Installing on USB 3.0 flash drive

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Re: Installing on USB 3.0 flash drive

Post#31 by brokenman » 25 May 2017, 02:30

Supposedly, the ESP does not have to be the first partition
I believe it does indeed need to be the first partition. It also needs to be at least FAT32.

I also believe the best way to run is with a FAT32 partition as the first partition holding boot files and the second partition ext4 holding the OS files. Porteus is linux and as such was designed to be run from non-windows partitions. It can cope with windows partitions, but I wouldn't say it is the best choice by a long shot.
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Re: Installing on USB 3.0 flash drive

Post#32 by rchase » 25 May 2017, 14:20

brokenman wrote:
Supposedly, the ESP does not have to be the first partition
I believe it does indeed need to be the first partition. It also needs to be at least FAT32.

I also believe the best way to run is with a FAT32 partition as the first partition holding boot files and the second partition ext4 holding the OS files. Porteus is linux and as such was designed to be run from non-windows partitions. It can cope with windows partitions, but I wouldn't say it is the best choice by a long shot.
According to https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/EFI_system_partition, "Microsoft recommends that when partitioning a disk, the EFI system partition be the first partition on the disk. This is not a requirement of the EFI specification itself". For legacy booting (having finally realized that bad USB 3.0 flash drives -- two out of the three I have -- were responsible for boot failures), the first partition can be made exFAT; I'll see whether this can be accomplished on an UEFI-bootable stick.

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Re: Installing on USB 3.0 flash drive

Post#33 by rchase » 25 May 2017, 14:26

Ed_P wrote:
rchase wrote:I know that. Making an UEFI-booting flash drive means giving up on the idea of formatting most of it exFAT (usefully, that is).
I'm confused. You said when the drives wouldn't boot in EFI systems the drive's first partition were exFAT.
Pure coincidence.
Ed_P wrote:
rchase wrote:I want Porteus to run in a native ext4 partition
Why? Porteus runs fine on FAT partitions. It was designed to do that. I have at least two flash drives set up that way and when I get time I will install it on the new USB 3.0 drive that way also. Your requirement is a self imposed limitation.
Porteus was designed to be able to run from a FAT32 partition, but it also provides for frugal installations to other types of partitions. Since Porteus is a variety of Linux, ext4 may be regarded as a native partition-type for it (whereas FAT32 may not). My requirement is self-imposed, but should not be a limitation.

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Re: Installing on USB 3.0 flash drive

Post#34 by Ed_P » 25 May 2017, 14:39

rchase wrote:[the first partition can be made exFAT;
Not according to this statement:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/EFI_system_partition wrote:An ESP needs to be formatted with a file system whose specification is based on the FAT file system
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File_Allocation_Table wrote:the UEFI specification requires compliant firmware to be capable of reading FAT-12, FAT-16 and FAT-32 compliant partitions.
exFAT is not part of the UEFI FAT file system specs.

I don't know what you expect to gain by using exFAT vs FAT32 other than problems booting. :%)
Ed

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Re: Installing on USB 3.0 flash drive

Post#35 by rchase » 25 May 2017, 14:51

Ed_P wrote:... exFAT is not part of the UEFI FAT file system specs.

I don't know what you expect to gain by using exFAT vs FAT32 other than problems booting ...
You have gotten yourself confused -- I never proposed to make the ESP exFAT! Read the two posts immediately preceding yours; I suppose that the ESP can be put anywhere on the flash drive; it may not be visible to Windows, but the UEFI loader should see it and hand over control to Windows. If the ESP and Porteus both can reside in partitions other than the first, it can be formatted exFAT (the advantage of which over FAT32 and other formats is supposed to be that it puts less wear on the flash memory), using the bulk of the drive for storage or file transfer while wearing out the flash more slowly than if it were all formatted FAT32.

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Re: Installing on USB 3.0 flash drive

Post#36 by Bootlegger_Bob » 26 May 2017, 01:21

Hi,
not to shed any light on the matter but I had the same problems trying to boot from usb 2 with a sandisk usb 3. Sent the drive back for a refund and bought an adata instead which worked fine.
exfat on some of it and ext4 for porteus-

-Bob

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Re: Installing on USB 3.0 flash drive

Post#37 by brokenman » 27 May 2017, 23:25

According to EFI system partition, "Microsoft recommends that when partitioning a disk, the EFI system partition be the first partition on the disk. This is not a requirement of the EFI specification itself".
Confirmed. Thanks. There are no such limitations. The EFI partition can be placed anywhere on the disk.
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Re: Installing on USB 3.0 flash drive

Post#38 by rchase » 29 May 2017, 05:51

I finally succeeded in formatting a flash drive so that my UEFI-only Kangaroo will boot Porteus from it directly -- simply by creating a FAT32 partition named ESP and transferring refind with a suitably modified refind.conf to it. It doesn't have to be marked bootable to be seen and booted by the UEFI booter. I have a flash drive with an exFAT partition, an ESP pointing to Porteus, and an ext4 partition with Porteus and the bootloader installed to it -- the drive boots both legacy and UEFI and can still be used for storage.

I dismantled the ten-year-old Thinkcentre M55 I was using as a legacy testbed; I discovered that it would reliably shut down under heavy CPU loads -- I tried changing power supplies, to no avail, then noticed two definitely bulging capacitors on the motherboard. I don't have the skill, the solder-sucker, or the capacitors to attempt a motherboard repair (though I gather they can be done), so I suppose this is another junked system. I bought 2GB of DDR2 SDRAM at auction off ebay for it, but the machine was a gift (so I'm out $.79). Brokenman, is this a repair you would attempt?

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Re: Installing on USB 3.0 flash drive

Post#39 by Ed_P » 29 May 2017, 16:06

rchase wrote:(so I'm out $.79).
Don't forget the shipping and handling costs. :(

:D
Ed

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Re: Installing on USB 3.0 flash drive

Post#40 by rchase » 30 May 2017, 20:18

I went a little overboard -- I can prepare flash drives that will boot through rEFInd installed to the eMMC on my UEFI-only Kangaroo and also boot on legacy systems, but I cannot prepare drives that are (reliably) visible to UEFI loaders (either on my Kangaroo or my desktop). On one occasion, a flash drive I had formatted with a FAT32 partition containing an EFI folder appeared in my Kangaroo's list of bootloaders, but I've never been able to reproduce the behavior. I tried formatting a drive with GPT partitioning and used diskpart to create a partition of type EFI, then copied my Porteus EFI folder there -- the Kangaroo's bootloader ignored it (though I continued to be able to boot it using the already-installed rEFInd) and it wouldn't boot on my MSI desktop (though it offered both legacy and UEFI boot options for the drive). Is there some way to format a flash drive (and I have temporarily substituted an old IDE hard drive attached to a USB 2.0 adapter for testing supposing that this won't make a difference) so that UEFI-only computers will list in in their boot menus and successfully boot from it without installing rEFInd to the system's main drive and chaining through it?

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Re: Installing on USB 3.0 flash drive

Post#41 by rchase » 30 May 2017, 22:31

If I use Rufus to create a GPT-partitioned drive for booting UEFI and burn the Porteus .iso to it, both my UEFI loaders see and can boot from it -- of course, this means that the entire drive is formatted FAT32, which defeats two of my puposes. I just used a Windows utility to squeeze the boot partition down to 512MB in the middle of the disk and the UEFI-loader still sees it. Rufus wrote an "msftdata"-format partition, according to Gparted, and it doesn't have the esp flag set. I created an exFAT partition before the UEFI-bootable Porteus partition and an ext4 one after. I installed an extant copy of Porteus to the ext4 partition and deleted everything but the EFI folder from the installation partition. I modified refind.conf there to boot Porteus directly from the ext4 partition (identified with UUID). This works! I can boot my Kangaroo with this drive attached to a USB 2.0 hub (eventually -- the loader requires a lot of cogitation when there are possibly bootable devices attached at boot) and select the EFI loader on the drive from the boot menu and Porteus boots off the drive. No idea why this didn't work before -- shouldn't have to employ Rufus with a bootable Porteus on it first. I'll do some more experimenting.

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Re: Installing on USB 3.0 flash drive

Post#42 by rchase » 31 May 2017, 00:01

Success! I used Mini Partition Wizard 10 to convert my GPT disk to an MBR one (still with large exFAT partition, 512MB FAT32, "msftdata"-flagged EFI partition, and ext4 installed-Porteus partition) -- it still showed up as an EFI-USB device in my Kangaroo's boot menu and booted successfully. I ran the bootloader installation script on the Porteus partition (sda3) and rebooted again -- my Kangaroo would still boot the drive (UEFI). I moved the drive to a USB 2.0 port on my desktop and rebooted; MSI's firmware offered both UEFI booting and legacy booting and both succeeded. I have yet to do this on actual flash, but it should work (on both USB 2.0 and USB 3.0 drives).

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Re: Installing on USB 3.0 flash drive

Post#43 by brokenman » 31 May 2017, 16:07

Brokenman, is this a repair you would attempt?
Sure. Capacitor replacement for me is a 3 minute job. Three minutes because the soldering iron has to heat up. If you mean is the hardware worth saving to me? Probably not.
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Re: Installing on USB 3.0 flash drive

Post#44 by rchase » 31 May 2017, 19:33

brokenman wrote:Sure. Capacitor replacement for me is a 3 minute job. Three minutes because the soldering iron has to heat up. If you mean is the hardware worth saving to me? Probably not.
Thanks; thought as much. I was elated because that ten-year-old machine ran Porteus 3.2.2 very well; in my museum of computing, my even older machines do not. It does seem to me that there are a vast number of machines literally being thrown away (in the U.S.) which could serve the computing needs of most end-users just by running Porteus off USB -- it's true that there are many live Linux distributions that can do much the same, but Porteus boots faster, conserves USB bandwidth (so much so that it can run well over USB 2.0), and is so readily preconfigurable and installable that it should drastically cut the time (and cost) of reusing old computers (preferable to recycling them) and provide users a superior experience too. I'll go ahead and dismantle the motherboard -- it has the biggest CPU heat exchanger I've ever seen. I like to perch them atop my old disk drives that run too hot.

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Re: Installing on USB 3.0 flash drive

Post#45 by Ed_P » 31 May 2017, 21:31

^ rchase, if you're not going to use the board you have nothing to loose in trying to solder it. If the soldering works you have a functional, usable board, if it doesn't it still ends up on the hard drive pile.

Nothing ventured, nothing gained.
Ed

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