Let's face it, CDs and DVDs are a thing of the past. We no longer use them as a storage medium because they are slow, prone to failure in burning, and non-reusable. The future is flash memory. Flash memory is cheap, fast, and efficient. Eventually, flash drives might even replace discs as the preferred prerecorded selling format for movies.
But this Null Byte is not about movies, it's about operating systems.
A great tool to have in your arsenal is the ability to have an OS on a thumb drive. This allows you to install an OS quickly on any system, lets you load a live OS fast, and provides the convenience of having your entire operating system—complete with all of your files—on hand at all times. It would almost be like a cloud and synchronizing OS (expect someone to steal that idea).
Here, we will install a Linux distribution onto a thumb drive as an example. Let's look at what we need:
- Linux OS
- Spare thumb drive
- Computer capable of booting from a thumb drive
- Linux ISO image
Step 1 Check Your Boot Capabilities
First, let's check out if our computer can actually boot from a thumb drive.
- Plug your thumb drive into a USB port.
- Restart your computer.
- Hit F12 during the POST before your OS starts to get into your boot menu.
- Look for a USB or thumb drive option. If it is there, congrats, you can boot from it!
Step 2 Install the Image to Your Drive
Follow along with me in this video so you can see how to use the unetbootin interface.
sudo pacman -S unetbootin
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