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For use in multiple systems


The aim of this howto is to create a USB Stick, like a LiveCD, which can boot on any suitable computer, but which can store personal data and configurations. The solution proposed here is not a so called persistent stick as we do not separate the live data from the fixed data in different partitions. This method creates a conventional Mageia installation on a USB Flash Drive using a Live-DVD ISO.

Here are the detailed steps:

If you specify the wrong device to write the system to, you can lose all your data. If you are not absolutely sure you are writing to the correct disk, disconnect your internal disk or do a backup before creating the stick.

Partitioning the USB stick

We suggest to use the 32-bit Live Media (i586) for creating an universal useable stick. The 64bit architecture can be used but is less universal. The CDs only contain essential drivers and this stick needs a comprehensive set of drivers to handle all the hardware it may be plugged into.

Perform an installation from the running live system. At the partitioning step, choose the USB stick as the drive disk. Select Use existing partitions if you have already prepared your partition. Otherwise, select Custom disk partition, and create a single partition using the full space on the stick. The option Erase and use entire disk is not suitable because it would create several partitions that may not always be supported on the host hardware.

Select the expert mode and, in options, check the option noatime.

Installing the boot loader

You have to install the boot loader in the MBR (master boot record) of your USB stick.

Continue the installation according to your choices until the summary step.

In system, configure the Bootloader. In the first screen you get, select GRUB2 as bootloader and your stick as Boot device, like /dev/sdb. Keep only entries for the present installation. lilo and grub are not able to manage the change in the naming of disk drives and should not be used.

Final step

You will be asked if you want to delete unused drivers. Don't. KEEP THEM to have an universal system able to manage different configurations.

After the final steps of the installation, your stick is ready. Enjoy !

The information originated from discussion.