Boot Stick

2010 October 4
by Dave

Most likely I will be going to China next month some time. I like to minimize my laptop’s exposure to the networks there since I am a pretty useless programmer without my dev environment. In an attempt to make going out onto the web from behind the great firewall a little bit safer, I decided to make a bootable linux thumb drive to use for web surfing, skype and personal email.

xPUD is a nice little distribution. It weighs in at 64 Megs. You can run it from your old 128 MB memory stick. I like it’s tabbed, smart phone style, app centric gui. It is fast, small and networks well. Everything a netbook OS should be.

I did run into one hiccup though. I accidentally killed my hard drive. Luckily I was setting it up on my personal PC rather than my work one.

It started out so innocently. No matter what I tried I could not get my BIOS to recognize my USB memory stick as a bootable drive. So I decided that I needed a stronger tool.

I think deciding to use a more powerful tool is how everything bad that I ever do to myself in Linux starts.

So I made a bootable Linux CD and proceeded to run fdisk from linux to repartition my thumb drive. It worked like a champ and I am typing this right now from xPUD based in my USB stick. I also managed to somehow make my  primary hard drive no longer want to boot Windows. Hooray. A few hours of banging on it later and I decided that maybe I had somehow set the wrong partition to be the boot partition on the hard drive.

So I swapped the boot partition flags and now the stupid drive won’t even mount in linux. Hooray for playing with power tools when you have no skill in their use. Now I have to figure out how to reformat a hard drive that won’t mount, and then reinstall Windows.

In the meantime, posts will be brought to you from inside a new matte white Lexar thumb drive.

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