16gig Flash Drive

A short time ago, I pointed out a reduced price offer on 16-gig lanyard USB flash drive. While a colleague pointed out I could easily buy a 150gig hard drive for $45-$50 more than I paid for the lanyard drive ($41), I didn't want to lug around a big drive (that's the laptop's role right now).

My 16-gig drive arrived last week and I had a lot of fun reformatting it, partitioning it (using UbuntuLinux's Partition Editor) into two pieces...about 4.8gigs for UbuntuLinux (9.04) and the rest for data.

When I used Unetbootin to install Ubuntu, I forgot that all I was doing was setting it up to mimic a CD boot. That's not what I wanted. I wanted to be able to store my information, customize the desktop, install software, etc. To accomplish that, I had to take these steps:

  1. Use a PC and boot off a flash drive (CD would work, too) with Ubuntu 9.04. The hard drive of the PC was not affected or touched at all.
  2. After booting, plug-in my 16gig flash drive, unmount it and then partition it using Ubuntu's Partition Editor.
  3. Install ubuntuLinux to the 4.8 gig partition of my 16gig flash drive
  4. Reformat the remainder (about 10.1 gigs) as FAT32 to make it widely compatible with every OS I use (Mac,Win,UbuntuLinux)
The process took about 30 minutes on the install and works just fine. I haven't gotten around to customizing it but hope to do that.

I'm now able to boot off the 16gig flash drive and have a portable environment of tools I like ready to go. Doing the same isn't hard at all for Mac OS X Leopard...just boot off a CD and install the operating system to the Flash drive (at least 8 gigs required). With more space, I can imagine lots of things one can do.


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Jerram Froese said…
This has me thinking about our 1:1 program. What if we separated the hardware and the software? Students could use their flash drive to boot and store all of their data.

Shoot, we're already moving students to Open Office this year on ALL of our 10,000+ student machines. I still see some draw backs (we can edit videos with MovieMaker on the Eee PC's) and the network management becomes more difficult (no more windows rights control). But, the gains may outweigh that.


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