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Useful tool for Windows users (relevant also for Linux users)

posted 12 Aug 2015, 01:50 by Ian MORRISON   [ updated 5 Mar 2016, 20:44 ]

Ever needed to create a short document but don't have 'Word' installed? Perhaps wanted to make a quick backup of your Windows partition but haven't got any suitable software handy? Or maybe just fix that annoying bootloader issue that's cropped up after you tried to install another OS? 

Well the solution is surprisingly simple.  Create a small partition on your internal storage and copy an Ubuntu LiveCD to it. It will automatically create a bootloader option so booting is easy.  Then you can use 'dd' to make a copy of your Windows, Recovery and even Bootloader partitions for safekeeping. You'll have the full LibreOffice suite already available for instant access. By installing 'efibootmgr' you can quickly correct discrepancies between bootloader entries and NVRAM. You've even got the 'shell' so scripting is at your finger-tips! 

No more frustration of wanting to boot Linux from a LiveCD but can't find the USB you created with it on. Or loosing valuable storage space for a dual-boot option you'll never use regularly.

Okay, so there's a learning curve in order to set this up, but it is not a difficult as first seems. Here are all the required steps and you can use 'google' on each command for more information and helpful examples. Start by booting into Windows and shrink your C: drive by 1536MB using 'disk management' to create the small partition.  Next download an Ubuntu LiveCD (for example 'https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B99O3A0dDe67MWptY01KazZOMWM') and create a bootable USB from it using 'Rufus'.  Now boot from the USB and create a 'fat32' file system on the new small partition using 'gparted' (let's assume it is '/dev/mmcblk0p5'). Then from a 'terminal' session, sudo to root ('sudo su -'), mount the new small partiton ('mount /dev/mmcblk5 /mnt') and copy across the LiveCD ('cp -a /cdrom/.disk /mnt && cp -a /cdrom/* /mnt'). All that's left to do is tidy up and reboot ('sync && sync && umount /mnt && reboot').  You should now see a new UEFI bootloader option in your boot menu which is the new small partition storing the LiveCD. You can also remove the USB as you are finished with it. Remember if you are booting using a 32-bit bootloader (e.g. the one used for Windows) you won't get sound as you'll need to boot using a 64-bit bootloader (e.g. the one used for Ubuntu on the ICS). Also as this is a LiveCD there is no persistence; everything will be just like new each time you boot from it. Finally you can even use it to install Linux if needed. Enjoy!
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Ian MORRISON,
12 Aug 2015, 01:50
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