• Trouble creating persistent USB


    Following a security course at my university I need to work in linux but my machines run Windows to support my mostly used programs and to be honest simply because I grew up with it. I had managed to install Antergos on an old laptops main drive without issue.
    Then I tried installing on it on a USB stick and quickly found it to not work as simply as with main drives. I proceeded to follow the instructions in this thread: https://forum.antergos.com/topic/5883/create-persistent-antergos-live-usb-on-windows-10
    It, even though carefully never selecting anything to be run on my main dive, fried my laptops main drive.

    I installed the current ISO on a 3.1 GB USB stick using RUFUS Utilities. It worked previously with my laptop. Nonetheless I redid the USB drive.

    So, booted from the USB, connected to Wifi, let cnchi update.
    Open Terminal
    Unmount all partitions of the other USB drive (61GB)
    Used fdisk once to reate one single partition as in the guid above
    Didn’t work
    Select not to wipe the disk in cnchi
    Then used cnchi’s partitioning utility to partition
    Started installation
    Takes forever, 10x the time it took to install on laptops main drive
    Disk not bootable
    On top of that, no disk, except for the antergos-live stick, are bootable.

    For anyone asking why I need both a laptop and a persistent USB: The USB is for my assignment partner who owns a macbook and got provided a non persistent Ubuntu USB stick to do homework on. A huge inconvenience.

    I have no clue anymore what might cause this. Please help. Thanks in advance!

  • @MLehmann
    To be sure what you are trying to do (sorry, there may be a language barrier as I’m not native English),
    are you trying to

    1. install Antergos to a USB stick, similar to a “normal” hard drive install?
    2. “burn” Antergos installer to a USB stick, and have persistent storage for downloaded packages etc. on the USB stick as well?

    Alternative 1. should work in a similar fashion as a normal hard disk installation. Of course you must be very careful to install to the right drive – that may be slightly confusing when there may be so many drives to choose from. And even if installing goes without issues, the installed USB might not boot, because drive names may have changed (but this is easily fixable).

    But alternative 2. is trickier. There you’ll write the installer only to the USB drive, and an additional partition for files that can be added later. This thread https://forum.antergos.com/topic/11054/create-a-live-usb-with-persistent-storage/7 tips how to do that, and I’ve done that myself a few months ago.

  • I “Burned” antergos to a smaller USB drive and want to install it to a larger USB drive similar to a “normal” hard drive.
    Installing it to an actual hard drive worked fine, though said drive got wiped during the attempts to istall to the larger USB drive. I always made sure to install to the correct drive using “lsblk”.
    Alternative 2 would work for me, too, I guess…

  • @MLehmann
    OK, so I gather alternative 1. is what you are looking for.

    Alternative 2. contains the contents of the ISO and the possibly added files. It is not an up-to-date install, but simply a static installer.

    The install to a USB stick should be basically as easy as install to any hard drive.

    To make the installer stick, I recommend you use etcher, since it is known to work well, and is very easy to use.

    After booting the installer, could you show the output of the following terminal commands:

    sudo fdisk -l
    lsblk -fm
    

    as all details are crucial when solving issues like this one.
    And please use the </> button on top of this write area to make the output more readable.

  • @MLehmann
    BTW, there’s another possibility to use Linux on your machine than installing it to a USB stick: a virtual machine.
    It is also somewhat simpler and safer to install. Not sure though if that suits for your case, but just wanted to mention it.

    You could install Antergos as a virtual machine. Popular virtual machine managers are VirtualBox and VMware.
    As I’ve been using VirtualBox mostly, I’d recommend that.

    To use it, download it from https://www.virtualbox.org/wiki/Downloads, the Windows version.
    Download also the Extension Pack, because it makes using a virtual machine much smoother.

    After installing VirtualBox to Windows, you can start it (as a normal user, not as Administrator). Then it asks you some questions, like the name of the virtual machine (later: VM) and the type of Linux it should be. For the type, you can select Arch (and most probably 64-bit), as Antergos is also Arch.
    Other questions should be relatively easy to answer, but if you have any doubts, feel free to ask more questions here.

    All in all a VM is somewhat slower than a native installation, but if that is not a problem, a VM is a great solution.

  • Quick update:

    I have tried one last time to install antergos to the usb for today. It took around 3 hours, and produced an ‘Unable to boot’ error when selecting to boot from that USB stick.
    I then proceeded to install antergos to the laptops main drive. Took about 20 minutes.

    Upon booting the next time, I noticed that in the boot device selection screen there was a UEFI partition for Windows and a UEFI partition for antergos on the laptops hard drive. The USB stick does not have an UEFI partition.

    Could this be the issue? How do I resolve it?

    Regarding the third alternative: I am VM-aware, excuse the pun, though for this course we were specifically told that a VM is not sufficient. Also, much like Linux, I have never not had issues with VMware

    Disclaimer: I mean Linux in general, not antergos specifically. Antergos has by far been my smoothest Linux experience yet. Credit where credit is due.

  • @MLehmann
    Yes, UEFI vs. Legacy boot looks like to be the culprit.
    If the machine needs UEFI boot, then the stick must also have it. If you use the stick in many machines, all machines need to have the same boot mode.

    I assume you use two USB sticks, one contains the installer, and the other will contain the installed system.
    So creation of the installer stick needs to be done right, with etcher or dd. Then it is able to boot properly in order to install properly.

  • Okay, but what exactly does ‘done right’ mean?

    How do I make sure the right boot loader will be included in the installation?

  • “Done right” means not changed, as some usb tools changing the boot mechanism…

  • @MLehmann

    done right

    Use etcher or dd, preferably on the same machine where you install Antergos.
    Then the installer should recognize all available boot modes (and some machines provide both boot modes to select).

  • Step by step

    I have downloaded echter and the current ISO
    I flashed the stick
    Bootet from the flashed stick
    Unmounted all partitions of the larger target stick
    Can I now proceed simply by installing antergos like I would on the laptops hard drive or do I need to fiddle with partitions?

  • @MLehmann
    Yes, you can proceed installing to the larger stick like you would install to a normal hard disk. But a word of warning, be very careful to select the correct target disk and partitions. It is not difficult, but need to be careful. Motto: check settings first three times, then install once.

    The installer provides ways to configure partitions, you just need to select manual partitioning, not automatic. I’m assuming the larger stick is not currently empty, right?
    And I guess you need to have the at least the following new partitions on the target stick:

    • EFI partition, fat32 or vfat format (as you use it with UEFI machines, right?)
    • root partition, probably ext4 format

    Mount that new EFI partition to /boot/efi.

    Optionally you may have other partitions, but I guess you don’t really need them. And if machine’s RAM amount is much less than 8GB, you may want to have a swap file, but that’s not strictly required. Need for swap depends on how resource hungry programs you are going to use.

    And when you reboot after install, check the BIOS which drive to boot from, select the new stick.

  • Ah okay, I thought installing as I would with a regular drive meant autopilot. That’s another 2 hours of intalling down the drain.

    So, from said previous installation I still have two partitions on the drive: AntergosBoot and -Root. Hence I want to create a new partition table, right?
    Then, do I choose GPT or MBR?

    Does the UEFI partition need a mount point? How large should it be? The hard drive has aroung 537MB, should it be equal is size?

    Right now it says in the mount checklist that only the root direcctory is missing. Earlier it would tell that I also need a /boot and /boot/efi mounted partition. Are the root and EFI partition all I will need?

    Sorry for the bombardement of questions, I’m beginnig to become desperate.

  • @MLehmann

    So, from said previous installation I still have two partitions on the drive: AntergosBoot and -Root. Hence I want to create a new partition table, right?

    New partition table also wipes everything from the drive, and I guess that’s what you want now.

    Then, do I choose GPT or MBR?

    For UEFI machines choose GPT. For BIOS legacy machine choose MBR. I think for Macs you should select GPT.
    But if you need to use the stick on different types of machines (both UEFI and BIOS legacy machines), you need to create two separate sticks!

    Does the UEFI partition need a mount point? How large should it be? The hard drive has aroung 537MB, should it be equal is size?

    The ESP partition (where .efi files are written) is a fat32 or vfat formatted. A few hundred megabytes should be enough, I guess 200-300MB suffices. You should mount it to /boot/efi at install time. Normally it is not needed as mounted, it is used only for booting by the system. But if you need to fix something e.g. on disk failure, you may need it mounted, but that’s another story.

    Right now it says in the mount checklist that only the root direcctory is missing. Earlier it would tell that I also need a /boot and /boot/efi mounted partition. Are the root and EFI partition all I will need?

    Yes, most probably. Root (/) is always needed. EFI (/boot/efi) is needed for the .efi files on UEFI systems (but not needed on BIOS legacy systems). Other partitions are optional, and are mainly related to special requirements or optimizations. It is actually easier not to have many separate partitions.

    Note that you need to do manual partitioning at install time. Then you have the best control of the partitions and the partition table.

  • Do you mean in cnchi when you say at install time?

  • Upon selection to create a partition table with GPT cnchi said :

    “GRUB requires a BIOS Boot Partition in BIOS systems to enable its core.img file due to lack of post MBR embed gap in GPT disks.
    Cnchi will create this BIOS Boot Partition for you.”

    Except for the last sentence I have no clue what that means and overall I don’t know what that implies for the partitioning process.

    I now have, through that automated partitioning, a 2MB bios-gpt-boot partition while the rest is still free.

    Do I still need to make a UEFI and /boot partition?

  • @MLehmann

    Do you mean in cnchi when you say at install time?

    Yes.

    “GRUB requires a BIOS Boot Partition in BIOS systems to enable its core.img file due to lack of post MBR embed gap in GPT disks.
    Cnchi will create this BIOS Boot Partition for you.”

    Could you show a picture about that?

    Seems that you have booted in BIOS legacy mode. Now the first thing is to check whether the system supports only BIOS legacy boot, only UEFI boot, or both.
    That info should be available in the BIOS/firmware, can you check that?

    EDIT: it is possible to fake MBR on GPT disks. It requires a small partition in the beginning of the drive, and I think the message is showing just that.
    So you could allow that. And create the “UEFI” partition for the .efi files (they can be copied there later), but boot partition is not needed unless you really want to create it.
    This arrangement just might work on both BIOS legacy and UEFI systems.

  • I think I edited my last post while you were typing.
    It is a 2MB partition of type bios-gpt-boot.
    The rest remains empty.
    Where exactly do I find that information?

    BIOS Version is F.21 if that helps…

    In the system configuration it shows a UEFI Boot order and Legacy Boot Order

  • @MLehmann
    Are you planning to use the stick on different machine types?
    Your machine seems to support both UEFI and BIOS legacy boot.

  • Yes. Most importantly I want the stick to run on a MacBook. Which I currently don’t have access to. It needn’t support every machine imaginable, but my laptop and my partners laptop would be desirable.

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