Par. Gareth Ogden Posté Aug 30th 2010
One of the many great uses for the latest range of high-capacity, high-speed Corsair Flash Voyager GT USB flash drives is to use one as a Live Boot drive for one of the numerous portable distributions of Linux. You might think that a USB flash drive won’t be fast enough to use as a system drive, but thanks to the rapid read and writes speeds of the new Flash Voyager GTs, running an OS directly from the drive is surprisingly smooth. And using the free application Unetbootin, it’s also incredibly simple. We’ll show you how.
The benefit to a USB Live Boot drive is that you can essentially carry around a complete operating system with applications on your Flash Voyager GT. This can be useful for simple troubleshooting tasks, for example if your current OS decides to ‘misbehave’, or to hot-desk between multiple computers and not only carry around all your important data, but use the same desktop environment too.
I’m going to use a 32GB Corsair Flash Voyager GT, but you can use any drive, providing it is large enough for your particular Linux distribution of choice (4GB is often the minimum for the more modern distros), and that it is formatted using the FAT32 format. This presents a minor problem for 64GB and larger drives, since Windows makes it difficult to format such high-capacity drives in FAT32 format, providing options for exFAT or NTFS only, while Windows XP limits FAT32 partitions to 32GB.
The easy way around this is to download the HP USB Disk Storage Format Tool, which you can pick up from Extreme Overclocking. This will handy allow you to format your 64GB or 128GB drive in FAT32 format.
Now, to get cracking and install a bootable Linux distro on your flash drive, simply download and install Unetbootin, which is available from here. The beauty of this application is that, not only will it create a Live Boot USB for you, but it also provides a drop-down list of currently supported Live Boot Linux distributions, which it will even download for you. It simply makes the whole process incredibly simple.
We’re going to install Kubuntu Linux 9.04, which is an official derivative of the popular (and excellent) Ubuntu Linux distro, using the flashier KDE desktop environment. You can choose any distro you like from the drop down list – in fact, part of the fun of Live Boot USB drives is that it allows you to try out different versions of Linux without having to install one onto a HDD or SSD first.
Once you’ve selected your Linux distro of choice from the list, make sure that the application is set to install it to the correct drive letter (i.e. your USB drive and not a drive that you don’t want to install Linux to!) and then click okay.
Unetbootin will then connect to the Internet, download the ISO file for the Linux distribution that you selected and install it. And that’s it! Simple. All you need to do now is reboot your system and configure the BIOS to boot from the USB drive. You can do this by entering the BIOS and changing the boot device, although some BIOSes also have a Boot Selector that can be launched during the POST sequence, usually by pressing either F8, F11 or F12. Look for the on-screen prompt during the POST boot sequence.
Once you done this, you should find your new Linux operating system spring into action, all thanks to the power of Unetbootin and your speedy Corsair Flash Voyager GT drive!