1. Post #1
    Facepunch Dept. of Defense
    Samg381's Avatar
    April 2012
    1,650 Posts
    Hey,

    I recently started going to my computer science center in my offtime from class, and I have been bring my little flashdrive along.
    It's a decent one, and it's a fairly new model.

    Here's a picture:

    The flashdrive has 8 Gigabytes of memory and I haven't even used one.


    Now I want to do something cool with it. I've put portableapps and a variety of small applications on it, but I want to go a step further.

    Through my research, I have found that you can run an operating system on a flashdrive, but it takes a good amount of space.
    I want to keep saving files on it, and I don't want an OS to fill it all up. Is there a portable OS I can run on it?
    My reason being, I hate the Windows XP machines at my school, and I would like to work on a new Operating System/

    Are there any portable versions of windows 7 or Vista?
    I also don't want to have to do the pesky 'plug in during computer startup' and all that, I would like to be able to select from a menu.

    Does this seem possible, and could anyone lend a hand?

    Thank you!

  2. Post #2
    Dennab
    August 2011
    2,159 Posts
    You should try Jolicloud or Crunchbang.

  3. Post #3
    World of Vagax
    darth-veger's Avatar
    December 2008
    21,471 Posts
    http://unetbootin.sourceforge.net/ to turn a USB into a live disc.
    And in the gray area of legality, http://www.hiren.info/pages/bootcd which has Mini XP.

    Edited:

    Combine Hirens with UNetbootin to have a Windows XP lite version boot USB thingy

  4. Post #4
    Facepunch Dept. of Defense
    Samg381's Avatar
    April 2012
    1,650 Posts
    I like the look of Crunchbang, let me check it out.

  5. Post #5
    Gold Member
    Pepsi-cola's Avatar
    July 2009
    4,027 Posts
    Surely this will get you into trouble.
    You could try getting some portable virtual machine software or something.
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  6. Post #6
    Casual gamer
    Blaberry's Avatar
    March 2010
    4,726 Posts
    If you're fine with a linux distro, you can simply do a standard install to a flashdrive, any distro worth using has this as a default option.
    Don't use any swap though as that will destroy the longeivty of the drive.

    Edited:

    Oh and last time I checked win8 could be installed onto a flashdrive.
    Whether that OS is worth using however, I will leave unsaid.

  7. Post #7
    Dennab
    August 2011
    2,159 Posts
    You should also take a look at ReactOS. It's basically an open-source Windows OS.
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  8. Post #8
    Gold Member
    Lerlth's Avatar
    November 2009
    946 Posts
    You should also take a look at ReactOS. It's basically an open-source Windows OS.
    But you can do that with a 4MB flash drive...

  9. Post #9
    Facepunch Dept. of Defense
    Samg381's Avatar
    April 2012
    1,650 Posts
    Well I like the idea of a virtual machine, but I also like the down-to -earth-ness of running a full operating system on a flashdrive..
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  10. Post #10
    Gold Member
    Bredirish123's Avatar
    October 2006
    9,207 Posts
    I put Ubuntu on a small thumbdrive once. It was awesome because I was able to transfer CS 1.6 to the rest of the computers in my lab so everyone could get past various blocks that prevent normal applications from running/transferring.
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  11. Post #11
    Gold Member
    rhx123's Avatar
    October 2008
    3,785 Posts
    Windows 8 has a feature called Windows To Go IIRC which lets you do this.
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  12. Post #12
    Facepunch Dept. of Defense
    Samg381's Avatar
    April 2012
    1,650 Posts
    Can anyone recommend a guide to setup a virtual machine for free?
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  13. Post #13
    Gold Member
    GiGaBiTe's Avatar
    February 2005
    3,161 Posts
    The only problem with using a flash drive for a portable OS is that it's going to be really slow. By slow, I mean it taking 5-10 minutes to boot to the desktop on Xubuntu, and loading programs is also really slow.

    I did what you're trying to do with a few of my flash drives ranging from 8-32G and they were all pretty slow.

  14. Post #14
    Gold Member
    GoDong-DK's Avatar
    November 2009
    14,497 Posts
    Windows 8 has a feature called Windows To Go IIRC which lets you do this.
    Only in the enterprise edition though.
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  15. Post #15

    April 2011
    4,491 Posts
    Can anyone recommend a guide to setup a virtual machine for free?
    iirc theres a free version of VMware which isn't shit

  16. Post #16
    Gold Member
    Killervalon's Avatar
    October 2008
    3,589 Posts
    You're not getting much out of virtual machines though. But just install Virtualbox. It's very straight-forward.

  17. Post #17
    Gold Member
    supervoltage's Avatar
    November 2009
    677 Posts
    The only problem with using a flash drive for a portable OS is that it's going to be really slow. By slow, I mean it taking 5-10 minutes to boot to the desktop on Xubuntu, and loading programs is also really slow.

    I did what you're trying to do with a few of my flash drives ranging from 8-32G and they were all pretty slow.
    That heavily depends on the speed of your flash drive. My flash drive can take 10 MB/s, so it runs pretty well with Arch on it.
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  18. Post #18
    Gold Member
    bliptec's Avatar
    August 2009
    524 Posts
    Hey,

    I recently started going to my computer science center in my offtime from class, and I have been bring my little flashdrive along.
    It's a decent one, and it's a fairly new model.

    Here's a picture:

    The flashdrive has 8 Gigabytes of memory and I haven't even used one.


    Now I want to do something cool with it. I've put portableapps and a variety of small applications on it, but I want to go a step further.

    Through my research, I have found that you can run an operating system on a flashdrive, but it takes a good amount of space.
    I want to keep saving files on it, and I don't want an OS to fill it all up. Is there a portable OS I can run on it?
    My reason being, I hate the Windows XP machines at my school, and I would like to work on a new Operating System/

    Are there any portable versions of windows 7 or Vista?
    I also don't want to have to do the pesky 'plug in during computer startup' and all that, I would like to be able to select from a menu.

    Does this seem possible, and could anyone lend a hand?

    Thank you!
    I chuckled a bit when you mentioned trying to fit windows on there. although most linux distributions can easily fit in around 1gb of space, a clean windows install will take over 14.

    The only problem with using a flash drive for a portable OS is that it's going to be really slow. By slow, I mean it taking 5-10 minutes to boot to the desktop on Xubuntu, and loading programs is also really slow.

    I did what you're trying to do with a few of my flash drives ranging from 8-32G and they were all pretty slow.
    I've run Mint off of my flash drive easily. It took less than a minute to boot even though the flash drive generally only pushes around 4MB/s
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  19. Post #19
    false prophet's Avatar
    October 2011
    943 Posts
    Won't this depend largely on the motherboard? I have an older motherboard that does not support booting from flash drives.

  20. Post #20
    Akito8's Avatar
    December 2009
    322 Posts
    Are there any portable versions of windows 7 or Vista?
    Unfortunately there are no real portable versions of windows. Default windows 7 takes up like 15GB of space.

    You CAN install Linux easily though. Honestly any distro will boot from a flash drive fine. If you're more of a tech newbie, I recommend using http://www.pendrivelinux.com/yumi-mu...t-usb-creator/
    Basically download the .iso of the operating system you want (MAKE SURE IT SUPPORTS LIVE BOOTING) and pop it on the flash drive with YumiBoot which is basically an idiot proof program.

    I also don't want to have to do the pesky 'plug in during computer startup' and all that, I would like to be able to select from a menu.
    To my knowledge, this is not possible. You will have to go into the computer's BIOS, select "Boot from removable device" and restart the computer. Then the YumiBoot menu will come up where you can select the proper operating system you installed.

    I suggest a live version of Linux Mint, Fedora, or Ubuntu. They are all relatively easy to use and you can download the live boot .iso , also sometimes called the "demo" iso, and boot it live from a flash drive easily. Linux distributions take up minimal space.

    Keep in mind though, running live off the flash drive will generally be slooow. The speed is capped by the bandwidth limits of USB 2.0 which aren't much.. If possible, some distro's like Fedora have a "run from RAM" option which runs the operating system live from the RAM. This is a much faster option!