I recently set up an installation of Linux Mint Maya 13.2 on a USB stick. I set it up with UNetBootin (http://unetbootin.sourceforge.net/). When this sets up the drive, it makes a "regular" partition and a persistence partition to enable the install to persist between reboots (i.e. to not just act like a DVD).

Within the installation, I've run out of space. The drive is 14.64 GiB in total, and when I do df -h in the install, I see this:

$ df -h
df: `/cow': No such file or directory
Filesystem      Size  Used Avail Use% Mounted on
rootfs          4.0G  3.8G     0 100% /
udev            1.2G  4.0K  1.2G   1% /dev
tmpfs           465M  988K  464M   1% /run
/dev/sdb1        15G  5.0G  9.8G  34% /cdrom
/dev/loop0      869M  869M     0 100% /rofs
/cow            4.0G  3.8G     0 100% /
tmpfs           1.2G   16K  1.2G   1% /tmp
none            5.0M     0  5.0M   0% /run/lock
none            1.2G  144K  1.2G   1% /run/shm

rootfs seems to be what I have available to use. /dev/sdb1 is the usb drive. I'm not sure what's happened to the "persistence" partition.

When I set it up, I allocated 10G (the maximum allowed) to the persistence partition, thinking that this would be where all my data, files etc would be stored so I'd better make it have the majority of the space. However, it looks like everything that I'm doing (installing, copying over etc) is using up the smaller partition, which is around 4 GB.

Hmm, I thought, maybe I should change it so that the persistence partition is smaller, and give more space to the "main" partition. So, I looked at the drive in gparted in a different computer, and saw this:

gparted looking at the drive from a different computer

which looks like it's all one big partition. If I run gparted inside the problem OS, I see the same thing.

Can anyone advise how I can give myself more space?

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    1 fat32 partition looks normal to me for a liveUSB. If you want a real linux installation on the drive, UNetbootin is not what you are looking for, you will have to do the installation manually. – switch87 Jul 30 '15 at 8:48
  • That doesn't sound like good news @switch87 - would you mind explaining what you mean by "real" and why UNetbootin isn't up to the task? – Max Williams Jul 30 '15 at 8:52
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    UNetbootin is a program to make a liveUSB, or with other words liveDVD on a stick, it is a read only system, everything you do on it vanishes after reboot.It is a 1 fat32 partition, the other partitions are created on your ram – switch87 Jul 30 '15 at 9:09
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    I don't know if this would be better, but try dd the image and use GNOME Disks to create a partition from the remaining space. – McSinyx Jul 30 '15 at 9:17
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I'm answering my own question because this is a bit too long for a comment. I've fixed this, but it involved wiping out all my changes and starting from scratch.

I basically followed "Method 0" from this page, https://wiki.ubuntu.com/LiveUsbPendrivePersistent, which involves removing a file called casper-rw, which stores the persistent changes and is limited in size to 4G due to the FAT32 file system (which sets a maximum file size of 4GB), and replacing it with a new partition labelled casper-rw, which is ext2 (can be ext3 or ext4 but I did ext2 as that was the default which gparted came up with.) The install seems happy with the replacement, and now df -h says I have 14GB available in my main working partition.

So, like I said, this involved losing all my changes so far, but I'm now starting again with a 14G usable persistent space in my USB install.

  • 1
    Thanks for posting an answer! Just so you know, answering your own question is completely fine and even encouraged. It would also be great if you could remember to come back and accept this as soon as the system allows you to. – terdon Jul 30 '15 at 11:06
  • Thanks - i will wait to see if someone comes back with a solution which doesn't wipe out my existing changes, since that would be even better :) – Max Williams Jul 30 '15 at 11:20

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