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Booting Linux on USB without restarting

By ReederOnTheRun ยท 6 replies
Aug 30, 2012
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  1. First, I'm a linux noob. Just made the switch on my laptop and I love it. That got me thinking of how much I'd enjoy linux over the not-so-great Windows computers at my university. So here's the situation:

    - The campus computers are laggy and won't let you install anything (except spotify for some reason?)
    - I have a 16GB usb
    - The tech support here said that the computers probably won't boot from a cd or usb because the they are all connected to some off-site server that controls what is booted.

    1. I was wondering if any of you knew how I can force the computer to boot from the usb?
    2. Is 16GB fine for Linux mint 13?
    3. Will it still work if I switched to a different computer? (I don't know if it might automatically load drivers for that specific hardware and not know what to do when I go to a different computer)

  2. Leeky

    Leeky TS Evangelist Posts: 3,797   +116

    You could do that, but you'd need to find a way of booting it from USB first, otherwise it wouldn't work. I would imagine they'd have protections in place to prevent exactly that thing from happening to be honest.
  3. jobeard

    jobeard TS Ambassador Posts: 10,432   +801

    hmm; disconnect the network cable, insert the CD or USB stick and the reboot.
    You are now isolated from the network and under the control of the BIOS settings for the boot process.

    If the boot order in the BIOS is correct, the the CD will boot. The USB should but some systems have problems
    with this issue.

    btw: Knoppix CD is a great Linux boot
  4. ReederOnTheRun

    ReederOnTheRun TS Booster Topic Starter Posts: 304   +62

    To Leeky:

    Yeah, that's what I was thinking. I did read something about a program you can run in windows to force it to restart and boot from the usb, but I'm still at the early stages of figuring out if that'll work.

    To jobeard:

    Great idea! I'll try that next time I get a chance and see what happens. If the regular usb boot doesn't work I'll try Knoppix CD.
  5. Leeky

    Leeky TS Evangelist Posts: 3,797   +116

    I'd also make sure you aren't breaking any regulations set by your educational institution before proceeding as well. They might take a very aggressive line if you proceeded. I know previous colleges and University campuses deployed software that effectively meant they could "oversee" the usage of each terminal, and take control of them if required. Running Linux and by-passing the main OS (and terminal login) would prevent them from working, and effectively isolate it from the network. I doubt they'd allow that. lol.
  6. LNCPapa

    LNCPapa TS Special Forces Posts: 4,247   +448

    Being that I'm one of those university admins and one of my many tasks is to manage the public labs I have a very subjective point of view on this topic. I don't have time to watch over the status of my machines when I set them to do things, but if I were to find out someone (student, faculty, or staff) were interfering with this in some way I would make life for them very difficult when it comes to central IT related resources. If I were you I would tread lightly in this area as it's much easier for the admins to grief you than you might think. This is a situation where you might just want to go with the flow and if that's too much of an inconvenience then use your own laptop.
  7. ReederOnTheRun

    ReederOnTheRun TS Booster Topic Starter Posts: 304   +62

    Those are pretty good points, never really considered them. I'll run this by the tech support desk first and see what they think. It'd just be way faster to use my own linux os without getting bogged down in all of their restrictions and running programs.

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