running linux from a USB drive

I remember reading this somewhere on the forum about running Linux directly from a USB drive. I was wondering if anybody could give me a little more information on this. My compy has crashed after uninstalling Starcraft2. Cannot find Windows 32. I’m not sure if my HDD is completely fried or if Windows is simply broken (again). Either way I am done with Windows and would like to move on to a Linux based system.

Other than that does anybody have any tips on saving the mass of files on my HDD? I am sure there are ways around it. Most likely I am just going to buy a second HDD to start fresh and then pick up all my old files from the old drive before I reformat it. Any options out there to do this through USB and a 250GB portable HD?

You can run a “Live CD” with many Linux distributions, which basically allows you to “demo” the OS directly from the installation media (CD/DVD or USB Drive) without installing anything. This should allow you to access your HDD no problem assuming the drive itself isn’t fried.

If you want to actually install Linux directly on your flash drive, I’m sure you can, but that’d probably come with its own set of complications. But I’m not sure if you’re asking that anyway.

Hope this helps a little.

It’s simple actually, insert usb stick, install unetbootin, download .iso with OS (Ubuntu will do great) then install the .iso on the stick with Unetbootin. Ta da!

Thanks. That sounds like about what I’m looking for. So long as I can access my HD and assuming it isn’t fried. I pray not.

Good luck, dude. If you got far enough to see some ‘cannot find…’ it’s probably not fried (meaning, seems to be mechanically working well enough for now), just some corrupted files. Outside of possible file permission issues, i bet you have very few problems with that. Hopefully.

No problem. Regarding HDD - first thing to check is partition table. I remember using Testdisk for this task years ago with success. If partition table is ok then check filesystems on each partition. If they are ok then check files you are interested in. If partition table or filesystems are corrupt it is probably not harmful because you can reconstruct them. It’s a lot worse when particular files are broken because it means the actual data is lost/corrupted. Filesystem/partition table damage is not harmful because it is just metadata which can be reconstructed and even if this is problematic you still can scan disk for physical data with some recovery tools. Good luck!

P.S. of course do not write anything to the disk as it may overwrite existing data and make your efforts useless.

You can always try to fix the MBR first. Use tools like Easus partition recovery later if you can’t access anything.

I have run ubuntu linux as well as renoise 2.8.1 from a usb drive. Check out this site for info/instructions on creating your usb drive.

I got far enough to find out i’m not missing any files. That’s the good news. The bad news is i can’t seem to grant myself access to write anything to my external hd.

you can create a linux live usb drive that be modified aka written to. i did it a few months ago but i cant remember how exactly. i may have used a different usb creator than pendrive linux. i will look into this and repost cause i know its possible.