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Create a Live usb w/Persist from a Windows Desktop

This process will allow you to create either 32 or 64 bit live USB thumbdrives with persistence.

  • Meaning: It’ll behave just like a real system and remember what changes you make and programs you install, etc.

Desktop PC with unetbootin and both 32 & 64 bit MX .iso files on it.

  • For MX Linux that would mean MX-17.n_x64.iso MX-17.n_386.iso
  • 2ea blank USB thumbdrives >= 8G (recommend 8G for source drive and 32G for target/final product drive)

Step by Step:

1) Use unetbootin on the desktop PC to create a bootable 32 bit image on one of the thumbdrives. (32 bit is suggested here so that the process can be executed on either 32 or 64 bit PC systems. ie; 32 bit bit can boot on 32 or 64 bit PCs but only 64 bit can boot on a 64 bit system.)

2) Copy both .iso files to the \Live-usb-storage\demo\ folder on the thumbdrive you just ran unetbootin on.

3) Restart the system and get it to boot from the USB drive.

(You may need to hit a key like F9 during the boot or go into BIOS to change the boot order for USB first).

If you get the message: “gfxboot.c32: not a COM32Rimage” during the boot, type the word “live” less the quotation marks and hit the enter key and the system should boot.

4) Once at the MX desktop, place the other usb thumbdrive in the PC. Click MX start button (image)and type live then select “MX Live USB maker”. enter the password (root) and click OK.

USB device

5) The “Select Traget USB device” field should be set to you blank USB drive you plugged in in step #4 here.

If it’s not, click the button to the right of this text and browse to select it.

6) Select the iso you want your new live usb to be based on (32 or 64 bit) by clicking on the “Select ISO” button and browse to home\demo\live-usb-storage\

You should see both of the iso files in this folder that you coped here back in step 2.

Select the iso file you want then click open.

7) Click next. (You don’t need ot change any of the defaults here).

8) Once the process completes, you can click OK then Close.

9) Shut down the system and remove the usb thumbdrive you booted from and leave the one you in that you selected in step 5.

10) Start your system and once the grub menu appears, depress the F5 key then select persist_static and depress the enter key.

11) Depress the F8 key and select save and depress the enter key. depress the enter key once more and your system will begin the persist setup process

12) type 1 (auto) at the first prompt then depress enter. (** See memory suggestions below)

13) type 1 (auto) at the first prompt then depress enter. (*** See memory suggestions below)

14) enter root password (whatever you want)

15) enter user password (whatever you want)

16) your system should boot to the desktop. You can now add files, install applications, change desktop settings and the thumbdrive will remember what you did for the next startup.

What was I thinking?!

Since I can boot a 32 bit live USB stick on 32 or 64 bit hardware, I used the 386 ISO to create the 1st live usb. I then put both 386 & x64 ISO’s on the stick so that I could make a target 32 or 64 bit live persist usb stick from this one device. But, since most people don’t run into 32 bit hardware anymore, a normal person would probably just make the 1st stick from an x64 bit ISO and then only put a 64 bit ISO on it to make the target stick with.

** Memory Suggestions: generously provided by Dolphin Oracle:
I usually got with as large root partition as possible that would still allow a remaster. The defaults try to calculate such a size, but they are conservative.

So on my 32 gb stick, I usually do at least an 8gb root persist file, to accommodate large updates. and after I install apps or do large updates, I run a remaster to compress all that down into the base linuxfs file, and remake a new empty rootfs.

As to homefs, you can do what you want. I usually go smallish, and set any downloads to use teh “Live-USB Storage” folder, which opens up the unused space on the usb for my use without keeping things trapped inside a homefs persistence file. basically the same way I run my installed system, mostly just works in progress plus config files in my homefs file. homefs is never loaded into ram, so you don’t have the size issues that you can have with non-static rootfs. and you don’t have to compress the homefs during a remaster (I usually don’t).

if you decide to go with putting all your data in the homefs file, then you will want to use the same guidelines for size as you would a regular home folder.

One more thing…to do a remaster, you need at least twice the size of the rootfs + linuxfs file free to do the remaster. that space can be freed back up after the remaster is done.

I don’t normally waste my time trying to run persistence on anything smaller than a 16gb stick. you can do it with 8gb, but plan to remaster a lot. remastering is critical if you plan to use the stick long term. keep in mind that unlike the linuxfs main file system, the rootfs and homefs are NOT squashfs file systems. they are ext4 files systems contained inside a file, so if an app takes 2 gbs on an installed system, its going to take 2gbs in the root fs. and any files that exist in both linuxfs and rootfs (say during updates) count entirely to the storage on rootfs, as those files take precedence over anything in linuxfs. what apt tells you will be used is unreliable in this instance. the changes will be closer to 5 to 10 times the download size.

18 thoughts on “Create a Live usb w/Persist from a Windows Desktop”

  1. the video on the process on windows is different from the one for linux.
    why the one on windows do not need 2 usb?

  2. You need 2 USB sticks on Windows because you need to boot to linux on something to run the mx live USB creator. You put both i386 & amd64 .ISO’s on the 1st USB stick so that from that one resource you can choose either architecture to create a live USB + persist. There are multiple ways to accomplish the same task. This is just another method for windows that was not documented anywhere.

  3. The blog is really amazing, I also tried to create a live USB from the windows desktop but I faced an error but after reading this post I got the solution on how to remove this error.This is very smart, really an intelligent idea.

  4. Awesome work! Thank you all for this amazing distribution!
    One question: Is it possible to change the username of ‘demo’ or to
    add a new one?
    Kind regards

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  8. On windows you can use only one usb stick if you use VirtualBox
    This is what i did:

    Make vm and go with VHD when creating a virtual disk(default 8GB is good),

    before lunching vm,
    go to windows “Disk Management” > “Action”(top bar) > “Attach VHD” > Browse to where you made the virtual disk > Right click on the disk and Initialize and then make new simple volume fat32 > copy MX iso to new disk > Detach VHD,

    then go to setting on the vm > usb > Add new usb(menu on the right) > select the usb where mx will be installed

    Launch vm > select optical disk mx iso and boot in live mode > follow the instruction on the guide, the usb will apear in the menu(the iso that was put inside the vhd will be on /media/demo/’volume name’ (NEW VOLUME if u didn’t rename when creating simple partition in windows))


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