Aug 24 2008

Fedora Live USB Creator

Published by at 6:10 am under Linux,Malware

I’ve had this article flagged on Lifehacker for over 4 months, waiting for the right time to use it. When a friend brought over his computer for repair, I took one look at the running system and realized it needs to be rebuilt from scratch. His hardware’s good, but the OS is infected beyond trusting. I’m hoping I can save a few pictures for him, but that’s about it. In the mean time, I decided his computer would make a good guinea pig for playing with a few LiveCD’s and the Fedora 9 Live USB Creator.

I have a 2 gig USB thumb drive I picked up at RSA this year courtesy of Secunia, which is more then enough room for a Linux installation. It took about 20 minutes to create the intial Fedora 9 Desktop installation on the thumb drive, but most of that time was the downloading of the ISO file. The boot up on the target system went well, but Fedora 9 doesn’t recognize the Linksys wireless card in the system and I don’t have the inclination to fight with an installation that much. I tried older versions of Knoppix and a Damn Small Linux I had lying around, but they didn’t like a lot of what they saw on the system, mainly the video and the wireless.

As an experiment I hit the “Use existing Live CD” button and pointed the Live USB at an ISO of Ubuntu 8.0.4.1 LTS (Hardy Heron), and it worked flawlessly. USB Creator had verified the Fedora 9 ISO, but it simply trusted the Ubuntu ISO and 4 minutes later I had an Ubuntu Live USB. Ubuntu at least recognizes the wireless card is there and even suggests some drivers, but I’ll have to hook it up in my office wired LAN to get the system on the Internet. Not an insurmountable problem, just one I’m too lazy to do yet.

I’ll probably wimp out and put Windows 2000 back on the system along with some additional safeguards. This is because I doubt my friend can adjust to Linux, even if all he does is surf the Web. In the mean time, I’ve got a decent little test system. Next up for a quick test run is Helix. Anyone have suggestions for a *nix live distro that I can test out fairly quickly to place on an non-computer savvy friends system?

PS. I hate being desktop support.

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7 responses so far

7 Responses to “Fedora Live USB Creator”

  1. Christianon 24 Aug 2008 at 5:31 pm

    It’s one of the only problems with being the IT Geek within the family!

  2. Thomas Nicholsonon 24 Aug 2008 at 9:57 pm

    If you want to make a bunch of USB Linux images check out Unetbootin. I have a post about it on my blog (link http://nicholsonsecurity.com/2008/08/12/unetbootin/).

    You can take almost any Linux ISO and it will package it up and configure the USB to boot. It even has a few preloaded so you don’t need to down load anything ahead of time. I’m working a lost lost of security related LiveCD’s.

    If your looking for a simple USB Linux I like Puppy Linux.

  3. Alexanderon 07 Sep 2008 at 8:52 pm

    a try to do this… but .. the program(usb creator),

    “Extracting live image to USB device…
    ISO extraction failed? Cannot find LiveOS
    LiveUSB creation failed!”

    Any Advice??.

    please. ! help…. I need ubuntu hardy Live…

  4. Martinon 07 Sep 2008 at 9:25 pm

    Sorry, I haven’t run into this error. I had an error early on where I was out of space on the thumb drive, but I don’t think I got that error.

    Sounds like a corrupt ISO to me, but that’s just an educated guess.

    Martin

  5. Paul Purion 27 Sep 2008 at 10:06 pm

    I tried it Fedora and it would not completely boot. Downloading Ubuntu right now to see if this will work. Wish me luck.

  6. Philon 24 Nov 2008 at 7:38 pm

    Anyone try to backup or clone one of these live USBs with the persistent overlay? I created one, added a number of RPMs and content, and now I can’t back it up or copy it, even to a drive with the same capacity and using Acronis. Any way to reverse the process to create an ISO image? If not, what’s a reliable backup tool?

  7. feron 15 Oct 2009 at 6:46 pm

    I dont know if you resolved your issue. Im writing this because I spent several hours searching on google about this without luck.

    After studying the structure of the overlay file I found how it works. Im currently working in a project that requires to install so many things on the live usb, and it was a pain in the neck to install one by one. What you need to do is the following, very basic steps and very easy to do. No complicated dd commands or iso creation.

    Do the following(UNDER WINDOWS):

    1. once you have the final usb installation, you need to get the System Volume ID. to do that simply plug the usb and goto system command (start -> run -> cmd.exe)

    2. type vol DRIVELETTER: (for example if your drive is F: do vol f:)
    once you do that you will get something like:

    Serial Volume is: 0AD7-0FF0

    3. Write down that number. Now, you need to download an application called VolumeID from microsoft. you can get it on http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/sysinternals/bb897436.aspx. download it and unzip it.

    4. take the new usb and format it. once formatted open a cmd.exe window and run the command volumeid(from your previous unzip).

    volumeid DRIVELETTER: SERIALVOLUME
    i.e. volumeid f: 0AD7-0FF0

    5. once you do that you are “cloning” the serial volume from your original usb into the new one. Overlay files depends on this.

    6. now open the liveusbcreator and create a live usb as you normal do. Once its finish just overwrite the overlay file (located in LiveOS folder). Make sure to label your usb as same as the original one. Once you overwrite the overlay file the usb is cloned.

    I did this and works. Any further questions send me an email to fer507 at gmail dot com

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