Linux live usb questions

Discussion in 'all things UNIX' started by roark37, Feb 13, 2013.

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  1. roark37

    roark37 Registered Member

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    Hi, a few years ago I tried some live linux cd's and now want to try live usb. I am planning to use Unetbootin and my first question is it safe in that it does not harm your pc? If booting from live usb is it just like live cd in that after using you can just reboot into windows again and nothing has been touched on your pc? Is live usb also safe for things like online banking similar to live cd as nothing to infect or is usb more vulnerable? I was mainly interested in small linux like Puppy, or Browserlinux, or Bodhi to name a few I have read are fast. Any others recommended especially fast booting from usb? And if you use Chrome as browser can you download and install chrome apps from google even when running from usb? Same question if running Android from live usb, can you use google play to install apps?

    One of the reasons I am considering this is my sister has an old laptop like from 2004 or so running XP and with 512k ram. She & my brother in law hardly ever use it as they mostly use ipads/iphones. But she asked me to look at it and it runs horribly and takes forever to boot and even once fully booted internet super slow just terrible all around. So I had an old PCLinux 2007 disc and I ran it as live cd. It took awhile to boot but picked up wireless automatically but once booted it was really fast and using Firefox that came with it even off live cd was really fast on internet, at least as fast as their ipads if not faster. So I was wondering if the live cd was that good would live usb be much faster? And would live usb boot much faster than live cd or not too much difference? And if PClinux 2007 ran this well would some of the other small linux be even faster?

    Anyway I know these are some really basic questions but thanks in advance.
     
  2. Most distros will not mess up anything on the hard drive when booted from a USB stick. However, you probably want to use an empty USB stick, even with unetbootin, to avoid getting valuable data overwritten.

    If you can't load the whole thing to RAM (which you probably can't with 512 MB) then live USB media are faster than live CDs. They also boot faster (except on machines with old buggy BIOSes, but that's another matter).

    Re the sluggish Windows XP install, I would guess it's a question of too much stuff running in the background with too little RAM. XP is actually pretty RAM-hungry in my experience, and likes having 1+ GB.

    (Whereas PCLinuxOS 2007 would tend to fly on such a machine; IIRC they were still using KDE 3 back then, and I remember I used to run KDE 3 on a Pentium II desktop with 192 MB of RAM. Linux desktops have gotten bloatier since, but current PCLinuxOS KDE still has enough stripped out of it to run with < 1 GB. That said, for a modern distro I would recommend something with Xfce instead.)
     
  3. roark37

    roark37 Registered Member

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    Thanks for the reply. I was planning to use a new blank usb with nothing on it but say I tried Ubuntu first as live usb. If I did not care about losing what was on there could I run UNetbootin to create a different distro and it will just wipe out the Ubuntu there prior? Or is better to delete the Ubuntu or whatever on there before reusing usb?

    Is there any light xfce distro you would recommend? It is mainly as a browser and would like to use Chrome but also not sure if Chrome from live usb can install any web apps from google. If it could not then Firefox would be fine as well and for most part don't need other applications.

    Thanks.
     
  4. roark37

    roark37 Registered Member

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    I have now tried Unetbootin and it worked fine and I am impressed with how easy the program is. One thing I have run into though is trouble booting from usb. I have hit F12 or whatever during boot to change bios in the past with various laptops with no problems but with this current pc most of the time it does not take so boots into Windows. It seems very sensitive or you have to time it just right I am not sure. But I can also try to change bios order permanently and have usb first. Is there any risk to making this change? And if I did when there was no usb plugged in would it just boot as it normally does from the hard drive?

    Thanks.
     
  5. moontan

    moontan Registered Member

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    when you are finished experimenting you just can put the boot order as it was before, if you are having problems.
     
  6. moontan

    moontan Registered Member

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    as for the timing, i wait until some LEDs light up on my keyboard.
    that's my cue.

    sometimes, the boot go pretty fast so you got to be right on top of it.
     
    Last edited: Feb 27, 2013
  7. roark37

    roark37 Registered Member

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    Hi, I have been trying some live usb linux the last week or so and have a couple more questions;

    When I test my broadband speed at speedtest.net I usually get around 13mbps download speed. But when I have actually been downloading linux iso's the fastest actual download speed has been around 500kbps and often less than 100kbps, is that normal and what many of you experience?

    I have a live linux cd that was included in a magazine. Can that be copied to hard drive and then use Unetbootin to create live usb? Just trying to avoid downloading another large file but was not sure if it could be done.

    Thanks.
     
  8. zapjb

    zapjb Registered Member

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    If I'm understanding correctly. Free Linux mirrors aren't going to max your dl speeds.
     
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