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Is there a tool to make a live USB for Fedora with data persistence?

asked 2017-11-09 21:40:04 -0500

updated 2017-11-10 05:44:50 -0500

I have an openSUSE Tumbleweed USB with data persistence thanks to the SUSE Studio Image Writer (SSIW), but I know that Fedora Media Writer doesn't provide data persistence for live USB made live using it. I also know that SSIW doesn't provide data persistence for non-SUSE distros like Fedora so I can't use it for this. I know that using the dd command doesn't provide data persistence. I also know that UNetBootin doesn't provide data persistence, at least not the way I use it. I know of one sure-fire way to provide data persistence, but I know that systems installed using it tend to be buggy and very slow and that is to install a Fedora system to the USB I want to make live with persistence. Do you's have any alternative ways for me to use to create a live Fedora USB with data persistence?

I only use Linux systems, so if your solution involves using a tool on other operating systems I'm afraid it won't work for me. My present primary operating systems are Arch Linux and Gentoo Linux so please provide me solutions that are doable from these systems (which given that Fedora is also a Linux distribution should mean it's also usable on Fedora).

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answered 2017-11-10 14:26:19 -0500

theroark gravatar image

Echoing @ozezty, you can create a Fedora live USB, boot to the installer, then use it to install the system on a separate USB.

Another alternative -- one that works for an existing, running instance of Fedora -- is to use Tar to backup your entire operating system "/" to a compressed file, then untar it to a USB drive. Once it has been completely restored, you just need to change the UUID in /etc/fstab to the UUID of the USB (found using sudo blkid). If you use rEFInd, you also need to change the refind-linux.conf to the new UUID. Finally, and importantly, this only works if you have SELinux set to permissive, which can be done using Fedy>Tweaks.

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Yep the install to another USB is what I was talking about in my question. That usually results in a very slow and buggy system in my experience. Will your tar method work with a live session? I don't have Fedora installed anywhere but in a VM.

Brenton Horne gravatar imageBrenton Horne ( 2017-11-10 17:51:31 -0500 )edit

Yes, it will work with a live session. However, as noted, it only works if SELinux is set to permissive when you create the .tar file. I am going to post a question about how/whether it is possible to reset SELinux on the new instance (here, a live USB), as I have not been able to do so.

theroark gravatar imagetheroark ( 2017-11-21 23:24:52 -0500 )edit

answered 2017-11-10 05:10:47 -0500

ozeszty gravatar image

updated 2017-11-10 05:40:38 -0500

livecd-iso-to-disk lets you add persistent /home (--home-size-mb) or even keep all changes (updates, installs) across boots (--overlay-size-mb ). Here's a manual:

Updated ISO's should be useful for that purpose.

Make sure you test Live USB right after creating it, I've had some issues booting one, and didn't have time to find the culprit.

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Is there a way to make all remaining space on the USB to be used by the overlay, without having to specify the exact space?

Brenton Horne gravatar imageBrenton Horne ( 2017-11-10 05:39:20 -0500 )edit

Oh and I'm afraid I don't use Fedora as my primary OS. I'll specify that in my question, thanks for your attempt to help though. :)

Brenton Horne gravatar imageBrenton Horne ( 2017-11-10 05:43:22 -0500 )edit

I don't think so. On a side note it's best to combine home and overlay, as home will be re-writeable, while overlay will only mark files as deleted and sooner or later run out of free space. I added link to a manual.

ozeszty gravatar imageozeszty ( 2017-11-10 06:09:56 -0500 )edit

You can always boot one Fedora Live USB to create another ;)

ozeszty gravatar imageozeszty ( 2017-11-10 06:13:34 -0500 )edit

I read the manual and yeah I saw that but I'm only likely to make fairly limited changes to the user configuration most of my changes will be to installed packages. Like I want to set this live USB up so that it connects to the WiFi on my laptop with a Broadcom chip out-of-the-box. I did realize the possibility of using live session to create the persistent live USB, must admit I was just hoping for a simpler solution as my live USB session has no WiFi and getting an ethernet cable is a pain. But I suppose I'll but up with that discomfort and see if it'll work.

Brenton Horne gravatar imageBrenton Horne ( 2017-11-10 06:40:01 -0500 )edit

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Asked: 2017-11-09 21:40:04 -0500

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Last updated: Nov 10 '17