So here's attempting to compile a list with information on USB flash drives, how they work with slax, and any additional steps needed to get them working.
This list is largely relying on everyone giving some input, so if you are using or have used slax on a USB flash drive, please post some details about the flash drive and how you got it working. Thank you!
Also note that due to the un-standardized nature of flash drives and other obstacles, the list will not have a very strict layout. I will insert quotes and links as I see fit in hopes of providing the best information.
Model: "DataTraveler" and "DataTraveler 100"
Info: http://www.kingston.com/flash/dt_chart.asp guttaslax wrote:
Kingston 1,2,4 gb datatraveler & datatraveler 100 tested OK for me (fat32 & boot). eviloatmeal wrote:
Tried a DataTraveler 2GB and it works, but I had a little trouble formatting / preparing the MBR with Windows. If you can, use some proper tools to set up slax (GParted and bootinst.sh is what I used). SanDisk
Model: "Cruzer Micro"
See second reply in this thread for details on removing U3 before installing slax. ( #postid34415 )
That's great, Kevin, it would be nice to know if you had to take any additional steps on any specific devices. By that I mean other than copying /boot and /slax, then running bootinst.
The list is mainly here to document what has already been tried, to streamline the process for others. Since this is a community effort there is no big company around to tell us which products are supported and which are not. =)
SanDisk Cruzer® Micro Skin USB Flash Drive 8GB works as it is. Just paste boot and slax and run bootloader. Comes formatted with FAT 32. It has a light on the end. This is the same manufacturer, but probably a different model from those already mentioned.
Verbatim Store'N'Go USB 2GB - OK
SanDisk Ultra II SD Plus USB 512MB 2GB - OK
SanDisk Extreme Ducati USB 4GB - OK
SanDisk Contour USB 4GB 8GB - OK (disable U3 if necessary)
Corsair Flash Voyager 8GB - OK
Corsair Flash Voyager GT 16GB - OK
Huawei E160G Flash Reader (part of 3G Modem USB) - Not Working
PNY Attaché 4GB FAT16 Slax 6.0.7
Kingston Data Traveler 100 - 4GB FAT16 Slax 6.0.9
Sony Micro Vault Click USM4GL - 4GB FAT16 Slax 6.0.9
All recognized by BIOS as USB-HDD
The PNY was formated in WinXP with HP formating utility, copied and installed slax (bootinst.bat) and booted as usb-hdd, no problem. For the other two sticks it didn't work, so I did some googling and found instructions in one Fedora howto ( http://fedoraproject.org/wiki/FedoraLiveCD/USBHowTo )
fdisk /dev/sdb (my device was sda, the partition - sda1)
Command (m for help): d
Selected partition 1
Command (m for help): n
p primary partition (1-4)
Partition number (1-4): 1
First cylinder (1-960, default 1):
Using default value 1
Last cylinder or +size or +sizeM or +sizeK (1-960, default 960): (960 for 8GB I guess, mine was 487)
Using default value 960
Command (m for help): t
Selected partition 1
Hex code (type L to list codes): 6
Changed system type of partition 1 to 6 (FAT16)
Command (m for help): a
Partition number (1-4): 1
Command (m for help): w
The partition table has been altered!
Calling ioctl() to re-read partition table.
WARNING: If you have created or modified any DOS 6.x
partitions, please see the fdisk manual page for additional
Delete the existing partition and create a new one. Then reformat the drive. Does it work then?
In many cases this is the easiest solution. I would say always try to use GParted first if you can, and if you don't have access to GParted or you can't make a live CD, try using the Windows tool. But this Windows formatting tool seems to do a very bad job of formatting.
Can [U3] be removed using Gparted. By deleting the partition and creating a new one, then reformatting the drive?
I don't think so. markds writes earlier in the thread about U3, and he seems to imply that it will still be there even after formatting the drive.
Personally I used the uninstall tools he linked and after doing this I did not even need to format the drive before installing Slax.
Well we are working to hammer out the optimal combination of info to help everyone have a smooth Slax experience. This is just the first step in improving our knowledge.
And obviously the assumption is not that flash drives alone are responsible, but rather that some drives may be more problematic than others and may require additional steps in the installation process (for example the U3 drives).
This list is an effort to get a general picture of what works well and what works less well.
I have also begun to draft some guides / tutorials:
That's just the reason. I believe it can work or fail depending on what you do.
As I can see on the web, the problems reported here are a very little part of the whole pendrive universe. One point: flash drives have a CHS geometry, a command or utility can alter it to achieve your needs, but you lose other features, or make it unusable (remember the thread about max size). You can retrieve a lot of other "secrets"; my impression is that most info are out of date, and related to drives less than 1GB, so unapplicable now. More, some of them are contradictory.
I know we can't write a FlashPedia, and this isn't the right place, but a few info about what to not do could avoid to manage biggest problems after the fault.
I also believe that external wiki, blog, whatever you want, isn't the right way to collect useful infos. This is the place, but we have no tools.
Maybe one can open a new thread, and edit the first (opening) message every time he gets a new interesting post appended to his thread.
So, an user can immediately find something useful on the top (at present this forum has 203 uncategorized pages, 20 threads each, and some of them with pages, pages, pages, and the solution is seven posts to the end).
Just my opinion.
I know we can't write a FlashPedia
Why not? Seriously? Why can't we write a Flash-pedia? That would be awesome. Obviously it would not necessarily be affiliated with Slax.
I also believe that external wiki, blog, whatever you want, isn't the right way to collect useful infos.
I respectfully disagree here. I think a wiki is a great addition to the slax forums, as long as it would be kept in one place, and not too much spread out.
After all, two websites is not that much considering the topic is an entire operating system, in my humble opinion. =)
No, you don't seem to disagree; you refer, like me, to an internal wiki, or a site related wiki, and our goal just is to not spread out knowledge. I quote myself: This is the place, but we have no tools.
look back at a post of mine for bicephale, some of the reasons are explained there. Who can verify contradictory infos, or test the software and flash drives? Or manage problems occurred in using tips?
Should we start the site with a
35 years in IT teached me every problem is also related to the single person who gets it. The web is full of funny stories, I've lived myself a lot of them. The solution if often in your hands, but the result depends on how your user applies it.
Maybe it's easier to write a cooking book (one of my dreams), but who knows, in the future...
Simply, if it's too difficult to maintain a site
showing what works with USB FlashDrives
then my guess is it's easier to make one
which warns the potential users against
what doesn't work...
I'm hard headed, so I'm testing some utilities for formatting and partitioning, and some other interesting tools.
Actually a jungle; almost every brand has it's own; more, every chicken unsatisfied of them wrote another very intelligent (or stupid) tool.
If I'll survive, I'll let you know.
PNY Attaché - 4GB FAT16 and FAT32; Slax 6.0.7 and 6.0.9
Kingston Data Traveler 100 - 4GB FAT16 and FAT32; Slax 6.0.9
Sony Micro Vault Click USM4GL - 4GB FAT16 and FAT32; Slax 6.0.9
APACER AH 320 - 2GB FAT32 ; Slax 6.0.9
All recognized by BIOS as usb-HDD
The fdisk under Linux environment works 100% by now for this usb sticks above, so I'm no longer using Windows tools (guess they mess the Kingston and the Sony sticks geometry somehow. I don't know? Any suggestions?)
With fdisk I also succeeded formating and booting from an old No-name usb 512KB (with a pharmaceutical company name on it)
The algorythm is the same as described in my previous post, the differences are the last cylinder count and the HEX code of the system type - "6" for FAT16 and "b" for FAT32
Feel like I'm joining the party a bit late but thought I might as well still add my bit as it could help people in choosing a flash drive. I thought I'd try a Delta drive as it was on offer, at first it worked fine but a few months down the line and I kept having trouble loading the data that was on it. From this I'd definitely tell people to be a bit weary when considering one of their drives.