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Linux boot stick with separate file storage partition?

Reisender_Rabe

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Hello everyone!

I want to create a USB stick with two partitions:

A) A file storage that is readable by both Windows and Linux systems
B) A bootable partition on which I can store a linux distribution that runs completely on RAM

Now, usually this would not be possible because Windows only recognises the first partition on a stick. However, I read that if you put the bootable partition second, then the BIOS should be able to recognise that and boot from there.

Here is what I did so far:

1) Formatted the stick on Windows using MiniTool Partition Wizard.

2) Installed a puppylinux distribution via balenaetcher.

However, I have run into two problems:

1) Balenaetcher insists on formatting the whole stick whenever I want to put the puppylinux ISO on there. Is there a way I can circumvent this? Perhaps with the type of partition I choose to put on there?

2) Puppylinux does not recognise the stick it is installed on. Which also means I cannot save my configuration on that stick and have to setup everything again on every restart.

Many thanks in advance!
 


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Reisender_Rabe

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Addendum: puppylinux does recognise the stick but only as a CDROM. I cannot write on it as it is "read only".
 

darry1966

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When I was using Puppy I used unetbootin with puppy. Once Puppy is installed other versions of puppy can be installed manually in their own directories example slacko by mounting an iso and copying contents to that directory - a frugal install. Settings are saved to a save folder in that directory.
 

darry1966

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I used ext3 for my partioning see to work best with modern puppies. To install puppy make sure flash drive is mounted.
 

osprey

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Hello everyone!

I want to create a USB stick with two partitions:

A) A file storage that is readable by both Windows and Linux systems
B) A bootable partition on which I can store a linux distribution that runs completely on RAM

Now, usually this would not be possible because Windows only recognises the first partition on a stick. However, I read that if you put the bootable partition second, then the BIOS should be able to recognise that and boot from there.

Here is what I did so far:

1) Formatted the stick on Windows using MiniTool Partition Wizard.

2) Installed a puppylinux distribution via balenaetcher.

However, I have run into two problems:

1) Balenaetcher insists on formatting the whole stick whenever I want to put the puppylinux ISO on there. Is there a way I can circumvent this? Perhaps with the type of partition I choose to put on there?

2) Puppylinux does not recognise the stick it is installed on. Which also means I cannot save my configuration on that stick and have to setup everything again on every restart.

Many thanks in advance!
First I have no experience with puppy, so nothing to add there.
However, what you want to do is partially possible with debian by creating a live usb with a partition that is usable by linux, but not so easily by Windows. Such a usb with a live distribution and a partition is often referred to as "live with persistence". Debian has good docs on how to create one: https://live-team.pages.debian.net/live-manual/html/live-manual/index.en.html, where you can see an entry on persistence. If you follow the docs, you will read a couple of items that may be relevant to your quest: 1. to create the partition beyond the live distribution, you can use gparted for that task, and 2. getting Windows to be able to use that partition is apparently quite a challenge, if possible at all because it only wants to read the first partition. There is a link to some discussion on that matter.

Instead of actually creating your live usb which the link refers to, you could perhaps use an already existing live distribution but use the techniques described to create the persistent partition.

My own solution to this sort of usage is simpler: to use two usbs, one for the distribution, and one with a filesystem that both operating systems can read and write to. Perhaps a usb hub if there's only one usb port available.
 
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Reisender_Rabe

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Thank you both for the replies. It looks like this is way over my head for now as I only understand half of what those docs are talking about. A pity. I think I will just need to stick to the two stick solution.
 

captain-sensible

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there might be a sort of lateral thinking way of doing it . When you use a ventoy script to format a usb stick it formats
a stick into 2 partitions. ONe partition has the magic to be able to boot from any one of several linux.iso files. Where you drag and drop the iso files is the partition thats visible and useable when you mount the sticjk after formating.

if you look at :

Code:
[[email protected]:~][2]$ tree -L 2 /run/media/andrew/ventoy                (07-05 09:48)
/run/media/andrew/ventoy
├── ISO
│   ├── boot-repair-disk-64bit.iso
│   ├── clonezilla-live-20200703-focal-amd64.iso
│   ├── ophcrack-vista-livecd-3.6.0.iso
│   ├── ophcrack-xp-livecd-3.6.0.iso
│   ├── rescatux-0.73.iso
│   └── super_grub2_disk_hybrid_2.04s1.iso
├── store
│   └── Invoice 2206322 from STUDIO TONE LIMITED.pdf
└── System Volume Information
    ├── IndexerVolumeGuid
    └── WPSettings.dat

3 directories, 9 files
[[email protected]:~]$

you will see i have several iso files on the fat partition and I created another directory and drop and dragged a recent invoice to do with a "die" for leather de-bossing. if i choose to cold boot from the usb stick i should get a splash menu of ventoy giving me a choice of which iso to boot from. I will now have to see if the creation of a directory for storage is going to cause an issue or not. By the way via a json file and a 1gig or more file , you can actually have persistence with the linux iso meaning you can install software and it will be there next time you boot live
 
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