booting from usb pen drive

Andrew Latham lathama at
Sun Nov 23 17:27:22 EST 2003

the idea is that using a 32meg usb memory device to boot a system gives you now
moving parts, is cheap, is 3l33t. The WEBASDISK/x is cool but I am assuming
that they are not under $100USD.

--- Simon Hogg <seth at> wrote:
> > > > This could be a very elegant solution for booting diskless nodes, since
> > > > virtually every mobo made today has USB interfaces on it, and would
> save
> >you
> > > > the hassle of putting CDROM or Floppy drives out there.
> > >
> > > I'm not sure I'd be a fan of it.  On one hand, you could just have one
> > > usb pen drive that you use to boot all the nodes.  Nice in theory, but I
> > > really don't want to have to touch a slave node just to reboot it.
> >
> >I was thinking of a USB drive on each and every diskless node, not moving
> >the one drive around.
> >
> > > Other than that, you'd have a nice usb key sticking out of either the
> > > front or rear of all your machines like a sore thumb, and would be quite
> > > easy to accidently brush against and break/pull-out/snap-off in your usb
> > > port.
> >Only if you packaged it that way... Lots of mobos have USB ports that come
> >out to a header and they expect you to put a little adapter dohickey (which
> >can cost as much as the USB drive) to create the USB jack on the front
> >panel.  Leave the USB drive inside the case.
> >
> >In my specific case, I'm looking for a cheap, off the shelf diskless boot
> >solution that is compatible with having only wireless access to the node. My
> >application is almost embarassingly parallel (by deliberate design) and the
> >goal is to show that "useful work" can be done with power being the only
> >physical connection to each node.  So far, the CF/IDE adapter looks like a
> >winner...
> Forgive my intrusion, but I don't see why this approach is so very 
> different from having a disk (sure, it's a solid state disk, but still, 
> it's kind of a disk) and for all the messing with trying to install a usb 
> pen drive in each node, why not just stick a CD-ROM in it to boot from 
> (apart from size)? At least that's pretty much guaranteed to be read-only.
> But on a related note (and I *think* I have seen it on this list before) 
> how about the "WEBasIDE" little gubbins which provides TCP/IP over IDE.  It 
> even comes in a 2.5" disk form factor.
> URL is at 
> for 
> one of them, not sure if there are other developers out there, and I have 
> no idea of cost.
> Simn
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Andrew Latham -LathamA - Penguin Loving, Moralist Agnostic.

What Is an agnostic? -  An agnostic thinks it impossible to know the truth
in matters such as, a god or the future with which religions are concerned 
with. Or, if not impossible, at least impossible at the present time. - (lay-th-ham-eh) - lathama at - lathama at
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