Last Updated: 15 Oct 2017

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Author: dordal

Installing Parted Magic on a USB Drive

PartedMagic is an excellent tool for managing drives. It contains all sorts of tools for testing, cloning, erasing and repairing drives.

Ideally, you want to run PartedMagic from a USB flash drive, and there are instructions on how to do so on the PartedMagic site. However, those instructions didn't work for me, after trying a million things, I finally got a bootable USB. If you're having trouble, consider following this procedure.

Prerequisites

1. First, you're going to need a computer that can create and write to an ext4 filesystem on the USB. If you have a Linux machine lying around, that will probably work. The easiest thing I found was to simply burn the PartedMagic ISO to a CD, and then create the PartedMagic USB… from PartedMagic. (Yes, if you just need to use PartedMagic once, you can probably stop here and just boot it from the CD. I'm assuming you want to install it on a USB drive so you can use it on multiple machines, etc.)

2. Second, you'll need a USB stick. It needs to be at least 1GB in size ( as of Oct 2017 ), and if you're buying new, I'd recommend USB3.0, due to the increased speed. I had good luck with the Samsung USB 3.0 Flash Bar, which is small, inexpensive, and good quality.

Procedure

1. First, download the Parted Magic ISO. It's $9, and available from partedmagic.com.

2. Insert the USB into your Windows/Mac computer, and format it as FAT32 if it isn't already formatted. Copy the PartedMagic ISO file (e.g. pmagic_2017_03_14.iso) to the USB.

3. Burn the ISO file to a CD.

4. Boot your machine with the PartedMagic CD. PartedMagic will load into RAM, and then eject the disk when it's done.

5. Insert the USB and copy the PartedMagic ISO to the desktop. This will load the ISO into RAM on your machine, which you'll need since you're about to format the USB stick and delete the ISO file.

6. Open Gparted ( the disk partitioning utility ) and format the USB drive with an ext4 filesystem.

7. Navigate to your newly formatted USB drive in the File Manager. All you have to do is open the drive; you shouldn't see any files since it was just formatted. Doing this will mount it, which is necessary for the next step.

5. Open UNetBootin, and install PartedMagic onto the USB stick. To do this, you can follow the instructions on the official site, but the short version is you want to select the 'Disk Image' option, select the ISO, and create the USB. Select 'Yes to All' when it asks you if you want to overwrite some files.

6. That's it. You should now be able to reboot on your new USB stick. Don't forget to check the drive boot order in your BIOS if it doesn't work right off the bat.

I still don't know why the original install instructions didn't work for me, but formatting the USB drive as ext4 rather than FAT32 seemed to be what made the difference.

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