Best Distro for a full install on a USB key ?

Usjes

New Member
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Hi,

I have an old Acer laptop with no hard disk so I want to run Linux from a full install on a USB key. I have a 16Gb USB 3.0 key which I did a full install of Ubuntu 14.05 LTS a few years ago and using this the machine boots up and looks to be basically working. Some features don't work though (eg it generally fails to recover from suspend mode if I close the lid) so I want to update to a later version in the hopes that I will have fewer problems. I'm wondering though:
- Is Ubuntu the best distro for running from a USB key or might there be some other distro that would be better optimized specifically for this hardware config ?
- How much difference should I expect performance-wise running from a USB key vs. from an internal hard-disk, is USB 3.0 much slower than an internal disk ?
- Whatever distro I do install are there any specific tweaks I should do to maximize performance given that it will be on an external USB key rather than internal disk ?

Thanks,

Usjes.
 


brickwizard

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I have an old Acer laptop
I have a very old acer laptop which was a pig to find a distro that worked... [but it dose now]
So tell us what model is your lappy [full model and number please] and any modifications you may have made, so we can check out its specifications

Bwiz
 

captain-sensible

Well-Known Member
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14,907
there migth be another approach that is to use your 16gig and format it with Ventoy https://www.ventoy.net/en/index.html then once formated you can just drag and drop linux iso onto it ; as if it were a normal storage setup (execpt its more than than)


this is what i have on one stick :

ISO
├── debian-live-10.9.0-amd64-xfce+nonfree.iso
├── endeavouros-2021.04.17-x86_64.iso
├── linuxmint-20.1-cinnamon-64bit.iso
├── linuxmint-20.2-xfce-64bit.iso
└── neon-user-20210325-0946.iso


via a boot menu at boot up i can choose to run any .Now comes the crux - with a complete install you can install further software; generally with live Linux OS you can't install. Well via a gig or more file and a bit of minor coding you can have storage for any "compatible" os see : https://www.ventoy.net/en/plugin_persistence.html


So since a linux live OS booted from a usb , using hardware from PC its attached to , then the approach might be:


1) see what linux os is compatible with laptop
2) see if that os has shown to have persistence working.

If you can satisy both 1) and 2) then you would have a system that "equates" to the full install way
 

dos2unix

Well-Known Member
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If you need a "everything included on the USB" as in, I don't have internet to download more stuff.

Knoppix has quite a bit included.
 

Usjes

New Member
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24
I have a very old acer laptop which was a pig to find a distro that worked... [but it dose now]
So tell us what model is your lappy [full model and number please] and any modifications you may have made, so we can check out its specifications

Bwiz
For reference it's an Acer Aspire S5 Series S5-391-53314G12akk with 4Gb of RAM installed
 

brickwizard

Well-Known Member
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6,924
thats not old [mine is 21 yrs in Dec].. It is capable of running any Linux distro you choose, when you make a persistant installation be sure to load the non-free / proprietary drivers [wireless drivers may work live but not install when you load to harddrive [pen drive] , the only thing that will slow it down is the usb bus speed [its not as fast as an inbuilt harddrive] what i will suggest is You opt for one of the medium weight distributions linux lite, MX-linux, Debian stable to name a few.. if you want to make a pendrive a permanent harddrive you will need 2 pendrives one to put the iso on [4gb is ample] and one to format as a harddrive [min 16 gb]

Bwiz
 

Fanboi

Active Member
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3,665
Best option IMHO would be Antix Linux:
https://antixlinux.com/
It is designed to run off USB. It's Debian-based so you can add eyecandy as you see fit.
 
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