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Tuesday, December 21, 2010

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How to create own Linux distro (LiLi USB Creator)?

LinuxLive CDs have long been well known as a handy tool in PC repair.Personally I’ve used Linux CDs dozens of times to repair Windowsproblems, from virus scans to file retrieval to partition adjustments.As great as Live CDs are, they still have a few drawbacks, like aninability to save any new files or changes. Bootable USB sticks solvemost of the problems with Live CDs. You can write to them, change thesoftware or the whole system without burning a new CD, and carry themeasily wherever you go.

There’s a new (Windows only, strangely enough) software tool out called LiLi USB Creator.LiLi makes it incredibly easy to create your own customized bootableLinux system on a USB stick, and even run it from within Windows usingan portable copy of Virtualbox that’s included on the installation.Impressed? I am.
I ran LiLi on Windows XP Pro with Service Pack 3 and a 2GB Kingston USB drive. You can download the installer here.It’s a ZIP file and there’s no installer so you can just run itdirectly from wherever it was extracted. Once loaded you’ll get themain LiLi screen where all your choices are made.

Step 1: Choose a USB Key

Ifyour USB drive isn’t already connected, connect it now and wait a fewseconds before hitting the blue refresh button. When you click thedrop-down list, you should see your flash drive in the list. Make sure you’re choosing the correct flash drive,as the program also lists your hard drives, and we certainly wouldn’twant to go wiping any of them. Which reminds me – in case this isn’tyet clear, this flash drive will be wiped clean so make sure there’s nothing important on there before we proceed.

Step 2: Choose a Source

LiLineeds to know what you plan to use as the base of your system. This isone of LiLi’s big strengths in my opinion. You can choose to use a LiveCD ISO file you already have, a Live CD in your CD-ROM, or to have LiLidownload an ISO for you. This last option is particularly impressive,as LiLi provides a list of some of the compatible distros and willautomatically fetch and check the files it needs.
Asfor me, I went with Fedora because… well… pretty much just because Ihaven’t used it in a while. If you chose to let LiLi download acompatible ISO for you, then you’ve got a little time to wait while itdownloads. Now might be a good time to make a snack, read a book, orbetter yet – browse articles on MakeTechEasier.

Step 3: Persistence

Atthis point, we can take advantage of the fact that we’re using a USBdrive and not a Live CD. By setting some space for persistence, we cannow save file and settings changes directly on to the USB drive. Thisis also the cause of some confusion when creating these live systems.
Forclarity, we’ll use my 2GB Kingston flash drive as an example of howthis all works. It’s actually about 1.9GB, and the files from the ISOwill be using up about 700MB, so according to LiLi that leaves about1.1 GB for persistent files to be saved. The math doesn’t quite add up,but I would guess that LiLi is using up a little more space than justthe ISO contents for things like VirtualBox (discussed below). Theslider bar in the screenshot above lets me choose how much of thatspace I really want to use. Unless you’ve got other plans for thatspace, you probably want to slide the bar all the way up.
If yourUSB drive is larger than 1GB and LiLi doesn’t let you move the sliderpast 0MB, just reformat the entire USB drive, reload LiLi and try again.

Step 4: Options

Thefirst item in the Options section is whether or not you want to hidethe system files on the USB drive. The only relevance this has iswhether or not Windows will show the Linux system files on the flashdrive. The benefit is that you won’t have to worry about a convolutedmess of files and directories on the drive if you just want to runVirtualBox (which we’ll cover in a moment). The down side is that itwould be more difficult to access or edit those files from Windows,should you want to. Neither choice will have any significant effect onhow your Linux system runs.
The second option is whether or notto format the USB drive in Fat32. Unless you have a specific reason notto, I’d recommend you allow the format to be certain that the drive isbeing wiped clean and installed correctly.
The last option is oneof the really unique and interesting things about LiLi. As I hinted inthe opening paragraph, LiLi is capable of adding a portable copy ofVirtualBox to your USB drive. For anyone not familiar with VirtualBox,it’s a high quality free virtualization program. With VirtualBox on thedrive, you’ll be able to run your new Linux USB system from withinWindows, without rebooting. I’d recommend checking this option, so thatyour flash drive can be as versatile and useful as it can be.

Step 5: Create

Beforeclicking the lightning bolt to begin, there are a few things to checkto make sure we’re not about to cause a disaster. First, make totally certain that the device you chose in Step 1 is the USB drive, and that you don’t mind wiping its contents.Next do a quick glance at the traffic light icons in the bottom rightcorner of each step. Each light should be green, indicating it’s goteverything it needs in order to proceed. When ready, hit the lightningbolt icon, and go make yourself another snack.

Running your new USB Linux System

Ifyou’ve followed this guide closely, then you now have two ways to startyour new system. The first is from within Windows, using VirtualBox.Open My Computer to your flash drive, and you’ll see a Virtualbox folder. Open that and run Virtualize This Key.That will launch the portable VirtualBox to your Linux image and youcan use your shiny new Linux system from a contained environment withinWindows. Keep in mind, this method does give the benefit of being ableto use both OSes simultaneously, but Linux will most likely be MUCHslower here than if it had been booted on its own.
Theother method is to boot the USB key as intended, as its own OS. To dothat, you insert the USB drive into whatever computer you’d like toboot, and restart the computer. Some computers may require you to openthe BIOS settings to include USB in the boot devices. Others may giveyou an option when starting up like Hit F12 for Boot Menu, or something along those lines. Any fairly modern PC should be capable of booting from a USB drive.
Presumingall went well, you should now have a portable, self-contained,customizable USB Linux system installed on your USB drive that can betaken anywhere. This can be useful in repairs, file recovery, virusscanning, or just showing off. Files saved to the USB drive willpersist across multiple reboots.
Other than a booting glitch whenI tried LiLi with Crunchbang (which may or may not have been LiLi’sfault), everything seems to work smoothly. I was very impressed byLiLi’s simple yet powerful user interface, and the developers haveclearly put a lot of thought and effort into making LiLi a qualitypiece of software. I’m a little surprised it only runs in Windows, buteverything it does, it does well. 

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About 'Anu': My name is 'Anu' also Known as 'ANU 007 TIGER' .I'm administrator of 'PC Tips by Anu' blog .This blog was opened for sharing contents about hacking n cracking.


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