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I am trying to install Linux, specifically Lubuntu or BackTrack 5 on an external HDD (Seagate FreeAgent GoFlex) but I have had no luck using YUMI, or UNetbootin to get it working. I do not have a CD to install from.

I want the hard drive to be able to save the data within Linux – as in: if I install a program, it will stay there. I also tried doing this with a flash drive, which does boot, but it does not save data. I tried following Pendrive's tutorial on creating a casper-rw file and adding "persistent" to various files, but I cannot get it to save files.

Basically, I just want a form of Linux on a portable device that will save files and settings between boots.

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I have tried Slackware, GNU/Debian and Slax on usb drive, and works fine in persistent mode.

So maybe you might try with one of those distributions.

GNU/Debian, specially offer a minimal version that can be installed into a usb drive. Here is

http://cdimage.debian.org/debian-cd/6.0.5-live/i386/usb-hdd/

You can make it booteable executing from a GNU/linux terminal:

dd if=<path-to-img-file> of=/dev/sdX

where X identify your memory stick. Almost always /dev/sda is the hard disk, so usb stick must be /dev/sdb or /dev/sdc or...

NOTE: Your memory stick must have a fat32 partition.

And you will need a extra partition to save your works, which must be labeled as live-rw and can be ext2, ext3, or whatever you want!.

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Found my own solution -- partitioned External, and installed Lubuntu using a LiveUSB install. But I will mark this as best answer as it was useful for the case originally mentioned. – Moriarty Oct 3 '12 at 23:41
    
When you say: "And you will need a extra partition to save your works, which must be labeled as live-rw and can be ext2, ext3, or whatever you want!." You should explain (just one line, a few words, improves very much) how and when. – user193726 Jan 29 '13 at 15:38

On top of sgmarts answer trying using multiboot software for installing it as I find they usually work best for making portable linux with distros with persistence, xboot is one you could use for example, yumi I always found had this flaw.

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