How To Install OpenMandriva Lx to USB flash drive

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Be very careful with the following if you enter the wrong drive you will erase everything on it, don’t get this wrong and erase your Hard Drive or SSD. You have been warned. If your are not sure you know what you are doing with this then don’t do it.

This is in response to some users having problems with installing OpenMandriva to a USB Flash Drive. This becomes a problem if user formats the drive they want to install to. Our developers tell us that the Calamares partitioner sees any USB device with a file system as a CDROM and will not recognize it as an install-able storage device. So the device must not have a file system. No formatting. Erasing the device is not enough it must be “blanked”.

Fortunately this a an easy one command task that takes very little time. First plug in the USB device you want to install OM Lx on and identify it with fdisk. Like so:

$ sudo fdisk -l
[sudo] password for ben79:
... 
Disk /dev/sdc: 14.44 GiB, 15496445952 bytes, 30266496 sectors
Disk model: TD USB 3.0      
Units: sectors of 1 * 512 = 512 bytes
Sector size (logical/physical): 512 bytes / 512 bytes
I/O size (minimum/optimal): 512 bytes / 1048576 bytes
Disklabel type: gpt
Disk identifier: B4EE3058-FE04-B24F-AFBF-05E6312D0953

Device        Start      End  Sectors  Size Type
/dev/sdc1      4096   618495   614400  300M EFI System
/dev/sdc2    618496 27301662 26683167 12.7G Linux filesystem
/dev/sdc3  27301663 30266459  2964797  1.4G Linux swap

So in this case we see the flash drive is /dev/sdc. (fdisk -l lists a lot of other devices so the … means I skipped all that.) To “blank” the device we use the command ‘sudo dd if=/dev/zero of=/dev/sdX bs=1k count=2048’ where X is the letter of your drive. So in the case:

$ sudo dd if=/dev/zero of=/dev/sdc bs=1k count=2048

Does not take long at all. Now run ‘fdisk -l’ again and notice the output:

Disk /dev/sdc: 14.44 GiB, 15496445952 bytes, 30266496 sectors
Disk model: TD USB 3.0      
Units: sectors of 1 * 512 = 512 bytes
Sector size (logical/physical): 512 bytes / 512 bytes
I/O size (minimum/optimal): 512 bytes / 1048576 bytes

That is what we want, now the USB Flash Drive is blank. Now the Calamares installer should be able to see your USB flash drive as install-able storage device and you should be able to install OM Lx.

I have done several test installations on USB Flash Drive and it works for me every time as long as I do the above “blanking”.

Easy, any Linux Monkey could do it. I do test things like this before writing a ‘How To’ article and this worked for me.

:monkey:

However I should caution anyone doing this that installing to a USB Flash Drive takes a lot longer. This is because of speed of flash device, your USB controller, and maybe other factors. For me on this computer installing OM Lx 4.0 to SSD takes 3-8 minutes, usually closer to 3-5 min. To install on same computer to the Memorex USB 3.0 device in the example above it takes 30-38 min. I would guess installing to a USB 2.0 Flash Drive would take and hour to hour and a half, but this is just a guess.

Also currently OpenMandriva installs to Flash Drive are not “persistent” or write-able. You can carry it in you pocket and use all over planet earth on other computers but you can’t save data on it. If you change a config it applies to that session only. So in this respect it is similar to using the ‘Live’ ISO.

:monkey_face:

If the above worked then you should see something similar to this in Calamares partitioner drop down menu: