You can run Ubuntu will all your settings and files, even if you don't have your own computer with you. You will have a whole, powerful operating system in your pocket!
Sorry for the not very helpful pictures. It was to hard to document each little step for each step. Hopefully it is still easy to follow...
I'm not liable for any damage done to your computer and/or flash drive. However, I haven't ever had a problem. Just make sure to follow each step carefully.
*This process is no longer needed as of Ubuntu 8.10 because a USB Ubuntu Creator is built in.
Step 1: Get Materials
- USB 2.0 Flash drive (at least 1G) (You could use USB 1.1, but everything will take 5x longer)
- Computer w/ CD Drive (Must be able to boot from USB. Newer motherboards will work. Motherboards older than 2 years old probably won't work. A BIOS update from your computer manufacturer might work.)
- Ubuntu LiveCD (You don't need this if your computer already has Ubuntu installed on it)
- You should also be somewhat computer-savvy and comfortable with command prompt/ terminal.
You can get the Ubuntu LiveCD at ubuntu.com. Download the Ubuntu Desktop LiveCD iso and burn it on a CD using Nero or another program. You could also request a free Ubuntu CD but that takes 6-10 weeks to ship.
Step 2: Changing BIOS Boot Order
Also, when you boot up you might have an option to temporarily boot up from a certain device. You could use this if you want to only boot up from a device once.
Step 3: Boot From the Ubuntu LiveCD
You can skip this if your computer has Ubuntu installed on it. Just turn it on and log in.
Step 4: Format the Flash Drive
Backup all your data on your flash drive before doing this. This will erase all your files on you flash drive
0. Backup the data on your flash drive.
1. Open Terminal, under Applications
2. Type in "sudo su"
3. Type in "fdisk -l", and identify which device is your flash drive. Mine was "sdb". Whenever I type "sdb", put in your flash drive identification. For example, if your flash drive was sda, and I typed "format sdb1" then you would type "format sda1".
4. Type "umount /dev/sdb1"
5. Type "fdisk /dev/sdb"
- type p to show the existing partition and d to delete it
- type p again to show any remaining partitions (if partitions exist, repeat the previous step)
- type n to make a new partition
- type p for primary partition
- type 1 to make this the first partition
- hit enter to use the default 1st cylinder
- type +750M to set the partition size
- type a to make this partition active
- type 1 to select partition 1
- type t to change the partition filesystem
- type 6 to select the fat16 file system
- type n to make another new partition
- type p for primary partition
- type 2 to make this the second partition
- hit enter to use the default cylinder
- hit enter again to use the default last cylinder
- type w to write the new partition table
7. Type "mkfs.vfat -F 16 -n Ubuntu /dev/sdb1". This formats the first partition.
8. Next, type "mkfs.ext2 -b 4096 -L casper-rw /dev/sdb2", to format the second partition.
9. Exit terminal, then unplug your flash drive.
Step 5: Install Ubuntu to the Flash Drive
1. Insert flash drive.
2. Open Terminal.
3. Type "apt-get update".
4. Go to Ubuntu Packages and download Mtools and install. Afterward, download Syslinux and install.
5. In terminal, type "syslinux -sf /dev/sdb1".
6. Type "cd /cdrom"
7. Type "cp -rf casper disctree dists install pics pool preseed .disk isolinux/* md5sum.txt README.diskdefines ubuntu.ico casper/vmlinuz casper/initrd.gz /media/Ubuntu/".
- Ignore any "cannot create symbolic link" errors.
9. Edit "syslinux.cfg" so that it looks like the attached text file.
Finally... You are done!
Step 6: Conclusion
If your can't get Ubuntu to boot, your flash drive may have a corrupted MBR. To repair the MBR of your USB device, at the terminal in Ubuntu type "sudo apt-get install lilo " followed by "lilo -M /dev/sdb".
You can now run Ubuntu anywhere and still have all your settings and files.