Requirements for bootable USB stick

Requirements for bootable USB stick

For the OpenFOAM training courses we provide each participant with a live OpenFOAM/Linux installation on a USB memory stick. Each participant can boot either a training room computer or their personal laptop directly from the stick, which contains the operating system and personal files they create. The computer/laptop internal hard drive and native operating system are not used. In order to run the operating system on the USB stick successfully, the following requirements must be met.

The computer BIOS must support booting from USB
Most computer hardware supports booting from USB (certainly hardware/BIOSes less than 5 years old). This can easily be checked under Boot Devices in the BIOS, where ”booting from USB” must be enabled (if disabled, a system password may be required to enable). In addition, the BIOS must be able to boot the stick as a general external USB hard drive. This is often labelled in the boot options as USB-HDD. Other options, such as USB-ZIP or USB-FDD will not generally work; the BIOS must have USB-HDD.
Computer memory (RAM)
The live operating system occupies a reasonable amount of system RAM and some of the course exercises are quite memory intensive RAM. Therefore the computers generally require 1Gb of RAM to run the course successfully.
Graphics card
The live operating system contains a variety of graphics card drivers to work on most hardware without installation of additional drivers. To help ensure the bootable sticks operate effectively, it is useful to know the make and model of graphics card in the computers, so we can check driver compatibility ahead of the course.