Category Archives: Installing Arch on a Flash Drive

Installing Arch on a Flash Drive

I was not doing anything specific and decided to do some crazy experiment.
I begin to hate Linux CD/DVD distributions without live scripts and install only options.
Reason for is, that I have to install them to my hard disk, often having to redo the work.
This was bit of a nuisance and I thought of doing the install on a Flash Drive instead on my hard disk.
Downloaded 686 Arch Linux and booted it up.
After it booted up as root on terminal, I plugged in a Flash Drive.

Nothing happening since previously I mounted CloudUSB on this Pendrive and it filled up with Linux files and stooped due to lack of space. CloudUSB needed 4 GiB and this had only 2 GiB.

Then I mounted the Flash drive and using fsdisk prepared a boot file, swap file and a root file and fallowed instructions to the letter and installed the the ARCH Core on and installed grub and password for Arch and click OK.
The it forced me to look at the Grub file which I did and I could not exit from the command terminal.
Fortunately, I had selected Vi editor and not nano that ARCH offered (I have not used nano and it had only two editers).

I had to type I and fiddled with the command line (not used for ages and forgotten keyboard short cuts) and typed exit and quit and they did not work.
Somehow some trial and error and Esc and q (not wq) and I exited the console and booted up with Flash Drive attached. My old computer does not boot from USB but it detected the USB but went back to my hard disk MBR.

This is one of the maddest thing I have done in Linux, thank god I did not erase my MBR.
(Even then no worries Just install Mepis again or PClinux).
Anyway I mounted the flash drive and it’s boot partition and looked at the GRUB file.

What I could to find was interesting.

It was mounting hd0 and non-existing Windows, probably a reflex action and not a true detection or detective work.

It could not detect my Mepis, PCLinux in that hard disk of 80 GiBs.
These Linux guys worship windows and I was really disappointed.
In their defense the first partition was FAT with Image files stored there.

I want to mount this Flash Drive in my laptop and see what happens (My gut feeling is it won’t boot up) but it was nice thing for me to go to old ways and use Vi Editor and fsdisk for just fun.

Beauty of fsdisk is unlike graphic partition tools it reads all the cylinders and mark them and leave no un-partitioned gaps.

I am convinced even before mounting this on my laptop since this flash disk now has no fat partition but a boot partition, root and swap (500 MiB) only that one eighths of my RAM.

Sure enough it did not but only read the boot file and menu.

Still direct Linux booting is not allowed by convention and by force.

This has to change why worship FAT/MBR /BIOS?

But for newbies this is good dress rehearsal for bigger things to practice and learn without damaging the hard disk.
One has to remember the nomenclature used in numbering SATA or IDE or USB disks.
I in fact had made a mistake used a for b and I ROLLED backed and redid the procedure above three times once due to monitor going idle and I could not proceed for configuring and second I named it wrongly and used sda1 and had to ROLL BACK.

I still have an old UNIX book and if I am in trouble (many Linux) I can roll BACK to books unlike newbies with slightest problem who go to the web with a help me post and start WHIMPERING AND SAYS LINUX SUCKS.

I may write few simple books and already introductory lessons in Linux is on ebay.
But I won’t stop blog post though.
It is like writing an editorial.