Home Home > 2008 > 05 > 31 > Making openSUSE 11.0 LiveUSB : The Easiest (and Fastest) Way
Sign up | Login

Deprecation notice: openSUSE Lizards user blog platform is deprecated, and will remain read only for the time being. Learn more...

Making openSUSE 11.0 LiveUSB : The Easiest (and Fastest) Way

May 31st, 2008 by

LiveUSB desktop

In earlier post, I’m writing “How to build openSUSE LiveUSB with Kiwi” tutorial guide and thinking how to get same results with more easier tips. Another distro came with easy trick to make a bootable LiveUSB and I think openSUSE should be 😉 . Kiwi is a great tools for making openSUSE liveUSB, QEMU Image, VMWare Image, XEN Image and LiveCD Image but it would not fit with any situation.

I’ve search various topics and found some of them looks pretty interesting to try. After reviewing some tips, here is a tutorial guide to make openSUSE 11.0 LiveUSB with the easiest way :


  1. Tutorial can be used on Linux or Windows
  2. Do not need to install openSUSE onto hard disk for making LiveUSB as it was with KIWI. Just download the LiveCD ISO image and a tools for make an extract of ISO content (7-zip on Windows and mount -o loop tips on Linux)
  3. Can used FAT 32 file system for interoperability (marketing hype 😉 ) and mobility of data. Flash disk could be accessing by various OS
  4. Simple, only need a few step
  5. Fast process, required a few minutes for copying ISO image and initrd process


  1. Preparing USB Flash Disk, 1 GB or more
  2. If using Windows for making LiveCD, download latest version of syslinux
  3. Download modified initrd – called initrdud – from this link. (it’s free ftp server which deleted any contents every 2 week. You could find another location from my personal blog uploads folder). The modified initrd contains modification from LiveCD boot into LiveUSB boot and addon for NLS modules (code page and character set) for FAT32 file system on USB. NOTED : for openSUSE 11.0 GM, please used this initrdud instead. Take a look on this post for the reason.


  1. Run your Windows OS
  2. Plug in USB Flash Disk
  3. Extract syslinux on Windows folder
  4. Open DOS Prompt (Command Prompt)
  5. Navigate into win32 folder on syslinux folder
  6. run syslinux -ma driver-letter-of-flash-disk, eg : syslinux -ma E: if E is your USB Flash Disk. Note : The process need a few second to make a bootable USB disk with syslinux, so don’t wait the process finished for 1 minutes or more 😀
    1. Find your USB disk with df -h on konsole.
    2. Install syslinux and run syslinux /dev/sdx from konsole where /dev/sdx is your USB device
    3. If the above process failed for making bootable USB disk, try another tips


  1. Plug in bootable USB disk
  2. Create temporary folder for mounting LiveCD ISO Image mkdir liveiso
  3. Mount ISO image into specified folder mount -o loop openSUSE-11.0-RC1-KDE4-LiveCD-i386.iso liveiso/ (I’m currently using openSUSE 11.0 RC1 KDE. Make a proper changes to your ISO image)
  4. Copying all of liveiso content (mounted ISO content) into USB disk
  5. Copying all of content on boot/i386/loader folder into root folder of USB disk
  6. Rename isolinux.cfg on root folder of USB disk into syslinux.cfg
  7. copying initrdud into root folder of usb disk
  8. Make a few modification into syslinux.cfg, so, USB live will boot with initrdud. Make a change to this line : append initrd=initrd ramdisk_size=512000 ramdisk_blocksize=4096 splash=silent showopts into append initrd=initrdud kiwidebug=1 ramdisk_size=512000 ramdisk_blocksize=4096 splash=silent showopts kiwidebug=1 option will log any error while booting LiveUSB


  1. Boot your computer with USB HDD as top of boot device priority or make a hot boot change by pressing F12, F8, F9 or any key according to your computer
  2. While booting, just press ENTER on boot option. Typing Live-System as mentioned on boot message will failed 🙂 regarding kernel image

LiveUSB Sysinfo


Below are some LiveUSB installation screenshot.

LiveUSB Installation Screen

LiveUSB Installation Screen

LiveUSB Installation Screen


Thanks to Manivas for great idea & tutorial.


Coolo was discarded his experimental test for making openSUSE liveUSB. The above process should be fine and *I think* quite enough to provide openSUSE LiveUSB for 11.0 released. By automating overall process and making a nice GUI, it should be increasing openSUSE 11.0 features. (if you asked me, “Why don’t you create automated process tools by yourself”, my answer is : “Yes, I will. I just thinking that it may need a less than a day for experience openSUSE developers for making the tools rather than waiting my C++ & QT course finished 😀 )

In 10.3, it was need a month after official release of 10.3 on October 04, 2008 for releasing LiveCD version of openSUSE. With this experience, is this possible to make this features included on openSUSE 11.0 ?

Both comments and pings are currently closed.

35 Responses to “Making openSUSE 11.0 LiveUSB : The Easiest (and Fastest) Way”

  1. rhorstkoetter

    But with that approach we’ll have no persistent storage available. Is there any way to make use of the builtin aufs filesystem?

  2. John G.

    Worked swimmingly on my Eee, thanks!

  3. OMA

    Does this work with the 64-bit GNOME version? I’ve tried but I get errors when after loading the kernel

  4. v4mpiro

    Very useful, thanks!

  5. DaGringo

    Doesn’t work… used kde4 ISO and when booting I get error COULDN’T FIND USB IMAGE CONFIGURATION FILE and immediately afterwards something about a SHELL EXCEPTION. Any ideas? Would love a copy to take with me this summer on vacation so I can try to learn a little linux. Anybody want to help a newbie?

  6. Karl

    Great tutorial, but it would be wonderful if it included an initrdud for the official 11.0 release. I can’t get it to work with the RC 1 initrdud–it can’t find the usb drives.

    Perhaps you could add to the tutorial the method for creating the custom initrdud.

    Thanks a lot!

  7. earlycj5

    Hmm, I finally got a USB key that will boot but as noted above something isn’t working.

    It stops at “Waiting for USB device(s) to appear……………………….”

    Then it says “Failed to detect USB drive !” – which is silly it booted off of it?

    Finishes by dumping me at a not very useful terminal by saying “shellException: providing shell…”

    So all in all, no it does not appear to work. I really, really wish it would. I do not have a CD-ROM drive for my Mini-Note and would love to try it out. Making a live USB disk of Ubuntu is so easy. Really wish OpenSUSE were too. I got my hopes up when I saw this post, only to have them dashed by some shellException.

  8. FameWolf

    Why not just provide the modified initrdud instead of a bunch of steps people need to run? I realize the steps are important for those running x86_6 etc but I think the majority use the i386 livecd so their key will work on ANY intel pc.

    • Hi FameWolf,

      Did you read the article carefully ? 🙂

      I noticed this one on the article (and in this article too) :

      “Download the modified initrd file (called initrdud) from this link.”

      this link = http://opensuse.or.id/wp-content/uploads/2008/06/initrdud

      I also provide how to make the modified initrdud tutorial to everyone who need this step, maybe he want to modified initrd for another reason or for add another module 😉

  9. FameWolf

    Sorry..I see you did provide it..I misunderstood the new post to mean we had to apply those changes to the downloaded initrdud…just ignore previous post.

    It works wonderfully…now i’ll push my luck. 😉 I installed it to a 1 gb jumpdrive so I’ve got some space left…wondering if there is a way to create a persistant home so it would at least let us keep firefox extensions we use etc?

  10. Raffo

    The partition to which you are copying the files has to be marked active in order to boot. Otherwise the computer may fail to boot the stick.

  11. i got your tutorial, thank you bos.

  12. Trent

    Is this a true install of openSUSE 11 onto a USB drive, i.e. will installed programs and changed setting remain upon reboot?

    Sorry for the newbie question.

  13. Sonny

    Hi, I’m trying this tutorial because, for some reason, the openSUSE 11 i386 DVD, KDE4 liveCD, and internet install CD won’t boot on my box.

    I followed all the instructions and get the error “Operating System not found” when trying to boot.

    Should I try making the initrdud myself, might that make the difference? Any other suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks in advance.

    • Andy

      Hi there!

      I had a similar problem, and was able to solve it. In my case I think perhaps the hardware was too old so the BIOS could not find the boot information unless it was located near the beginning of the hard disk. So the solution in this case: shortly before actual installation begins, when you’re offered a “suggested partitioning”, which usually has three parts (swap, /, /home), edit by hand to add an extra partition. This extra partition should be created at the very beginning of the hard disk, 100 MB should be more than enough, and set it to mound /boot from there.

      Then continue with your installation as usual.
      Hope that helps,

    • condor1

      Hi , for this problem,
      I redo the syslinux stage on windows.
      After that, I get a file I didn’t have before (with syslinux on linux).
      Then I redo all other stage,
      Now that’s work.


  14. Ahmadinejad

    Just want to share, if you guys have already done all the above steps but the usb disk won’t boot, try to flag the usb disk as bootable. In my case, usb disk recognized as /dev/sdb1 so i would run “cfdisk /dev/sdb” ( without quote, off course ). Choose “bootable” from the menu and then choose “write” before you exit.
    Hope this helpful thanks.

    ( terima kasih mas vavai atas email opensuse nya -;) )

  15. daniel

    I have tried all this steps but the instalation failed to detect CD drive (I dont have one)
    and told me “shellException: providing shell…. and thats it no more opensuse….

    I have a TPadX61 – 64 bit and tried to install the opensuse 11.

    Any idea how to solve this problem?

  16. mixomix

    Same here.

    Failed to detect CD drive…

  17. Aubrely Bourke

    Hi, Ive tried following your instructions but it doesnt work.
    Im getting a syslinux error – cant find Linux image when I try to boot.
    What do I have to do to get it to work?


  18. //lizards.opensuse.org/2008/06/20/how-to-makeopensuse-110-gm-version-live-usb/

    That post worked for me, the initrdud in this post didnt load right

  19. Lincoln Lourens

    Ok, I’m a total noob, but I’m waiting on my MSI Wind and wanna scratch XP and just do OpenSUSE. I’m aware that Ubuntu would prolly be easier, but OpenSUSE seems better. Stupid stupid questions follow….

    How on earth do I determine if I’m trying to create a LiveUSB from the non-GM or the GM image? What does GM mean? Additionally, I can’t see the name of the text file in the URL, so if I’m trying to save the initrdvd for this, should I just right-click and “save-as”? And I’m making this using the LiveCD image, right? So 1 GB USB stick is good, right?

    What are command line commands to get this to all happen?

    4. Copying all of liveiso content (mounted ISO content) into USB disk
    5. Copying all of content on boot/i386/loader folder into root folder of USB disk
    6. Rename isolinux.cfg on root folder of USB disk into syslinux.cfg
    7. copying initrdud into root folder of usb disk

    Please bear with me, I’m trying…

  20. condor1

    Hi, thank for this job, it’s really great.

    One question, Is anybody know how to add a driver to this openSuSe Live USB ?

  21. Jon

    hi, thanks for the tutorial
    but i am having trouble as to mounting the USB with the command "mount -o loop openSUSE-11.0-KDE4-LiveCD-i386.iso liveiso/"
    i am running winXP and cd to f: (my flashdrive) then executed that command, but it gave me the following error message:

    "'mount' is not recognized as an internal or external command, operable program or batch file.".

    is there additional program needs to be installed? I am trying to create a bootable USB for the openSUSE 11.0 KDE4. Thanks for the great help.

    • Charles

      mount is not in your PATH, so either you are not root (try sudo mount …) or you have the wrong path (try su -l to become root)

  22. Tonny

    I did on your way, the usb-fdd is bootable, however, it fails to install and the error information is shown below:
    rebootException: error consloles at Alt-F3/F4
    rebootException: reboot in 120 sec

  23. Tonny

    there is no CD-ROM in my desktop, I did on your way, the usb-fdd is bootable, however, it fails to install and the error information is shown below:

    Fail to mount RW root filesystem
    rebootException: error consloles at Alt-F3/F4
    rebootException: reboot in 120 sec



  24. DnS

    Have the same problem with liveCD

    rebootException: error consloles at Alt-F3/F4
    rebootException: reboot in 120 sec

  25. ProNux

    Nice tutorial. I missed a few steps at first but I got it….

  26. vince

    for 4 days ive tried to make this work using this tutorial but i cant..

    here are my questions:
    1) how would you know the syslinux -ma g:(in my case) is successful and the usb may boot now?
    2) what OS are you using really during the processing of the image part? i dont remember windows got ‘mount’ command

    ive tried a couple of combination but im not successful.

    this is the straightest tutorial as i scour the net but i hope you can elaborate.

    further, it would greatly help for a total noob like me if you care to specify where are you (example: pc in windows c: prompt, in pc terminal or inside the usb already) when issuing commands.