How to Boot Linux from USB Drive in Windows

By Angsuman Chakraborty, Gaea News Network
Wednesday, January 7, 2009

CDs and DVDs are finding their places at garbage boxes these days. To run portable OSes from CD is an age old process. Here is a very cool alternative though. I guess some of you are well aware of USB DSL or damn small Linux. It was created by John Andrews, and is basically a trimmed down version of an early Knoppix build, making it perfect for smaller drives. Based on the 2.4 kernel, DSL is great to use for older and slower computers as well. It will fit and run on portable devices or drives as small as 64MB.

What do You Need

* A 64MB or larger USB flash drive
* HP-USB Format tool (optional)
* 7-Zip (or another extracting utility)
* Syslinux


1. Download the HP-USB Format tool and format your flash drive using the Fat or Fat32 option
2. Download the and extract the contents using 7-Zip to your USB flash drive
3. Download and unzip the files to a directory called syslinux on your computer
4. From Windows click start-> run-> cmd
5. From the command window, type
cd \syslinux\win32

6. Type
syslinux.exe -ma X: (replace X with your USB drive letter) to make the drive bootable
7. Reboot your computer and set your system BIOS or Boot Menu to boot from the USB device. In some cases, you might also need to set the hard disk boot priority to boot from the USB stick if your BIOS lists the device as a hard drive.

You are done!

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