How to boot or install Fedora Linux on your laptop or computer from a Thumb Drive

Now that you can install any Windows OS from your thumb drive as per my instructions in How to install Microsoft Windows from your USB Drive, lovers of Linux Distributions such as Ubuntu Linux or Fedora Linux are possibly a little jealous. “What about us?” you impassioned plea plaintively craving knowledge. These alternative OS are built using the Linux Kernel Developed by Linus Torvald and are among the most stable, virus-unfriendly and robust OS in the world. Linux is especially great for:

  • Reviving older Computers and Laptops
  • Removing viruses from a hard-drive and removable storage devices
  • Safe surfing and shopping online

I actually use Fedora Linux myself! I personally use Fedora Linux for Virus cleaning in my work as noted in my article HP and Web OS – 2011 is the Year of the Linux on PC. It’s actually a recommendation of mine to mount Fedora Linux or boot up from your CD-ROM Drive then surf and shop online securely with your Scotia VISA Debit Card as recommended in How to use Scotia VISA Debit Card Online.

I’m a very big fan of using Linux Distributions or Distros for short, due to their inherent stability and security as maintained by the thriving Software Developers who are members and contributors to Open Source Community. Many flavours of Linux Distros such as Fedora Linux, Ubuntu Linux or Puppy Linux exist. In this article I’ll be using Fedora Linux in a basic tutorial on running or installing a Linux Distro from a Thumb Drive is inevitable.

This as there are benefits to having such a Thumb Drive handy that are very much in tune with having Windows 7 or Windows XP installable via Thumb Drive:

  • Like using CD-ROM, it’s a great way to try out a Linux Distro without actually installing the OS
  • Faster installation times due to faster read/write times from a USB Drive
  • More portable form factor
  • Less Susceptible to damage, both physical and software
  • Erase-ability of USB Drive means that it can be reused for other purposes
  • Cab be used as a diagnostic tool in case Microsoft Windows refuses to boot to check memory

If you were able to install Windows 7 or Windows XP on your Thumb Drive as per my instructions in How to install Microsoft Windows from your USB Drive, then you’re quite overdue for yet another DIY (Do It Yourself) to occupy your weekends! First, you’ll need:

  • 4GB USB or Thumb Drive
  • Computer or Laptop with a CD-ROM Drive free of malware or viruses
  • A fresh downloaded copy of Fedora Linux Desktop
  • A fresh downloaded copy Universal USB Installer
  • A pen and paper for writing down details
  • Tech-savvy friends within arms reach!

To download the above Fedora Linux distribution, it’s best to use the LiveCD List, which lists all currently available Linux Distros in the Open Source community. Google is also good to search for the other software using the search string “Download [name of the software]” in Google. In downloading Fedora Linux, the geeky Software Developers who contribute to the Open Source Community muddle have made the process very user-unfriendly by presenting you with several choices to make as it relates to your Linux Distribution:

  • The OS Word size i.e. 32-bit or 64-bit
  • The Processor Type, be it AMD64 or i368 (Intel Processors)
  • The Type of Desktop, be it GNOME Desktop or KDE Desktop
  • Download as a CD ISO or DVD ISO

Choosing the OS Word size depends on if your Computer of Laptop is 32-bit or 64-bit and if your processor is AMD64 or i368 (Intel Processors), all of which you can ascertain using CPU-Z to identify your Processor and Motherboard as per my helpful article How to use CPU-Z to Identify Processors. Good to note at this point that there are two (2) types of Desktop appearance for Linux, which is purely cosmetic and totally up to you:

  • GNOME Desktop – looks a lot like an Apple Desktop
  • KDE Desktop – looks a lot like a Windows 7 Desktop

As for the download format, again this is dependent on how long you can tolerate waiting for the download as well as the size of your Thumb Drive. ISO is merely a compression format for data akin to *.tar or *.zip for compressed archives. For the purposes of this article and ease of installation and booting from your Thumb Drive, choose the KDE Desktop and CD ISO. Albeit you can boot you computer or PC using any Linux Distribution, I chose 32-bit KDE Desktop Fedora Linux as it’s the Desktop environment with which I am most familiar.

Armed with these choices, an eye for reading websites and a helpful computer-savvy friend nearby while online, you can safely proceed to download the Fedora Linux OS of your choice from their website link chosen from the LiveCD List. After you’ve downloaded everything needed on the list, here are the instructions to follow:

  1. Install the Universal USB Installer and accept the license agreement
  2. Select Fedora from the drop-down list.
  3. Browse and select the Fedora ISO file you just downloaded.
  4. Select the drive letter of the USB flash drive you wish to install Fedora
  5. Check the Check Box for the option to format the USB flash
  6. Ensure that the persistent file size is set to 0MB
  7. Click the Create button.
  8. Confirm the details of the install then click the Yes button

To run or install Fedora Linux from the USB Thumb Drive, the instructions are simple enough:

  1. Set your computer’s BIOS to boot from USB devices. This may take some help from the tech-savvy friend beside you reading this
  2. Insert the USB flash drive into a USB 2.0 port
  3. Restart the computer and watch it boot to the installer boot menu.
  4. At the installer boot menu, select “Run Fedora from this USB” to run
  5. At the installer boot menu, select “Install Fedora from this USB” to run
  6. When Fedora reaches the desktop, you can use Firefox browser to access the Internet

That’s it!!! Happy DIY on the Weekend folks, as you’ll love this complementary Thumb Drive that goes so well with your Windows 7 or Windows XP Thumb Drive for those days when your computer decides it’s going to give you a hard time. Here’s the link(s):


The Live CD list

Universal USB Installer

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Lindsworth is a Radio Frequency and Generator Maintenance Technician who has a knack for writing about his work, which is in the Telecoms Engineering Field. An inspired writer on themes as diverse as Autonomous Ants simulations, Power from Lightning and the current Tablet Wars.