Do cool stuff with live-usbs

MX utilizes the antiX live system, which allows some pretty neat stuff, especially for enthusiast users.

Probably the biggest advantage of the live system is that you can run a persistent live-usb environment, so installed apps are available on the next boot of the live system. And if you do an install from a persistent live-usb setup, then all of those apps you added (or removed) will be available on the newly installed system.

Slightly more advanced but still pretty easy to do is to “remaster” those persistent systems, which compresses the original default file system and the changes in the persistent system together into a “new default” system, freeing up the allocated persistence storage to be reused.

Remastering is particularly useful after a kernel update, because if you remaster, then you can also change the kernel the live system will use at boot time with the live-usb-kernel-updater tool.

Even if you don’t run persistence, you can still remaster any changes made during a live-session, so that your “default” file system is always up to date.

There is even a rollback boot option if you need to “undo” a remaster.

If your usb device is writable, you can still save files to the writable areas of your live-usb in the $HOME/Live-usb-storage folder even without persistence being enabled.

I keep live-usbs of clean build environments for MX releases, just in case I need to drop back a release or two to do an update.

On top of all that live-usb goodness, you can even make a snapshot from a running live-usb, effectively turning your custom live-usb into an iso file for archiving, sharing, or whatever. They make great backup installation media.

And snapshot isos behave essentially the same as our default isos, and are install-able in the usual way.

Folks can share their snapshot creations in the MX forum in the MX Respins subforum. I recently posted a couple of examples, one being a 64 bit “bare” snapshot with pared down applications and and the other being a 32 bit snapshot that utilizes a 4.9 kernel (handy for some users of older machines with IDE devices). These were made via snapshot of running live-usb systems, so I never touched my production environment. adrian’s MX-Workbench was also originally built using the snapshot system.



26 thoughts on “Do cool stuff with live-usbs”

  1. I use a persistent live environment daily, and really enjoy the remaster and snapshot capabilities of MX. The to-RAM feature is particularly useful to me as well. Much thanks to the team for the flexible and stable live system features!

  2. I’ve been using persistence/snapshotting/frugal MX for probably the better part of a decade now. It’s amazing how a live-system has all the same functionality as a traditional install. It’s changed the way I look at computing: now “my system” is just my 1 TB usb ssd along with its flash-based little brothers, while my actual laptops are nothing more than mindless bodies– different combinations of hardware that I can use anytime I feel like it.

  3. great product!

    but somebody could teach me how can disable since boot system:

    1) /home/demo/.local/share/keyrings/ login.keyring and user.keystore get it down. thank you.

  4. Same situation as “Just another MX user”.
    I’ve been using the live system exclusively for a year now with MX Linux 19.4 on a daily basis and it works great. I’m always using the “toram” command to load it up.

    About once a week I (re-)load my custom snapshot.
    By the way, it would be nice to have a “toram” option in the menu… to save a few keystrokes.

    MX Linux fits my needs better than any system I’ve tried, and I’ve been using Linux for about 15 years now.

    Thank you for such a great distro!

    • you need grub-customizer, you easily add this option yourself… or even make it your default load option… no need for ANY extra keystrokes after modification! w00t w00t!

  5. salut je sui un tunisien qui utulise set destrebiton trs bien mais il se trouve un probleme sur la mx kde plasma toujour il a un problem de mlibraire et ja arive pas a l instale aparement MX-21_386 et formedable bon travail pour les debiton merci pour se travail
    ayoub chokry

  6. The live USB features of MX is one of the strongest selling points of the distro. A year ago I wanted to try FT-8 on 40 Meters (Amateur Radio Digital Mode) but I didn’t want to install WSJT-X onto my main system, so I created a live USB with persistence and ran the FT-8 station from that for around 6 months on a 32 GB Sandisk USB stick. It worked awesome and I even did the logging from it on Logbook of the World with trustedQSL. When I decided that I really liked it, I ended up using that USB stick to install it to another drive on the machine. Very impressed with those features and I use snapshot to back systems up or to transfer them to other machines without losing anything all the time now. It has been very reliable. I pretty much only run MX and plain Jane Debian these days, but MX gets used the most and is the OS on my main development system. Keep up the great work guys!

    • I wish snapshot would preserve the contents of Live-usb-storage, but it doesn’t for me. Do you know of a way to make that happen?

      • no. Live-usb-storage accesses the writeable parts of the usb outside the confines of the live environment. if you want files there stored in a snapshot, they need to be elsewhere on the system.

  7. The comment by “happy user” on Jan 8, 2022 is what I am in the process of learning how to do and why I’m developing an MX Linux based distribution for what I am delivering on a Raspberry Pi currently. With the worlds supply chain disruptions it’s important to be as hardware agnostic as possible and there are tons of old machines people can use for my suite of communications tools.

    Only been using MX Linux for a little over 2 years now, but Linux since 1994. I’ve seen a ton of distros come & go but MX Linux has rightfully earned the #1 distro by distro watch IMHO.

    Keep up the great work guys!

  8. Hi OracleDolphin,
    I created a Live-USB using MX 21 ISO. I’ve got an old Kingston Data Traveller 8GB size, selected to make it persistent live, installed all of my favourite applications, including Compiz Window Manager.

    Just wanted to say a BIG THANK YOU!!!! MX Linux is a the hell of an incredible work of art! Not only my Live-USB is fast! It looks gorgeous with my incredible desktop showing off my wobbly windows, translucent windows, the cube, etc. But let me say, among all the incredible effects, the wobbly windows is one of my favourite…

    I take my usb key everywhere I go, and here and there, I amaze my friends and colleagues showing them how in just seconds can get an old computer and turn it into an amazing useful tool.

    Thank you, thank you very much! Please keep up this amazing work. Best regards.

    • Marco,
      I’ve created a live USB MX21 like you, but it is terribly slow. Please may you explain the method for creating the Mx Live USB? What kind of persistence?
      Please, I’ll thank your comments.
      Jimmy Arteaga

  9. I love this feature in MX Linux, I have one with retropie installed and a heap of games so when my nephews and nieces come around they aren’t messing around with my OS, they love it

  10. I’m trying to fully migrate my main OS from Win10 to MX21 and would love to do so on a fast USB3 Stick as Drive for my encrypted OS/MX including main data.
    However the UEFI, TPM, SecureBoot, Win-BitLocker, AHS (unsigned Kernel) Questions so far have hindered the completion of my migration (I have a HP-Laptop Win10 with SecureBoot and BitLocker active and would like to boot additionally from the USB Stick to MX).
    I need to see if I need to stay on a main device (newish UEFI Laptop maybe with Dualboot Win10 and MX) or can use in addition some older Laptops (no UEFI, already with MX) for my MX on a Stick.

  11. very grateful to you guys ,i managed to get my old lap tops working finely again
    i have much to learn yet but i am excited about this MX ,I need to live longer to put all my new found ideas into operation ,I am 71 retired ,and having fun with this

  12. I love experimenting with Linux distributions to see what they have to offer. During the last 3 months, I have been trying different distributions to see if anyone has produced a system that works as well as MX Linux.
    After trying at minimum, 30 different distros, I can say that many come close but do not meet the high standards set by MX Linux.
    Not only does MX succeed in providing everything I need in an operating system, they provide tools to make the necessary tweaks simple and straight forward.
    Congratulations on making a superior distribution.
    I can’t wait to see what new improvements you come up with next.

  13. Using the persistence option of MX Remaster CC, I saved my root and home to a USB stick that is not the USB boot stick.

    I assumed there would be a boot code (pdev=) to put on a command line at boot time as antiX has such and having used antiX for awhile I have used such.

    What gives? How do I do it on MX Linux? Otherwise, a day spent installing software has been wasted.

    • the pdev= is present on MX as well.

      on live UEFI boots, you can edit the grub entry line to add the boot code, or add the code to /boot/grub/grubenv.cfg on the live-usb. if the live system is running, that file would be under /live/boot-dev/boot/grub/grubenv.cfg. this file is also used by the save routine to save boot parameters, so as long as you have the save enabled (either by F menu on legacy boot or under the advanced options on UEFI) then manually added boot codes will also be saved.

  14. Upgrades I run (apt upgrade) go through the motions, but next time the live USB drive is still as it was before those upgrades. Anybody knows how to persist those upgrades to the live USB drive?

  15. Buenas tardes, consulto que tamaño de USB, Pendrive o disco externo es recomendable para realizar una corrida en modo persistente de Mx-Linux?
    Muchas gracias

  16. I suspect that, as usual, I am doing something stupid. I created a snapshot of my MX linux 21, excluding everything, to give a linux-newbie friend. Then used MX Live usb maker to put it on the USB flash drive. It “worked”, but the display setting is now NOT what it was on my system, but rather the default on the new host hardware. I understand why that is, and it is probably the right thing to do, but when I reset the display settings to what I wanted, and rebooted, my display settings were gone. I chose a full-feature installation in MX live USB maker, and told the live system to remember everything in the persistence option during the first boot.
    What am I missing? Why is the persistence failing to persist?

    • the persistence option must be specified on subsequent boots or the system will use the default file system. there is another boot option to “save” the boot options in use so that its specified automatically for you on later boots.


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