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 Forum index » House Training » Beginners Help ( Start Here)
What file system for booting Puppy From USB flash drive?
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Antipodal

Joined: 26 Mar 2009
Posts: 244
Location: The other side of the world

PostPosted: Tue 10 Apr 2018, 10:42    Post subject:  What file system for booting Puppy From USB flash drive?  

Hello!

I have booted several Puppy Official distributions from CD/DVD

Never from a USB flash drive though I use them as a secondary storage media.

Now, I would like to boot Xenial and Easy from flash drives.

I prefer Verbatim flash drives.

Should I take some special care regarding the file system in which they are
formated?.

Thank you in advance.
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Mike Walsh


Joined: 28 Jun 2014
Posts: 4022
Location: King's Lynn, UK.

PostPosted: Tue 10 Apr 2018, 12:13    Post subject:  

Hallo, Antipodal.

Hoo, there's always been controversy over this one.

Ext2 is more suited to flash drives, but has a tendency to spontaneously and very easily 'corrupt', without warning.

Ext3 is safer, in that it has what's called a 'journal'. You can usually recover ext3 file-systems; the command-line function e2fsck makes use of this when it checks & attempts to repair anything that might go wrong. (Ext2 doesn't have this 'safety-feature'.)

As for Ext4, well.....this is the one that's causing problems with Puppy finding its save-file/folder at boot time. There's several articles on the Forum about this in recent years; some of the others can no doubt point you in the right direction if you wish to peruse them.

FAT32; absolutely fine, so long as you go with the save-file option. The save-file contains a Linux file-system inside it, of course.....which is what Pup needs.

If you want to use the more-modern 'save-folder' option, the underlying file-system must be a Linux one, i.e., ext2/3/4.

------------------------------------------------

Difference between the save-file and save-folder? The save-file is of 'fixed' size; if it gets full, and needs to be made bigger, you have to do this manually. The save-folder, on the other hand, will automatically expand/contract with its contents, all the way up to the size of the partition you're using...

--------------------------------------------------

As a general rule of thumb, it's fair to say that ext3 is probably best for 'standard' Puppies. I can't comment on Barry's recent offerings, but I believe most of them require an .img file to be written direct to an [unformatted?] flash drive, using the 'dd' command.....and this creates a FAT32 file-system in the process. (You need to be careful when you use this; it's not known as 'disk destroyer' for nothing..! Laughing) Some of the other 'devs' have taken to using this method, too.

--------------------------------------------------

As a last resort, there's what we call the 'quick'n'dirty' method. With this, you format your flash drive to ext2 or 3 with gParted.....not forgetting to set the boot 'flag'. Mount the ISO file, and copy the entire contents of the disk across to your flash-drive. Then, run the Grub4DOS bootloader config tool, and tell it to look only on the flash drive.

This is the way I've set-up my last half-dozen Pups. Flash drive or hard drive, it still works just as well.....

Hope some of that helps. Any questions, ask away.


Mike. Wink

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RetroTechGuy


Joined: 15 Dec 2009
Posts: 2898
Location: USA

PostPosted: Tue 10 Apr 2018, 12:45    Post subject:  

I've always leaned towards the Ext2 -- just because it's been around a long time, and is a known quantity... A friend of mine was running Ext3 (this is some years back, now...) -- it became corrupted, and it continued to run until it basically destroyed itself (it didn't autocheck if errors occurred). This was a full install Linux system (no Puppy).

My solution on the Ext2 is to modify the boot to include the command "pfix=fsck":

Code:
kernel /Lupu528/vmlinuz   psubdir=Lupu528 pmedia=atahd pfix=fsck


Yeah, it checks the save file on every boot. But, the check is really very quick if there are no errors in the file system. And if there are errors, you really want to perform the check -- so the time it takes is not really relevant.

I've long thought that this should be the default for every Puppy install. And the experts who don't want to check, can simply go remove this code (this way a CD boot would also perform the check on a save file, without tinkering).

Early on, I had more than one save file become hopelessly corrupted, because the auto check didn't occur.

As for Ext3? If I were to use that, I would still add this code -- it shouldn't hurt. And on the size of most save files, it doesn't take more than a few seconds.

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bigpup


Joined: 11 Oct 2009
Posts: 10871
Location: Charleston S.C. USA

PostPosted: Tue 10 Apr 2018, 14:24    Post subject:  

As you can see from the above posts, there are options.

I will add that some computers expect the boot device to be formatted in FAT32.
All USB flash drives usually are already formatted fat 32.
Also, you need to flag the first partition boot (if you have more than one) and place the boot loader files on it.
Or simply make one single partition using all the space, flag it boot, and just install everything to it.

For Barry's latest builds, I would follow his instructions for doing installs.
He does not follow exactly the normal way Puppy does things.

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Antipodal

Joined: 26 Mar 2009
Posts: 244
Location: The other side of the world

PostPosted: Tue 10 Apr 2018, 15:51    Post subject: USB FLASH DRIVE FILE SYSTEM FOR BOOTING BARRY KAULER'S O.S.
Subject description: Thanks.
 

@
Mike Walsh
RetroTechGuy
bigpup

Thank you very much, most friendly guys! Smile

You have been setting the foundations for my next - surely unforgetable - BK adventures. Very Happy

My best wishes to you all
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Mike Walsh


Joined: 28 Jun 2014
Posts: 4022
Location: King's Lynn, UK.

PostPosted: Tue 10 Apr 2018, 17:44    Post subject:  

@ Antipodal:-

Don't forget, when running 'frugals' (as opposed to a 'full' install - which you don't really need unless you are seriously 'RAM-challenged' Laughing ), you can create one single partition, spanning the whole flash-drive.....then install multiple Pups to it, by the simple expedient of creating a folder with a distinctive name for each Pup. You then install each respective Pup inside its named folder.

Grub4DOS will search 'two-deep'.....and will find each Puppy's kernel + main SFS file inside each of those sub-folders.


Mike. Wink

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mikeslr


Joined: 16 Jun 2008
Posts: 2523
Location: 500 seconds from Sol

PostPosted: Tue 10 Apr 2018, 20:47    Post subject: Make certain of the USB-Stick size  

Hi Antipodal,

With most Puppies (and DebianDogs) the actual size of the drive doesn't matter that much. If its sold as a 8 Gb drive and it's actually only 7.51 (rounded up to conserve printing costs Laughing ) it's fine. But for some Puppies which require that they be burned using the dd command, if it has a minimum requirement of 8 Gbs, it mean not a smidgen less than 8 Gb. I know that's true of some of ETP's recent Puppies. Might be true of Barry's. And while Verbatim has a good reputation, to quote one of the masters of the English language, "Trust, but verify".

gparted will provide you with the actual size.

mikesLr
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Burn_IT


Joined: 12 Aug 2006
Posts: 3160
Location: Tamworth UK

PostPosted: Wed 11 Apr 2018, 06:30    Post subject:  

There are two considerations.
1) You should NOT use a journaling file system on a flash drive - though that is becoming less of a problem with later drives.
2) Up till recently, machines would not BOOT from a flash drive formatted with other than NTFS or FATnn.

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Mike Walsh


Joined: 28 Jun 2014
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Location: King's Lynn, UK.

PostPosted: Wed 11 Apr 2018, 10:40    Post subject:  

Burn_IT wrote:
There are two considerations.
1) You should NOT use a journaling file system on a flash drive - though that is becoming less of a problem with later drives.
2) Up till recently, machines would not BOOT from a flash drive formatted with other than NTFS or FATnn.


Hiya, Burn_IT.

Mm. I don't know so much. How far back does 'recently' cover in this context?

Ye anciente Dell 1100 lappie (from 2002/3) will quite happily boot from a USB stick using ext2/3. That's 15 years old, so.....where d'ya 'draw the line'?

(Admittedly, I updated the BIOS 2 years ago to be able to max out the VRAM, and boot Pups using the 'i915.modeset=0' workaround for the awkward Intel graphics.....but even that BIOS dates from 2005!)


Mike. Wink

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Burn_IT


Joined: 12 Aug 2006
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Location: Tamworth UK

PostPosted: Wed 11 Apr 2018, 11:09    Post subject:  

Yes it is the age of the BIOS. Obviously booting is a BIOS function and very few earlier BIOS's supported EXTnn.
It wouldn't surprise me if that original BIOS did not support USB boot either. I know my Dell from around there doesn't - I have to use PLoP.

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RetroTechGuy


Joined: 15 Dec 2009
Posts: 2898
Location: USA

PostPosted: Wed 11 Apr 2018, 12:40    Post subject:  

bigpup wrote:
As you can see from the above posts, there are options.

I will add that some computers expect the boot device to be formatted in FAT32.
All USB flash drives usually are already formatted fat 32.


Ah yes! Don't automatically reject the default Fat32... This is handy if you're using it to transfer data between Puppy and Windows - in particular, Win10. Win10 apparently has this new "safety feature" that does a full HDD scan, followed by deletion of all relevant files, if (for example) Puppy mounts that NTFS drive, and places any files on it. So you can't just copy to it, you need to use an intermediate drive.

I often use Ext2 just because I can copy from my Puppy, onto the drive without the inevitable file collisions and errors that occur when moving things from Ext[234] to Fat32 or NTFS...

Regarding booting from flash drives, there is also the item that some machine will only boot from a particular USB port, or side.

I have an old Asus netbook, and it will only boot from the right side USB port. Apparently the others only become active once the OS is loaded...

The (WIn10) laptop I'm running on right now won't boot from the SD card slot (my older laptop would -- which was handy, since I basically never use that anyway). Instead, this Win10 laptop is currently booted from a 120 GB HDD plugged into the USB port (and velcroed to the lid). When I want to boot Windows, I simply shut down and unplug it. Windows doesn't know that Linux is hanging out there, and as long as I don't write to the NTFS partitions, I can read the data there. It's a giant USB drive... Wink (running multiple versions of Puppy)

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mikeslr


Joined: 16 Jun 2008
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PostPosted: Wed 11 Apr 2018, 12:41    Post subject: Optional Partitioning of USB-Stick  

I doubt if this can be done if installing a Puppy requires use of the dd command. (untested). But for most Puppies and Dogs that can boot using grub4dos or perhaps (untested) Grub2, if the USB-Stick is large enough before installing the OS I use gparted to create 2 or three partitions.

The last (2nd or 3rd) partition is Linux Ext3 using most of the available space. The first partition is Fat32. If there's a middle partition, it is also Fat32.

Puppies and Dogs provide the most options when they are located on a Linux partition: as examples, can use a SaveFolder, can use the space for compiling, On the other hand, Windows can not read Linux partitions OOTB. A program can be installed into Windows which enable it to read Linux partitions. But, as Linux OS usually runs without anti-malware applications, I prefer not to install it. What I've discovered under that circumstance is that although Windows can read a Fat32 partition, if it is preceded by a Linux partition the following Fat32 partition won't be recognized as being present; e.g. with a Linux 2nd partition, Windows never reaches a Fat32 3rd partition.

The first partition is where the boot-loader is located. If booting is the first partition's only purpose, or if there is a middle partition, probably less than 200* Mbs is sufficient for the 1st partition. If the USB-Key is going to be used as an intermediate stage for transferring files between a Linux OS and a Windows OS, having a middle Fat32 partition is prefered: less wear on the 1st partition, so less chance of corrupting its ability to boot. With these considerations in mind, the total space allocated to the first and middle partitions will depend on your anticipated need to use the USB-stick for transfering files.

When plugged into a computer running Windows, Windows will offer to scan the USB-Stick for malware and, thus, can handle any malware which has found its way onto the first or middle partitions, at least to the extent that it handles malware in general.

And, AFAIK, computers employing the UEFI boot mechanism, require a Fat32 boot partition.

After formatting the Stick, I mount the ISO, copy necessary files to a folder on the Linux partition, then run Grub4dos to install it to the USB-Stick. Grub4dos only installs to the 1st partition. Grub4dos finds Puppies on the Linux partition and creates a boot-menu.lst which includes those Puppies. Stanzas for "Dogs" have to be hand-written.

Regarding Linux Ext2 vs. Ext3 vs. Ext4: Basically I agree with Mike Walsh. There was a post on a recent thread calling into question whether Ext2 was more error prone than Ext3. But, I haven't been able to find it. I've opted for Ext3 for a couple of years. The only problem I've experienced with my USB-Keys is when, forgetting to take them out of my shirt pocket, they've gone thru a wash and dry cycle. Embarassed Laughing

No, seriously, IMHO there's a better chance of your loosing a USB-Key, or manually screwing them up than their becoming corrupted by ordinary use.

mikesLr

* My Windows 7 computer's boot partition is 350 Mbs, of which 300 Mbs is unused.
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