Posted by Brian @ 4:01 pm on February 3rd 2008

How to make a USB thumb drive Linux bootable

I’m in the process of putting Debian on a decTOP, and the first step is putting a bootable USB thumb drive together. I’ve been wanting to do this for a long time, so the decTOP gives me a good excuse.

  • 1. Grab a USB drive. I used a 1gb drive I had sitting around.
  • 2. Format the drive:
    mkfs -t vfat /dev/sdc1
    Your drive will probably have a different letter, maybe sda or sdb. MAKE SURE YOU ARE FORMATTING THE RIGHT DRIVE.
  • 3. Get a copy of Damn Small Linux – I used this version.
  • 4. Extract the zip file containing Damn Small Linux to the USB drive.
  • 5. Make the USB bootable:
    syslinux -f /dev/sdc1
  • You’re done.

    I’ll test mine at a few public access terminals. I’m curious how easy it would be to boot from the USB drive instead of being forced to use the inevitably crippled and/or virus/spyware/malware-ridden boxes one usually finds.

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