Running a LiveCD is great, booting and running from a USB Flashdrive is sweet!
It's fast. It's handy. It's beautiful. It's secure. And it's silent, no noisy harddrive or optical drive activity.
MCNLive - All-In-One Solution - Live USB
After you have burned the MCNLive .iso file to a CD-R(W), you have an all-in-one solution.
Live CD: You can use it as a Live CD, as it is.
Installation CD: From the running MCNLive you can use a graphiphal wizard to install it on a USB
Flash Drive or external hard drive. For computers able to boot from USB, you would just plugin your newly configured USB stick,
set the BIOS boot priority and boot it. You got a Live USB now.
Start up CD: For older computers without USB boot ability, you can use the same CD in combination with the USB drive to get all features of the Live USB of MCNLive. Insert the CD, plugin your USB Stick.
Restart your PC. At the first screen hit 'F1', type: livecd fromusb
The boot process will continue, using the USB drive. Your CD/DVD drive is freed up, you can remove the CD medium from the drive.
A PC/Notebook with a recent motherboard and BIOS. Most computers not older than 4 years should have an option in the BIOS
to set the boot sequence to USB-HDD. With a BIOS update we got it working even with a 2001 motherboard.
The minimum capacity of the USB Flash Drive/USB Stick: 256 MB for the Xfce version (Jordaan), 512 MB for the KDE version. 1 GB is fine too, even a 2 GB will work.
If your motherboard does not support booting from USB, you can use a combination of burned CD and USB flash drive, using the bootcode: livecd fromusb.
You need to burn the downloaded iso-file to a CD-R or CD-RW. The installation to the USB stick is done from the running CD, with a graphical wizard.
Some flash drives come factory preformatted with an odd partition table. When you see booting from usb: 'no operating system found', you first need to fix the partition table.
Plugin the drive, start the Mandriva Control Center (MCC) -> Mount points. Here you can find the name of the usb device, it is one of the tabs, sda or sdb or sdc ...
Close the MCC.
Open a terminal window, type: su
Type the root password: root
Example, the usb stick is 'sdb'. Make sure it is NOT an internal hard disk!
Type: dd if=/dev/zero of=/dev/sdb bs=1M count=2
This will erase the MBR and the partition table on the drive. Now you can use the MCC to create a new FAT32 partition and format it.
And run the "Create Live USB' wizard.
More info here.
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MCNLive is meant for USB Flash Memory devices, thus: USB Keys, Flash Drives, Pen/Thumb Drives, Sticks. You can also use an external
USB hard drive (it needs a FAT32 formatted first partition!).
For setting up: Don't boot with inserted USB Stick. Insert it after you booted successfully.
Step by Step: Create MCNLive On A Stick
Get the BIOS info: Insert the stick, start your PC (without Live CD), enter the BIOS at the very beginning, mostly done by pressing 'DEL' or 'ESC' or a function key.
Wait two seconds. Look for a section like 'Advanced BIOS Features', this might be named different in your BIOS.
Find something like: First Boot Device, Second Boot Device, Third Boot Device. Here you find the available USB boot options, USB-HDD, USB-ZIP.
USB-HDD is the preferred one. Set the USB device prior to the harddisk, CD-ROM as first boot device.
Some BIOS have a special feature. As soon as you insert a USB mass storage device before booting, the BIOS will detect it and
make it available/visible under 'Hard disk drive priority'. Enter this menu, and you will see your USB Stick besides your internal harddisk. In this case you would set
the boot priority here! This is similiar to the USB-HDD method. MCNLive was built and tested on such a computer, a Shuttle SB61G2, with AWARD Bios.
Notebooks tend to have a stripped down BIOS. Hard to find the USB boot settings. Here an example how to set the boot sequence on a Lenovo IBM 3000 C100 M740.
Insert the USB stick. Boot and press F1 at the very beginning. Once in the BIOS navigate to the 'Boot' menu. Hit 'enter'. Navigate to 'HDD', hit 'enter'. You will see your usb stick below your harddisk.
With the PgUp key you would set the boot priority.
Restart your PC with the burned LiveCD inserted, without USB stick, don't use the copy2ram bootcode, boot into the graphical environment. Insert the USB Flash Drive. Wait two seconds.
In the menu 'MCNLive' you can find a program to setup the Live mode.
Your BIOS must support USB-HDD booting. The USB stick must have a FAT partition, with the boot flag set.
The wizard does not repartition or re-format the drive. You can create partitions using the Mandriva Control center. (Be sure to hit: toggle to expert mode).
Some notebooks need the bootcode: livecd irqpoll noapic nolapic
Reboot without LiveCD, but with the USB Flash Drive inserted. Make sure the boot sequence in the BIOS is set.
Questions And Answers
My computer is too old to boot from USB :-(
* Use the 'Create LiveUSB (nofdisk) script to put MCNLive on your USB key. (steps see above)
* Insert the LiveCD. Insert the USB key. Boot it. At the first graphical screen hit F1, type: livecd fromusb
* The boot process will continue and use the USB stick. After a while you can remove the CD from the tray.
Any more BIOS tricks?
* On a lot of Asus P4/P5 mainboards: enable "hard disk" usb emulation on (will make USB-HDD work)
* Play with: Enable/Disable USB legacy support (for all devices, if this option exist)
* USB keyboard emulation: on (if this option exists)
* Turn off USB Hi-Speed (2.0) (if this option exists and if you have a buggy usb port)
* Fast Boot: Off (if this option exists)
My Flash Drive doesn't boot, what now?
* Check the partition on the stick, Mandriva Control Center
* Are all the files copied to the first partition? If not, rerun the install program. Don't uninsert the stick too fast,
it takes some time to synchronize the files. Also, sometimes the usb ports have a hickup. Just try again.
* Check your BIOS settings.
* When setting up your USB Stick you first need to boot without inserted stick. Plug it in after you are in the GUI, then start the setup script.
* When you are creating the partition(s) manually, please make sure the first partition is big enough. Example: MCNLive Leuven needs at least 350 MB while Jordaan is happy with 220 MB.
* Some notebooks though booting fine from usb do need a cheatcode to finish the bootprocess. On a Lenovo IBM 3000 C100 M740
you need to type: livecd irqpoll noapic. If you see on your notebook: 'dropping you to a limited shell' and you are sure that the setup
of the USB stick is fine, then you can also try: livecd pci=routeirq irqpoll nopcmcia noapic nolapic
How can I write physically to my flash drive when booting from USB
* Use the bootcode 'livecd copy2ram' (if you have at least 512 MB RAM). Your device is freed up.
* Since MCNLive "Delft": when booting from USB the drive is mounted read-write.
* Older versions: run the small wizard 'Remount USB rw' (in the MCNLive menu). This will make the first partition on the stick writable.
* Note: a second partition on the stick is always writable per default.
Will My Flashdrive Get Damaged?
Quality USB sticks can safely survive 1 Mill. write cycles. Running MCNLive by default *no write access* is made. You can still use your stick in non-live mode, as a normal storage device.
How to get rid of the created partition(s)?
Boot with the LiveCD. Insert the flash drive. Open the Mandriva Control Center. Mount Points. Partitions. Click on the tab for your stick.
Click on the partition(s). Click on the 'unmount' button. Click 'delete'. Done. Now, you can make a new partition and format it.
But I DO want to use an external USB harddisk/Minidrive !
Create a FAT32 partition (> 500 MB) as the first partition on your drive.
Format it. Boot with the Live CD. Run 'Create Live USB'. Set your BIOS to boot from USB-HDD.
You can use a combination of CD and USB drive for older computers. Just insert your usb drive, insert the CD, at the
initial screen hit F1, type: livecd fromusb
How can I save my documents and personal settings?
MCNLive Cherbourg, VirtualCity and later: included are small wizards to save and restore your personal documents and setting.
Use the copy2ram feature!
MCNLive Leuven_v2, Cherbourg and later - with a minimum of 512 MB RAM boot with the cheatcode: livecd copy2ram - now your USB stick is free, you can use it as a
normal storage device. Experience the speed. Have fun :-)
I want to save the systemwide settings
* The best way: roll your own version (remastering), with all your favorite programs. It is easy, look at the
documentation page. Since MCNLive "Delft" a graphical wizard 'Remaster Live' is included.
* MCNLive Delft and later: Create a loop image (wizard to set it up included), then boot with the cheatcode
'livecd persist' (experimental).