This posting is more for the benefit of less experienced users. The seasoned Linux user / veteran is not likely to be confused by the lengthy explanations I provided on persistence. The following clarifications might serve to make the process easier.
The first issue you need to determine is whether you are working in a LINUX ONLY installation on real hardware (virtual machine etc.) or whether you are a user that uses Windows as their primary OS and want to use a Linux Live OS on a usb thumb drive with persistence. Most inexperienced Linux users that I have met still use Windows OS desktops and / or laptops and sometimes use Linux in mixed installations and hardware. For this specific clarification, I will assume the user uses Windows as their primary OS and also wants to use Linux wit persistence as a LIVE option.
For learning purposes, I recommend using two specific programs to assist you in a Windows environment. Once you learn the overall process, then you will be free to use other similar tools to accomplish the same tasks. The following two Windows applications are the ones I recommend and successfully prepare the usb thumb drive. Both programs are free of cost.
1) Universal USB Installerhttps://www.pendrivelinux.com/downloads/Universal-USB-Installer/Universal-USB-Installer-184.108.40.206.exe
This utility program runs in memory without having to perform an installation.
2) Mini Tool Partition Wizard Freehttp://download3.minitool.com/pw10/pw10-free.exe
This utility program performs the same tasks that Gparted does in Linux and its interface looks like other third party Windows Partition Managers. This programs MUST be installed in Windows before actually using it. Just accept the defaults during installation.
Once you have obtained both programs, make certain you have a usb thumb drive (device) with the minimum capacity of eight gigabytes. Anything smaller will not allow enough free space to use with persistence in a practical way.
Before we begin, I recommend that you disconnected, either by using Windows to "safely disconnect" any usb devices that are not being used for this tutorial. If necessary, just physically disconnect them until you have completed the procedures. This will serve to eliminate any confusion when identifying the thumb drive to be used and will also make it impossible to make unwanted changes to the disconnected usb devices.
Also remember that Sparky Linux and me are NOT responsible for any mistakes you make that cause problems. It's your responsibility alone when working with this tutorial.
I will use the desktop system available to me for this detailed explanation. It has a hard drive with Windows 7 installed and I have a working Sandisk usb thumb drive with the capacity of 8-gigabytes. No other usb storage device is attached to the computer used by me.
Open Windows File Manager (called Windows Explorer) and identify the drive letter assigned to the usb thumb drive. In my working system, it is identified as device E: Just make certain to stay away from device C: !
Next, launch the Mini Tool Partition Wizard. You will be presented with small graphical window. Select the upper left section to launch the utility program. The program will open with a display showing the drives in your system. Two main areas are provided. The upper section first lists the Windows partitons on Drive C and below will display the applicable partitions on the other attached storage devices. At the bottom you will see the description and partition of the usb thumb drive. Remember, my usb device is identified as Drive E:
Normally, this first procedure would not be necessary but it is a good idea to make certain there are no defects with the usb device so I am doing the following. Select the identified partition at the bottom. The display above will be highlighted with a yellow / orange color indicating which device and partition you have currently chosen to carry out procedures.
RIGHT-CLICK on the usb tumb drive's partition and select DELETE from the options menu. Once DELETE has been selected and you have identified that your selection is correct, the locate and select the APPLY toolbar icon.
WARNING! Make absolutely certain that you are working with / selecting the usb thumb drive partiton and NOT your Windows partitions.
Once you have deleted the existing partition on the usb thumb drive, it will now display and indicator of UNUSED SPACE where the partition was before. Highlight it once more, RIGHT-CLICK, select NEW and confirm your desire to continue. First, use the drop down box to select FAT32 as a file type. It defaults to the entire size of the usb thumb drive. Accept the remaining defaults and click the APPLY toolbar icon once more. The process is swift. Once completed, close the utility program. The UNPLUG then reconnect the usb thumb drive. A few moments later Windows will open a dialogue asking if you wish to view the contents. Double check the drive identification and close any windows that are open.
At this point, you have already created a hybrid iso or downloaded a distro iso file. If not, do so now. I advise you to select one that isn't too large, at least while learning. My instructions were originally for the purpose of adding persistence to the HYBRID ISO files created using Sparky-Backup-Sys tool or the Sparky-Backup-Core tool. I have tested this process and it works with Sparky default Distro ISO files.
Once downloading is complete, launch the Universal USB Installer, accept the disclaimer and open to the main screen. The top line is a drop down box. RESIST the temptation of selecting a specific name from the list. Scroll to the very bottom of the entire list. Locate and select the option Try Unlisted Linux ISO. The next line allows you to navigate and select the downloaded iso file you wish to use. The bottom line provides another drop downlist to select the usb thumb drive in question Mine was identified as Drive E: There is no need to check the Format option. This was taken care of in the Mini Tool. Simply click CREATE and confirm the procedure. Now wait until the process has completed. Please note: once the screen has indicated the process has completed, wait a short time to make certain the entire contents of data has been written to the thumb drive. Close the application, unplug and reconnect the usb device once again. Reboot your actual hardware to test your usb to make certain it boots as a Live OS without errors.
Until now, this process seems to have take a lot of time but the reality is that it was just because you were reading my post and following my instructions. The actual time taken so far has been brief. Remember, if your usb doesn't boot without issues, then persistence will never work. If if booted without any problems, restart your system once more and return to you regular desktop.
Launch the Mini Tool once more. Select the usb thumb drive partition listed at the bottom. RIGHT-CLICK to open the options menu and select RE-SIZE. When the action screen appears, use the mouse to select the slider and drag it to the appropriate size desired. For learning purposes, change it to 4.00 gigabytes. Then confirm and select the APPLY toolbar icon to perform the required procedure. after finishing, you will notice the unused space at the bottom created by the re-sizing procedure. Select the unassigned space, RIGHT-CLICK to open the options menu, the select NEW. Next select EXT4 from the file type drop down listing and then type the following label name in lower case. Make certain you spell it correctly as listed. persistence Accept your selections and APPLY once more to carry out the procedure. This particular step is the longest in the entire process. Be patient. I will happen in short order. Pnce completed, you will be presented with your usb device with two partitions, the re-sized FAT32 partition and the newly created EXT4 partition with the label name of persistence Close the Mini Tool. The hard work is now complete. (and that wasn't REALLY HARD, was it?) The final preparatory procedure is to use the Linux terminal to issues four easy commands. Once completed, then all you have to do is test the results.
I know I told everyone in my previous instructions NOT to use the LIVE OS to perform this next step but I have tested and confirmed that it works fine. Reboot your system and select your usb device from your boot menu. When you are presented with the Sparky Linux Grub Boot Loader Menu, make certain the top option is highlighted and then press your ESC key. You will be presented with a black screen with the following prompt. Enter the two words in lower case exactly as provided.
BOOT: live persistence (the words are separated by a space) Then press your ENTER key to start the boot process. The boot process will seem sluggish. This will pass later. Once you are presented with a working desktop, keep in mind this is a LIVE OS with SUDO privileges. First disable the screen saver in the Preference menu. Then open a terminal and make it full screen to eliminate distractions. Enter the following at the prompt.
$ sudo passwd root (press enter key) Type an easy to remember password for the ROOT user and press ENTER to confirm your choice. Once you have a new password for the ROOT user, enter the following.
$ su Press the ENTER key and type the newly created ROOT user password)
Now you are logged in as the super user and sudo is no longer needed. Type the following five commands, one at a time taking care to type them exactly as provided, space for space, character for chacter, lower case.
# lsblk (this command will identify the usb device identifier, mine was /dev/sdb)
/dev/sdb1 (partitions 1 & 2 created on the usb thumb drive)
/dev/sdb2 persistence (substitute your identifier if necessary)
# mkdir -p /mnt/usb
# mount /dev/sdb2 /mnt/usb (mounting EXT4 persistence partition to /mnt/usb)
# echo "/ union" >/mnt/usb/persistence.conf (persistence config file matches label name)
# umount /dev/sdb2 /mnt/usb (umount does NOT have an N in the command)
If you receive a message stating that the partition is not mounted, all is well in persistence land!
Close and reboot your system once more making certain to follow the previous instructions to press the ESC key and type live persistence at the boot options screen, same as the previous boot. You will notice some sluggishness because of initial system overhead communicating with the persistence.conf config file. Make some changes, add wallpaper, create a folder on your desktop, maybe launch the browser and bookmark web sites, change the home page etc., anything where your changes are different from the initial LIVE boot. Once done, wait a few moments to allow the system to save your changes, then reboot once again and doing the same as before by entering live persistence The system will start to perform more robustly. Once you are presented with the desktop, check to see if your changes are still there. If yes then
CONGRATULATIONS! Now all you have to do from this point forward is to boot with the live persistence boot parameter and your changes will be saved as long as the changes do not exceed the partition size allocated. Remember that your are using a usb thumb drive, not a hard drive so its size is limited.
ENJOY Persistence Nirvana!
Paul ( sasdthoh )