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The SSD of my laptop (Dell Latitude E7240) seems gone for now, and since I'm travelling I can't order a new one. I have a USB stick (16GB), a SD card (4GB) and a micro SD with SD adaptor (16GB) that I can use for storage and a operative system. My idea was to download a Linux ISO and boot it from one of my devices. I will use the laptop mainly for browsing internet, listen to music, edit pictures. I would like a persistent install, so I don't have to download every software that I need everytime and I can keep the same settings too. Also, I know that running a OS everytime from a USB/SD wear rapidly the device, is there a way to avoid it? Note: I am a linux beginner, so please explain me things in a simple way and don't get anything for granted. My questions are: 1) Which linux distro is better for me given the informations provided? 2) Which device should I use for booting it? 3) How to make a persistent booting? 4) How to prevent the wearing of the device?

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Light-weight Ubuntu flavour

  • I suggest that you select an Ubuntu flaour with a lighter foot-print than standard Ubuntu, Lubuntu or Xubuntu version 18.04.3 LTS.

In Linux

  • You can use mkusb in order to create the persistent live system automatically, if you have access to Linux.

    If you run standard Ubuntu live, you need an extra instruction to get the repository Universe. (Kubuntu, Lubuntu ... Xubuntu have the repository Universe activated automatically.)

    sudo add-apt-repository universe  # only for standard Ubuntu
    
    sudo add-apt-repository ppa:mkusb/ppa  # and press Enter
    sudo apt-get update
    sudo apt-get install mkusb mkusb-nox usb-pack-efi
    

From Windows

  • If you don't you can first create a live (live-only) drive using a tool in Windows,
  • and as a second step boot from it, install mkusb and create a persistent live system in [what I think is] the most reliable drive, the 16 GB USB pendrive. The card is more convenient, but may get worn out faster. By the way, it is probably possible to boot the card from the built-in card reader in your Dell Latitude E7240.
  • If you think that is too complicated, you can select Lubuntu or Xubuntu version 19.10 and make a persistent live drive directly from Windows according to this link and its subdirectory /persistent

Knoppix

An alternative is to get a Knoppix iso file (version 8.2 or newer). It is very easy to make persistent live: Clone it in Linux or Windows and when booting into the USB pendrive it will become persistent live automatically.


Booting

When booting your Dell Latitude E7240 you should tap the key F12 repeatedly, and you will get a temporary menu, where you can select the USB pendrive (or SD card).

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  • Sweet, tomorrow I will try Xubuntu 19 from Windows in a internet cafe. Do you have suggestions to limit the wearing of the USB stick? I will use it for a month at least... Nov 10, 2019 at 21:10
  • The method suggested from Windows in two steps (the second step with mkusb) will create an ext4 file system without journaling while the one-step method using HxD and Win32 Disk Imager will create an ext4 file system with journaling. Journaling increases the wear, so if you choose the one-step method you had better fix it with sudo tune2fs -O ^has_journal /dev/sdX3 from another Xubuntu system in a second drive (USB pendrive or SD card). And then that will also be a two step process.
    – sudodus
    Nov 11, 2019 at 7:16
  • ... or fix it with sudo tune2fs -O ^has_journal /dev/sdX3 when booted into the same drive with the boot option nopersistent. X should be replaced with the actual device letter for the persistent live drive.
    – sudodus
    Nov 11, 2019 at 12:48

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