Bootable Linux USB Drive: How-To

It’s a new year so we’ll cut to the chase and skip the intro/background part. You find yourself in some situation needing a bootable USB drive with Linux on it. So here it is:

1) Get your hands on a working computer and plug in the USB drive you’re going to use for this project.

2) Download a Linux disk image. I recommend either Ubuntu or Mint.

3) Download a universal USB installer. I recommend one from pendrivelinuxdotcom.

4) Run the installer.

5) Select the disk image.

6) Specify which drive is the USB. Check and double check this part to be sure.

7) Specify how much of the drive you want to use for persistent storage. This is optional.

8) Click on the “Create” button and wait.

Once it is done, plug in the USB to your machine and power it up. Some computers detect the USB and boot that up automatically, while others need a settings change. You need to get to the boot menu first. It usually shows which key it is while your computer is booting up. The most common ones are Esc, F2 and F8.

The Linux boot screen is very obvious. You’ll know when it’s doing its thing. For me, it’s easy enough to figure out how to use Linux. It has a graphical UI that is similar to Windows but only has different labels and positions for the basic stuff you need. Don’t be afraid to explore and try the applications it has on offer. If in doubt, check the documentation or their forum.

Hope this helps!


Remove Unused Grub2 Entries

I had to reinstall my Linux Mint 9 Isadora after messing with a new copy of Windows XP. Once the whole thing was complete. I ended up with two extra kernel versions that weren’t really installed but were still listed in the boot menu. I ignored it for the longest time until I asked myself today.

    How do I remove unwanted Grub2 entries?
    What happens if the entries are there but the kernel is not actually installed in Synaptic?

I looked around the web and found that most sites say the same thing. I did not want to manually edit the Grub2 configuration file because that would still leave the headers in my system. And I’m a bit OC when it comes to my toys. So I played around with it a bit and found a simple solution.

1) Find out the current kernel version by opening the Terminal and running: uname -r
2) Take note of the result. This command gave me “2.6.32-25-generic”.
3) Open Synaptic and then search for the 4 digits. For example, “2.6.32”.
4) Install the “ghost” kernel versions : Check the “Mark for Installation” box and hit “Apply”.
5) Opened terminal and run: sudo update-grub2
6) Uninstall the kernel versions : Check the “Mark for Complete Removal” box and hit “Apply”.
7) Go back to the Terminal and ran: sudo update-grub2

Linux Mint 9 Isadora is based on Linux Ubuntu 10.04 Lucid Lynx. I am pretty sure that the same set of instructions can be used for it too. Using these steps, I’ve removed everything from the Grub2 menu except the two latest kernel versions, the Memtest and the Windows entry. I hope this works for anyone else with the same issue.

Multimedia for Intrepid Ibex

So I had some trouble playing .avi files in my Ubuntu 8.10 box. I searched the handy dandy Ubuntu Forums and found what I was looking for. I went on to download and install the updates available. And then ran the following commands in the terminal.

sudo wget -O /etc/apt/sources.list.d/medibuntu.list

wget -q -O- | sudo apt-key add - && sudo apt-get update

sudo apt-get remove gnash gnash-common libflashsupport mozilla-plugin-gnash swfdec-mozilla && sudo apt-get install alsa-oss faac faad flashplugin-nonfree gstreamer0.10-ffmpeg gstreamer0.10-plugins-bad gstreamer0.10-plugins-bad-multiverse gstreamer0.10-plugins-ugly gstreamer0.10-plugins-ugly-multiverse gstreamer0.10-pitfdll libavcodec-unstripped-51 libmp3lame0 non-free-codecs sun-java6-fonts sun-java6-jre sun-java6-plugin unrar

These commands got my files playing again. I’ve only tried a .avi file though. In the future, I might get a chance to play other file types. But I’m pretty sure that I won’t have any issues. In case I do, I can always check the forums for solutions.