mv /mnt/usb/memtest86 /mnt/usb/memtest</i>
232 </pre>
233
234 <p>
235 You can now unmount the ISO image:
236 </p>
237
238 <pre caption="Unmounting the ISO image">
239 # <i>umount /mnt/cdrom</i>
240 </pre>
241
242 </body>
243 </section>
244 <section>
245 <title>Adjusting the bootloader configuration</title>
246 <body>
247
248 <p>
249 Adjust the syslinux configuration file using <c>sed</c> as shown below. The
250 <c>slowusb</c> parameter will introduce some extra delays before attempting to
251 mount the filesystem. This is needed to allow the USB flash drive to settle
252 upon detection.
253 </p>
254
255 <pre caption="Adjusting the boot parameters">
256 # <i>sed -i \
257 -e "s:cdroot:cdroot slowusb:" \
258 -e "s:kernel memtest86:kernel memtest:" \
259 /mnt/usb/syslinux.cfg</i>
260 </pre>
261
262 </body>
263 </section>
264 </chapter>
265
266 <chapter>
267 <title>Installing a bootloader</title>
268 <section>
269 <title>Unmounting the drive</title>
270 <body>
271
272 <p>
273 Make sure you unmount the USB flash drive before installing the bootloader:
274 </p>
275
276 <pre caption="Unmounting the USB flash drive">
277 # <i>umount /mnt/usb</i>
278 </pre>
279
280 </body>
281 </section>
282 <section>
283 <title>Installing syslinux</title>
284 <body>
285
286 <p>
287 Finally install the <c>syslinux</c> bootloader on the USB flash drive:
288 </p>
289
290 <pre caption="Running syslinux">
291 # <i>syslinux /dev/sdc1</i>
292 </pre>
293
294 <impo>
295 You will need to rerun <c>syslinux /dev/sdc1</c> each time you modify the
296 <path>syslinux.cfg</path> file for the configuration changes to take affect.
297 </impo>
298
299 </body>
300 </section>
301 </chapter>
302 <chapter>
303 <title>Using the LiveUSB</title>
304 <section>
305 <title>Booting</title>
306 <body>
307
308 <p>
309 Insert the USB flash drive and turn on the computer, making sure the BIOS is
310 set to boot from USB. If all goes well you should be presented with a standard
311 syslinux prompt.
312 </p>
313
314 <p>
315 You should be able to follow the generic installation instructions found in the
316 <uri link="/doc/en/handbook/">Gentoo Handbook</uri> from here on.
317 </p>
318
319 </body>
320 </section>
321 </chapter>
322 </guide>

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