Creating the media
Parted Magic's OS is the same whether it is in the form of the LiveCD
or the LiveUSB. Depending on your interests or hardware configuration,
booting Parted Magic either from CD or USB will be more suitable than
the other. Creating the bootable media is a relatively simple process,
and it is the aim of this section of the Documentation to help in that
Creating the Parted Magic LiveCD
Creating the Parted Magic LiveUSB
Creating the Parted Magic LiveCD from the ISO file:
Parted Magic can be created with almost any program that supports creating a CD from a disc image. Begin with downloading the image file "partedmagic-x.x.iso" from the partedmagic.com Downloads page, and have a recordable-CD on-hand (using a CD-RW media is best, in case a mistake is made during this process or you care to use the disc over again). For this example, we'll use the Windows application, and popular choice for creating CD media, Nero. Many people will simply write or burn the "partedmagic-x.x.iso" file to CD. That is incorrect; and after burning the disc, if the only file on the CD is "partedmagic-x.x.iso", then toss the CD-R in the garbage (or erase the CD-RW) and please follow these instructions:
1) Start Nero and select "Disc Image or Saved Project".
2) From the Open window, select the downloaded Parted Magic ISO file. (If you are using an older version of Nero, make sure you select "All Files" from the "Files of type: " drop-down menu.)
3) Confirm the "Destination drive: " selected to burn the media, and then click Next. (Do not change any settings in Nero, unless you know what you are doing.)
4) If you are using a CD-RW and it is not erased, then erase it now. "Quick-erase" should work just fine.
5) Burning the Parted Magic disc image should take about 5 minutes (depending on the speed of your drive), and the CD will be ejected after the burn process is complete.
Exit from Nero, and the Parted Magic LiveCD is now ready to boot.
Creating the Parted Magic LiveUSB:
These instructions will help Linux and Windows users alike with the simple task of creating the Parted Magic LiveUSB. And for the purpose of this example, the target USB media will be a single, primary-partitioned drive.
1) From partedmagic.com, download the file "partedmagic-usb-x.x.zip", and extract it to a local folder using Windows' 'Compressed (zipped) Folders', or similiarly, '7-Zip' (another fine, Open Source project), and 'unzip' if using Linux.
2) Most USB drives ship FAT16-formatted. If the USB drive is not FAT16 or FAT32, it must be formatted as such (your choice between the two), or the SYSLINUX boot loader will not work. You do not have to erase the files you have on the USB drive to use Parted Magic. If you do have existing data on the USB drive, not to worry - it won't get in the way. Do make sure though to have 40 MB of free space available on the drive's partition where you will install Parted Magic.
3) From the folder used to store the contents extracted from the zipped Parted Magic file, copy the files to the USB drive.
4) Make sure your USB drive is flagged "boot". Linux users can enable this flag by using options provided by 'parted' or 'GParted'. Instructions for Windows users will be provided in subsequent steps.
5) To be able to boot from the LiveUSB, a boot loader for Linux operating from a FAT filesystem is required. With Parted Magic being Linux-based, and the intended media's filesystem being FAT, the Open Source project SYSLINUX will answer to this requirement. While most, if not all, Linux distros come with this already available, Windows users will need to obtain a copy. A zipped-executable copy of SYSLINUX can be downloaded using the following URL: http://www.kernel.org/pub/linux/utils/boot/syslinux/
6) To prepare to use SYSLINUX, find out what the OS-assigned name is for the USB drive attached to your system. In Windows, make note of the respective drive letter; and in Linux, use the command string 'fdisk -l' (or some other program) to list connected devices and partitions.
7) For this example, let's say that the USB drive is assigned by Windows the drive letter "E:", or alternatively, identified as "/dev/sda1" in Linux. Use these commands to install the SYSLINUX boot loader on the target USB drive:
In Windows, open a command prompt, and type:
syslinux.exe -ma E:
(The -m and -a options are used together here to write a MBR to the USB drive, and to mark its partition as active. Effectively, flagging the drive with "boot".)
In Linux, and with the USB drive unmounted, type:
8) Verify that a system file named "ldlinux.sys" is now located at the root of the USB drive; this is the file SYSLINUX creates when the above command executes. (Windows users may need to change Explorer's 'View Options' to show "hidden files and folders" and "protected operating system files", in order to see the file.)
For reference, the specific version of the SYSLINUX boot loader
installed on the USB drive can be obtained by the following:
2) After 'USB Operations' begins, your computer will be scanned for possible USB devices. Pick the device you wish to use and press OK.
3) In the next step, you will be asked if you would like to 'Create the Parted Magic LiveUSB' or 'Run only the syslinux command'. The option 'Create the Parted Magic LiveUSB' automatically creates the Parted Magic LiveUSB from the LiveCD or can create a second LiveUSB while running from the Parted Magic LiveUSB. The option 'Run only the syslinux command' simply updates the boot loader on the USB drive to use the same version of SYSLINUX that Parted Magic uses, though more so (and conveniently), serves as a GUI alternative to syslinux's command line-based execution. In this document, we will be creating the Parted Magic LiveUSB from the LiveCD. Now press 'Continue...'.
4) Select the partition to create the Parted Magic LiveUSB. If you already have files on the USB drive they will not be deleted, but a pre-existing version of Parted Magic LiveUSB WILL be overwritten. Caution!!!: The boot loader (and the syslinux configuration file, if it exists) on the USB drive will be overwritten by the SYSLINUX set-up for Parted Magic. If you do not want this to happen and need to preserve your current boot loader or syslinux configuration file, then pick Cancel and instead use a manual method [Method 1] to copy the Parted Magic files to the device's partition.
5) After selecting OK, then the creation of the the LiveUSB begins.
6) Parted Magic's OS files are copied to the USB drive and SYSLINUX creates the boot loader. The file manager opens a window displaying the newly-created, Parted Magic LiveUSB. If everything was completed successfully, you may now reboot the system with your shiny, new Parted Magic LiveUSB. (Note: Keep reading if you experienced any errors.)
End of process; and the Parted Magic LiveUSB is ready to boot.
Error 1) Not enough disk space. Make sure there is at least 40MB of free space on the selected partition. If this partition already contains the Parted Magic LiveUSB, the disk space check is skipped and the Parted Magic files are overwritten.
Error 2) Parted Magic's 'USB Operations' needs files from the Live Media to re-create itself on the selected USB drive. While running from RAM, the Live Media is basically taken away from the system. Key files, like the Linux kernel and syslinux boot loader files, can no longer be accessed. This can be fixed by simply returning the LiveCD or LiveUSB to the original CD/DVD tray or USB port. When 'USB Operations' is restarted, the media is mounted in a temporary location and the files are retrieved. After completing, the LiveCD/USB can again be removed from the drive's tray or connecting port.