Portable Fedora + UEFI = possible?
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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
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    Lightbulb [SOLVED] Portable Fedora + UEFI = possible? (Yes, partially)

    Hello,

    I would like to install Fedora 20 to a 32gb usb stick for portable use. My existing system is Windows 8.1 with secure boot. Trying to install to the stick from livecd (booted in uefi mode) results in unbootable Fedora - for some reason the installer is setting the ext4 /boot partition (not the fat /boot/efi) to the ESP, resulting in EFI bios not recognizing the stick as bootable (doesn't show in efi bios boot device selection). Using gfdisk and setting the proper types to each partition does not make it bootable either (setting boot to 8300 and fat /boot/efi to ef00). Is there any way to make Fedora boot via EFI from a USB stick?

    I realize I can do a less-than-portable installation to the stick using windows existing ESP - but I can't seem to find info on how to do this without nuking the windows boot loader - e.g. Fedora installer reformatting the ESP. Have looked at a lot of sites - maybe I'm not using the right keywords... "Fedora esp windows" turns up a lot of useless info. And, no, I do not want to install to a separate partition or repartition my primary disk - just to the usb stick.

    Thanks for any help - this forum rocks!

    G

    --
    Edit: I have a sabertooth 990fx r2.0 motherboard - it recognizes certain usb devices at boot time, but not usb sticks. The solution is to enable "Legacy USB support" and "Legacy USB 3.0 support" to get usb sticks recognized at boot time.

    Also, the UEFI bootloader is not recognized on the FAT16 partition anaconda creates - the workaround, and less than portable solution, is to use custom partitioning and select the windows ESP as /boot/efi. Now it BOOTS! Finally!
    Last edited by galalleni; 29th October 2014 at 01:46 AM. Reason: Obscure motherboard UEFI/USB problem

  2. #2
    Join Date
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    Re: Portable Fedora + UEFI = possible?

    I am very interested in making a portable EFI bootable USB stick as well. Did you ever get this to work in a truly portable way so that you could simply boto from it on any computer?
    Does anyone else have any ideas?

  3. #3
    Join Date
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    Re: Portable Fedora + UEFI = possible?

    I recall that Ubuntu on a USB stick could have a 'persistant partition' where data could reside: https://www.howtogeek.com/howto/14912/create-a-persistent-bootable-ubuntu-usb-flash-drive/

    I frankly don't see any reason why the same couldn't be done with Fedora. I frequently use a live session(am in a live session right now) and can access my online storage, or a storage drive within the computer I'm using.

    I've been interested in the concept of creating a live OS with the software apps that I like, installed already. Debian had such a project, see this thread: http://www.debe17.com/web_pages/dean...apr08.php.html .

    There isn't any evidence of recent activity on this or projects like this. Maybe there is a toolkit to do the same in Fedora...?
    Server:Supermicro X9DRD-7LN4F-JBOD | (2) Xeon E5-2670 | 32GB DDR3 ECC Registered |Ubuntu -16.04 LTS
    Desktop: Asrock 79 ext4 | Intel Xeon E2650 | 16GB DDR3 1600 | Fedora 28
    Laptop: Dell Inspiron I5 7567 | Intel Core i5 |8GB RAM |GTX 1050 | Ubuntu -16.04 LTS

  4. #4
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    Re: Portable Fedora + UEFI = possible?

    I've done a full installation to a usb flash drive a couple times. But Fedora 20 is quite old and may not have all the secure boot stuff available.

    To make the usb, I first booted a live CD making sure to boot the live CD in uefi/secure boot mode on the computer. I then put the blank target usb in another usb slot and simply installed from the live usb "install to hard disk", making sure to use the correct target drive. The Fedora installer seemed to take care of setting up all the EFI/secure boot shim.

    ymmv
    ======
    Doug G
    ======

  5. #5
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    Re: Portable Fedora + UEFI = possible?

    Quote Originally Posted by Doug G
    I've done a full installation to a usb flash drive a couple times. But Fedora 20 is quite old and may not have all the secure boot stuff available.

    To make the usb, I first booted a live CD making sure to boot the live CD in uefi/secure boot mode on the computer. I then put the blank target usb in another usb slot and simply installed from the live usb "install to hard disk", making sure to use the correct target drive. The Fedora installer seemed to take care of setting up all the EFI/secure boot shim.

    ymmv
    Interesting, I really hope it'S actually that easy.
    Have you tried booting this stick from other computers? Especially on computers that already have another OS installed in UEFI/EFI mode already?

  6. #6
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    Re: Portable Fedora + UEFI = possible?

    I just dug out that usb stick, and I it has a full xfce spin installation of Fedora 24. I just booted it in a Dell w/dual boot W7 / Fedora 28 by selecting the BIOS boot menu, selecting the UEFI Sandisk entry that appeared, and it booted F24 from the flash drive just fine. Secure boot is off on this computer but UEFI boot is on.

    I then put it in a Lenovo with dual boot W10 and Fedora 28, secure boot on. Also from the BIOS boot menu, select the sandisk and voila, boots fine.

    This flash drive will not boot on older non-UEFI computers or in newer ones set to legacy mode. What I haven't figured how to do is to add a protected MBR with an available MBR bootloader. I know it can be done, Fedora live xfce images will boot in either MBR or UEFI/Safe Mode properly, and I'm able to boot live images on any of the machines I have, older MBR only or newer UEFI only.

    So, it WAS that easy for me.
    ======
    Doug G
    ======

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