linux en Long Time Windows Trojan Trots Over to Linux <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/computer_penguin.jpg" alt="Penguin Computing" title="Penguin Computing" width="228" height="171" style="float: right;" />Variants of the Turla Trojan for Windows has been found on Linux systems</h3> <p><strong>Security researchers have discovered at least two Linux-based variants of a Trojan that for years has been infecting Windows systems</strong>. Dubbed "Turla," the Trojan has been around for four years or more and has infected hundreds of Windows machines in use at government institutions, embassies, military facilities, educational institutions, and research and pharmaceutical companies.</p> <p>According to <a href="" target="_blank"><em>TechNewsWorld</em></a>, security outfit Kaspersky Lab discovered the two variants running on Linux. One is a C/C++ executable statically linked against multiple libraries and stripped of symbol information, presumably so it would difficult for researchers to reverse engineer. Details of the second variant haven't been released by Kaspersky.</p> <p>These are highly sophisticated malware samples that appear to have come from Russia. Some researchers believe they're government funded, which would make sense given the institutions they've been targeting.</p> <p>The Turla sampled described above is based on a proof-of-concept backdoor malware that has been around for several years. It provides remote access to systems without showing an open port at all times -- a trick it accomplishes by using a sniffer to capture packets.</p> <p>The Linux Turla can also hide itself without elevated priveleges as it runs arbitrary remote commands. That means it will still function as intended even if a regular user with limited privileges launches it.</p> <p>Image Credit: <a href="" target="_blank">Flickr (adam.hartling.ns)</a></p> <p><em>Follow Paul on <a href="" target="_blank">Google+</a>, <a href="!/paul_b_lilly" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, and <a href="" target="_blank">Facebook</a></em></p> linux malware Security Software Trojan turla News Wed, 10 Dec 2014 18:41:03 +0000 Paul Lilly 29069 at Fedora 21 Arrives in Three Different Versions <!--paging_filter--><h3>The first Fedora release influenced by the initiative</h3> <p><strong><img src="/files/u69/fedora_21.jpg" alt="Fedora 21" title="Fedora 21" width="228" height="111" style="float: right;" />Fedora 21 is now available to the general public</strong>, representing the first OS release to come out of the initiative, which emphasizes increased modularity and flexibility that go beyond the desktop. It's a new vision for Fedora, in terms of the way it's developed and the types of users it's targeting, and with Fedora 21 come three different variants -- Fedora 21 Cloud, Fedora 21 Server, and Fedora 21 Workstation.</p> <p>"With Fedora 21, we are able to address specific use cases across the desktop, the server room and the cloud, bringing to light new developer tools, enabling specific server roles, and providing a powerful, lightweight host for containerized applications," said Matthew Miller, Fedora project leader.</p> <p>Though the three variants take aim at meeting specific user demands in different areas, each one is built from a common base set of packages -- they contain the same Linux kernel, RPM, yum, systemd, and Anaconda. In other words, the foundation is the same, even though they spread their wings in different directions.</p> <p>Fedora 21 Cloud provides images for use in private cloud environments, like OpenStack, and Amazon Machine Images for use on Amazon Web Services. It also has a base image to enable creation of Fedora containers.</p> <p>The Server version introduces three new technologies to handle the management and installation of discrete infrastructure. They include Rolekit (provides a Role deployment and management tooklit for admins), Cockpit (web-based user interface for configuring, managing, and monitoring servers), and OpenLMI (remote management system built on top of Distributed Management Taskforce -- Common Information Model for scripting management functions across machines).</p> <p>Finally, Fedora 21 Workstation offers a streamlined software installation, experimental Wayland support, and DevAssistant to automate the setup process for a larger number of language runtimes and integrated development environments.</p> <p>You can find out more about each one <a href="" target="_blank">here</a>.</p> <p><em>Follow Paul on <a href="" target="_blank">Google+</a>, <a href="!/paul_b_lilly" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, and <a href="" target="_blank">Facebook</a></em></p> fedora 21 linux open source operating system OS Software News Tue, 09 Dec 2014 18:18:14 +0000 Paul Lilly 29061 at China Plans to Replace All Windows Machines with Linux Rigs by 2020 <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/linux_penguin_0.jpg" alt="Linux Penguin" title="Linux Penguin" width="228" height="240" style="float: right;" />It's a "de-Windowsifying movement"</h3> <p>Most of the mainstream angst directed towards Windows 8 and 8.1 in the U.S. has to do with the Modern UI and little things like the lack of a Start menu. But while hopes are high that Windows 10 will be the OS everyone wanted Windows 8 to be, China's concerns run much deeper than the UI. As such, <strong>China reportedly plans to undergo a "de-Windowsifying" process in which its systems will be move to a state-endorsed version of Linux by 2020</strong>.</p> <p>"We call this a de-Windowsifying movement," Computer Science Professor Ni Guangnan of the Chinese Academy of Engineering <a href="" target="_blank">told <em></em></a>.</p> <p>The 75-year-old professor went on to discuss his plans to bring together China's homegrown OS developers in an alliance to replace Windows within the next few years.</p> <p>"Now is the most vulnerable time for Microsoft in China, and the best time for homegrown software companies to beat it," Ni added.</p> <p>So far the effort has the support of 15 OS developers. None of them can take on Windows by going at it alone, but China's hope is that by pooling their talent and resources, they can rid the country's reliance on Microsoft's OS. It's also worth noting that China recently banned the use of Windows 8 on all government PCs due to spying concerns.</p> <p>"At the end of the day, I expect the 15 operating systems to merge into one or two operating systems, while the rest of the developers can shift into providing other relevant services," Ni said.</p> <p><em>Follow Paul on <a href="" target="_blank">Google+</a>, <a href="!/paul_b_lilly" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, and <a href="" target="_blank">Facebook</a></em></p> china linux operating system OS Software Windows windows 8 News Fri, 31 Oct 2014 15:43:26 +0000 Paul Lilly 28823 at Humble Bundle Celebrates Surpassing 100 Linux Games Milestone <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/tower_of_guns.jpg" alt="Tower of Guns" title="Tower of Guns" width="228" height="128" style="float: right;" />Linux ports leave little to "Wine" about</h3> <p>It's no longer absurd to build a gaming box around Linux. Sure, there are still far more titles available for Windows, but between solutions like Wine and a growing concerted effort to support the open source platform, the situation is improving at a faster rate than ever before. Valve deserves kudos for promoting Linux through Steam, and surprise, surprise, <strong>Humble Bundle is fast becoming a pioneering force with over 100 games having been ported to Linux</strong>.</p> <p>Humble Indie Bundle 13 includes three Linux titles -- Insanely Twisted Shadow Planet, Risk of Rain, and Tower of Guns -- which pushed the number of its in-house ports to triple digits.</p> <p>"If you didn’t already know, we’ve been hard at work to help bring great indie titles to as many people as possible. In order to do so, we’ve worked with a couple of talented porters - including our own full-time in-house porter - to bring these typically single-platform games to other platforms like Mac and Linux," Humble Bundle stated in a <a href=";utm_campaign=659e279b6d-Humble_Indie_Bundle_13&amp;utm_medium=email&amp;utm_term=0_990b1b6399-659e279b6d-101065609" target="_blank">blog post</a>.</p> <p>Humble Bundle is best known for helping find an audience for independent game developers by offering up their titles free of DRM and at whatever price gamers feel like paying for certain titles. But they're also a driving force in pushing Linux as a viable platform for games.</p> <p>Linux users seem appreciative of Humble Bundle's efforts too, as they pay on average $1 more than Mac users and $2.60 more than Windows users.</p> <p>By the way, you can pick up <a href="" target="_blank">Humble InDIE Bundle 13 here</a>, and if you pay more than the average of $6.73 (at the time of this writing), you'll unlock Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs, Jazzpunk, and four copies of Risk of Rain. A payment of $12 unlocks Shadowrun Returns.</p> <p>If you don't feel like spending anything, hit up the Humble Bundle link anyway and claim your free copy of Teleglitch: Die More Edition.</p> <p><em>Follow Paul on <a href="" target="_blank">Google+</a>, <a href="!/paul_b_lilly" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, and <a href="" target="_blank">Facebook</a></em></p> games humble bundle linux Software News Wed, 29 Oct 2014 13:18:11 +0000 Paul Lilly 28806 at Canonical Marks 10 Years of Ubuntu With Release of 14.10 Utopic Unicorn <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="" alt="Ubuntu Utopic Unicorn " title="Ubuntu Utopic Unicorn " width="228" height="216" style="float: right;" /></h3> <h3>A rather drab affair</h3> <p><strong>Popular Linux distro Ubuntu recently turned 10</strong> and Canonical could think of no better way to celebrate the milestone than with the release of a new version of the operating system. Okay, maybe not. To be honest, Utopic Unicorn (codename) isn’t in any way a celebratory release. On the contrary, it might well be one of the least ambitious Ubuntu releases in recent memory — at least on the desktop front.</p> <p>Unlike its predecessor <a href="" target="_blank">14.04&nbsp; LTS (Trusty Tahr)</a>, Utopic Unicorn is built on Linux kernel 3.16. Further, there’s a new version of the Mesa graphics library and the latest stable version of GNU Compiler Collection (GCC). Also contained in 14.10 are a number of updated packages like Firefox 33, Thunderbird 33 and LibreOffice, etc.</p> <p>It is clear from the <a href="" target="_blank">lack of new features</a> in this latest release that <a href="" target="_blank">bringing the first Ubuntu smartphone to market before the year is out</a> has, for now, become the number one priority for Canonical. The good news on that front&nbsp; is that the company says it is “on track to have Ubuntu phones in the market this year.”</p> <p><em>Follow Pulkit on <a href="" target="_blank">Google+</a></em></p> canonical distro gnome linux OS Software ubuntu 14.10 unity 7 Utopic Unicorn News Mon, 27 Oct 2014 05:06:21 +0000 Pulkit Chandna 28782 at Linux Bash Bug Poses Security Threat, Gets Compared to Heartbleed <!--paging_filter--><p><strong><img src="/files/u69/linux_bash.jpg" alt="Linux Bash" title="Linux Bash" width="228" height="171" style="float: right;" />Here we go again</strong></p> <p><strong>Security researchers have discovered a major security bug in the Unix shell known as Bash</strong> (Bourne-again shell), one of the most commonly used utilities in Linux and one that could potentially affect a great number of Unix and Linux web servers. By exploiting the newly discovered vulnerability, an attacker can take complete control of the system and/or execute shell commands that could make a server vulnerable to even more threats.</p> <p>The bug is such that an attacker would need a high level of system access to do any real damage, though according to <a href="" target="_blank">Red Hat</a>, remote attacks are possible through "certain services and applications." Patches are needed to fill in the security hole and eradicate the bug, but since it's been present in enterprise Linux software for so long, that's no easy task, <a href="" target="_blank"><em>The Verge</em> reports</a>. That said, Red Hat, Fedora, Ubuntu, and others have already released patches, and Apple is working on a fix for Mac OS X.</p> <p>Some security experts, including Errata Security's Robert David Graham, have compared the Bash bug to <a href="" target="_blank">Heartbleed</a>. Graham went so far as to say it's "probably a bigger deal than Heartbleed" because of all the software out there that's vulnerable -- cataloging it all would be a nightmare, if not an impossible task.</p> <p><em>Follow Paul on <a href="" target="_blank">Google+</a>, <a href="!/paul_b_lilly" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, and <a href="" target="_blank">Facebook</a></em></p> bash linux Security Software unix News Thu, 25 Sep 2014 15:30:48 +0000 Paul Lilly 28604 at ARChron Hack Brings Android Apps to Chrome for Linux, OS X and Windows <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="" alt="ARChron" title="ARChron" width="228" height="151" style="float: right;" /></h3> <h3>Theoretically, almost any app can be ported</h3> <p>When Google first announced Chrome OS in 2009, among the few people who were polite enough to not dismiss it outright, and predict for it either a stillbirth or an early demise, were those who saw a merger with Android as its ultimate fate. Of course, let alone a full-blown merger, we have yet to see substantial interplay between the two platforms. The best we have seen, all these years down the line, is the <strong>ability to run a grand total of four Android apps on Chrome OS</strong> — and that too is a very recent development. Even now, Google is only working with “a select group of Android developers” and is unlikely to bring more than a handful of mobile apps to Chrome OS in the near future. Well, that’s what hacks are for, right?</p> <p>A developer named Vlad Filippov (a.k.a Vladikoff) has not not only figured out a <a href=";utm_source=pulsenews" target="_blank">way to run virtually any Android app on Chrome OS</a>, he has also found a way to do so using the Chrome browser on major desktop OSes like OS X, Linux and Windows. To this end, he has released a custom version of <a href="" target="_blank">App Runtime for Chrome (ARC)</a>, the Native Client-based Chrome OS extension that enables Android apps to run on Chrome — the APK needs to be converted into a Chrome extension. Unlike ARC, which is only compatible with Chrome OS,&nbsp; the hacked version called <a href="">ARChon</a> can be used to run Android apps inside the Chrome browser. As for converting APKs into Chrome extensions, the Toronto-based developer has released a tool called “<a href="" target="_blank">chromeos-apk</a>”.</p> <p>Follow Pulkit on <a href="" target="_blank">Google+</a></p> app runtime for chrome apps archron chrome chrome os hack linux nacl native client OS OS X Software Windows News Mon, 22 Sep 2014 06:54:08 +0000 Pulkit Chandna 28578 at Canonical Rolls Out Ubuntu 14.04 <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="" alt="Trusty Tahr Ubuntu 14.04 LTS" title="Trusty Tahr Ubuntu 14.04 LTS" width="228" height="128" style="float: right;" /></h3> <h3>Move over Precise Pangolin and Windows XP, Trusty Tahr is here</h3> <p>The Ubuntu team recently announced the release of what is only the fifth long-term support (LTS) version of the popular Linux distro. In keeping with the current <a href="" target="_blank">Ubuntu release cycle</a>, this latest LTS release, dubbed Ubuntu 14.04 “Trusty Tahr”, comes two years after the last one.</p> <p>One look at the accompanying <a href="" target="_blank">release notes</a> is all it takes for one to realize that Trusty Tahr is as much about burnishing existing functionality as it is about paving the way for, as Canonical put it in its <a href="" target="_blank">press release</a>, “true convergence across desktop, phone and tablet.” Although Ubuntu Touch 14.04, notable for being the first to support the tablet form-factor, is still not a supported release and only available as a separate download from the desktop flavor, Canonical’s ultimate aim is to combine the two.</p> <p>"Full convergence means that the same code for operating systems and applications will be running on all types of devices, from phones to tablets to desktops, and even both smaller and larger devices," Ubuntu’s engineering VP Rick Spencer told <a href="" target="_blank">ArsTechnica</a> in a statement. "Convergence is still a work in progress, and we will continue to move the code to the desktop as it is ready in each release."</p> <p>According to the company, the first commercially available Ubuntu tablets, whenever they become available, will be based on 14.04 LTS. As for those of you who just can’t wait any longer, you’ll be happy to note that you can <a href="" target="_blank">install the latest version of Ubuntu Touch on the Nexus 10, Nexus 7 (2013) and Nexus 4 right now. </a></p> <p>Ubuntu 14.04 LTS, which includes version 3.13 of the Linux kernel, also packs a number of improvements on the desktop front, including support for high-DPI screens, the option to choose the application menu position, a redesigned application spread, and some new window decorations.</p> <p>All in all, Canonical feels, 14.04 LTS has enough to be a good replacement for Windows XP. Here’s what Canonical CEO Jane Silber said in a press release: “The 14.04 LTS release offers a solid, intuitive experience which is easy to manage. It is a viable and affordable alternative for those organisations considering a switch from Microsoft, and specifically those <a href="" target="_blank">replacing XP</a> or Windows 7 as they come to the end of life.”</p> <p>“Ubuntu 14.04 LTS is the first long-term support release with support for the new 'arm64' architecture for 64-bit ARM systems, as well as the 'ppc64el' architecture for little-endian 64-bit POWER systems. This release also includes several subtle but welcome improvements to Unity, AppArmor, and a host of other great software,” the Ubuntu team wrote in a recent blog post.</p> <p>Follow Pulkit on <a href="" target="_blank">Google+</a></p> canonical linux open source operating system pc Software tablets trusty tahr ubuntu 14.04 windows xp News Sun, 20 Apr 2014 23:44:37 +0000 Pulkit Chandna 27663 at PC Gaming is in Rude Health, Concludes PC Gamer PAX East Panel <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="" alt="PAX East PC Gamer Panel " title="PAX East PC Gamer Panel " width="228" height="128" style="float: right;" /></h3> <h3>Panel discussion delves into the future of PC gaming</h3> <p>Our sister publication <a href="" target="_blank">PC Gamer</a> on Friday convened a <strong>star-studded, four-man panel at the ongoing Boston PAX East conference to discuss the future of PC gaming</strong> (see video below). The starry quartet, comprising Nvidia director of technical marketing Tom Petersen, Oculus VR founder Palmer Luckey, PlanetSide 2 creative director Matt Higby and Star Citizen creator Chris Roberts, touched on a wide range of issues, including the prospects of streaming games and Microsoft’s role in the future of PC gaming.</p> <p>The first thing to come up for discussion was the rise of cloud-based streaming games and its implications for traditional gaming. Nvidia’s Tom Petersen was of the view that the general direction of PC gaming’s evolution is towards it becoming a “much more cloud-oriented experience,” with both public and personal cloud game streaming gaining in popularity in the future.</p> <p>The panel moderator, Evan Lahti (US editor-in-chief of PC Gamer), evoked widespread laughter from those in attendance when he jokingly asked Petersen if he was suggesting that people “won’t have to buy a graphics card in the future.” Meanwhile, Luckey and Roberts were equally unconvinced. Identifying latency associated with remotely rendered games as a major deal breaker, Roberts, an avowed 4K aficionado, said he as a PC gamer wants the best experience possible and that is something he doesn’t see cloud gaming delivering anytime soon.</p> <p>The panel then proceeded to discuss some of the obstacles to delivering better gaming experiences on the PC. According to Higby, overcoming hardware fragmentation remains one of the biggest challenges from a developer’s standpoint. However, he also credited this variety — a byproduct of the immense control PC owners wield over their hardware — for making the PC a truly special gaming platform. </p> <p>The PlanetSide 2 dev then broached the topic of piracy, noting that it continues to decline as digital distribution becomes more widespread. Others on the panel concurred, attributing the decline to the fact that it is now becoming more convenient to buy a game than to pirate it. Of course, the lesser the piracy, as Higby put it, “the more you can run a company off of the games you’re making.” Speaking of the <a href="" target="_blank">economics of PC gaming</a>, Petersen pointed out that it is currently estimated to be a $24 billion a year industry.</p> <p>As soon as Lahiti asked the panel if they thought PC gaming would continue to be essentially Windows gaming, Luckey quipped, “Yeah, don’t you remember Games for Windows Live?” This prompted a discussion on Microsoft’s contribution to PC gaming.&nbsp; While Petersen and Rogers lauded Redmond for some of things it is doing with DX12, the general consensus was that it needs to do a lot more to prevent gamers from abandoning Windows for Linux.</p> <p><iframe src="//" width="620" height="360" frameborder="0"></iframe></p> <p><em>Image Credit: PC Gamer </em></p> <p>Follow Pulkit on <a href="" target="_blank">Google+</a></p> dx12 linux nvidia oculus rift Palmer Luckey PC gaming pcgamer personal cloud gaming star citizen steamos streaming games News Mon, 14 Apr 2014 00:30:41 +0000 Pulkit Chandna 27622 at Maxthon Browser Extends Reach into Linux Territory <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/maxthon_linux.jpg" alt="Maxthon for Linux" title="Maxthon for Linux" width="228" height="225" style="float: right;" />Now Linux users can run Maxthon, too</h3> <p>Over the years, the Maxthon browser (formerly known as MyIE2 way back in the day) has spread its reach beyond Windows and into different platforms, including the Mac and three mobile OSes: Android, iOS, and Windows Phone. Wondering where the love for Linux is at? You don't need to wonder anymore, because<strong> you can now download 32-bit and 64-bit versions of Maxthon for Linux</strong>.</p> <p>The Linux version retains Maxthon's popular features, such as Magic Fill (AES 256-level encrypted password and user account prompt), mouse gestures, easy tab management, 'Restore Last' button, extensions, and more.</p> <p>"The addition of Linux takes our core value proposition - high performance, independent, multi-platform browsing - one step further," <a href="" target="_blank">said Karl Mattson</a>, VP of Maxthon's International Division. "Desktop computing is evolving beyond the one-OS-to-rule-them-all dynamic and as that develops, Maxthon will be right there offering high performance alternative web browsers on the platforms that matter."</p> <p>If you want to give it a spin, you can download Maxthon for Linux (as well as other platforms) from <a href="" target="_blank">here</a>.</p> <p><em>Follow Paul on <a href="" target="_blank">Google+</a>, <a href="!/paul_b_lilly" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, and <a href="" target="_blank">Facebook</a></em></p> browser Internet linux maxthon online Software News Thu, 27 Mar 2014 15:59:24 +0000 Paul Lilly 27522 at Torrent-based Streaming App Popcorn Time to Stage Comeback <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u46168/popcorn-time.jpg" alt="Popcorn Time is a torrent-based movie streaming app for PC, Linux and Mac" title="Popcorn Time" width="228" height="143" style="float: right;" /></h3> <h3>Torrent site YTS takes over development of the controversial app</h3> <p>Started as a small experiment by “a bunch of geeks from Buenos Aires”, Popcorn Time emerged out of nowhere on the tech media’s radar earlier this month, earning itself such flattering appellations as the “Netflix for pirates” and attracting scores of collaborators from all over the globe on Github. Despite initially displaying remarkable equanimity in face of <strong>questions over the cross-platform, BitTorrent-based movie streaming app’s legality</strong>, Popcorn Time’s creators did something very unexpected on Friday by abruptly shutting it down.</p> <p>But before the digital ink could dry on their <a href="" target="_blank">farewell rant</a>, torrent site YTS (formerly YIFY-Torrents) announced that it wasn’t going to let the open source project die, picking it up from where the Argentinian developers left off.</p> <p>“The YTS team will now be picking up the Popcorn Time project and continuing on like previously. We are in a better position copyright wise as for us, because it’s build on our API, it’s as if we have built another interface to our website. We are no worse off managing the project than we would be just supplying the movies,” YTS developer Jduncanator told <a href=";utm_source=pulsenews" target="_blank">TorrentFreak </a>Saturday.</p> <p>“It’s our vision at YTS that we see through projects like these and that just because they create a little stir in the public, it doesn’t mean they are shut down. That stir is exactly what the public needs and it’s already evident that people are becoming more aware of copyright-related issues.”</p> <p><em>Image Credit: New Startups</em></p> <p><em style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-size: 14px; vertical-align: baseline; background-color: #ffffff; color: #000000; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-variant: normal; font-weight: normal; letter-spacing: normal; line-height: 21px; orphans: auto; text-align: start; text-indent: 0px; text-transform: none; white-space: normal; widows: auto; word-spacing: 0px; -webkit-text-stroke-width: 0px; background-position: initial initial; background-repeat: initial initial;">Follow Pulkit on&nbsp;<a style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-size: 14px; vertical-align: baseline; background-color: transparent; color: #cc0000; text-decoration: none; background-position: initial initial; background-repeat: initial initial;" href="">Google+</a></em></p> linux Mac movies open source pc piracy Popcorn time Software streaming torrent streaming app torrents yts News Sun, 16 Mar 2014 22:46:23 +0000 Pulkit Chandna 27450 at The Ultimate USB Thumb Drive Toolkit <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u154082/usb_thumb_drive.jpg" alt="usb thumb drives" title="usb thumb drives" width="250" height="173" style="float: right; margin-left: 5px; margin-right: 5px;" />Five ways to put your collection of neglected USB thumb drives to good use</h3> <p>Although they were once considered expensive luxuries to most users, <strong>USB thumb drives</strong> have become nearly as ubiquitous as the now defunct floppy disk. Thumb drives of all shapes and sizes are currently sold at corner drug stores, freely disseminated at trade shows, and even given out as digital business cards. Thumb drives are so commonplace now that it’s not unusual for PC users to have amassed huge collections of drives that, for the most part, do little else but sit around collecting dust. We speak from experience.</p> <p>Though some of the drives you’ll have lying around are likely to be small in terms of their usable capacity, that doesn’t mean they’re useless. Even thumb drives with capacities of only a few megabytes can still come in handy for creating things like bootable DOS disks, which can be used to flash the BIOS on an older motherboard or graphics card, or even bootable disks with a full-blown HTPC operating system.</p> <p>We’re going to cover a number of handy projects in this article that’ll help put those neglected thumb drives to good use. Before we continue, though, a word of caution: All of these projects will destroy the data stored on the drives. If there’s anything important on them, back it up before attempting any of the projects listed here. You’ll be happy you did—trust us on this one.</p> <h4>Create a Custom Windows Install Disk</h4> <p><strong>Speed up and minimize the hassle of installing Windows</strong></p> <p>Many of us have installed Windows more times than we can count. Whether it’s for building or testing a new system or repairing an older rig, installing Windows can be a regular occurrence. With more recent versions of Windows, the installation process has become more streamlined, but it can still be a chore, especially if you’re using optical media and have to manage multiple discs and product keys for all of the different versions that are available. Thankfully, there’s a faster and easier way to do it using a USB thumb drive.</p> <p>There are a number of ways to create and customize a Windows installation disk. We’re going to outline one of the easiest methods here using Microsoft’s own Windows 7 USB/DVD download tool (the same process works with Windows 8, too) and a bit of simple file editing. When done, you’ll have yourself a customized Windows installation disk that can install any edition of Windows—like Home Premium and Ultimate or Windows 8 and Windows 8 Pro—and it won’t require a product key during the installation process. There are much more involved methods for customizing a Windows installation disk, which can also give users the ability the incorporate applications and drivers and even pre-configure many settings, but for most enthusiasts, the method we’ll outline here should still come in quite handy.</p> <h4>Gather Your Materials</h4> <p>Before you begin, you’ll need to have a USB thumb drive with a capacity of at least 4GB (larger is better if you want to store other files on the drive), ISO files for Windows 7 or 8 (a Google search will lead you to a legitimate source for the ISO you need, such as Digital River), a copy of Microsoft’s Windows 7 USB/DVD tool (download here: <a href=""></a>, and, of course, a PC running Windows to complete the process. Note that the Windows 7 USB/DVD tool requires the .NET Framework to be installed on your machine, so you may need to install that, as well.</p> <h4>Install Files to Drive</h4> <p>Once you’ve got your ISO file(s) handy, connect the thumb drive to your system, note its drive letter, and then install and run the Windows 7 USB/DVD tool. On the initial screen, you’ll be prompted to browse for your Windows ISO file. Click the Browse button, navigate to wherever you saved the ISO, click the Open button, and then click Next. On the subsequent screen, you’ll be asked to choose your media type. The Windows 7 USB/DVD tool can create a bootable DVD or USB device. Since we’re focused on thumb drives here, click the USB Device button. On the next screen, choose your thumb drive from the drop-down menu and then click the Begin Copying button. The Windows 7 USB/DVD tool will format and prep the thumb drive and then copy over all the necessary installation files automatically.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><a class="thickbox" href="/files/u152332/usb-tool_small_0.jpg"><img src="/files/u152332/usb-tool_small.jpg" alt="Microsoft’s Windows 7 USB/DVD tool can prep a thumb drive and copy the installation files over in just a few simple steps." title="USB" width="620" height="327" /></a></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><strong>Microsoft’s Windows 7 USB/DVD tool can prep a thumb drive and copy the installation files over in just a few simple steps.</strong></p> <p>When the Windows 7 USB/DVD tool is done doing its thing, close it, and you’re technically finished and ready to go. However, by default, the installer will only offer the option to install whichever version of Windows was designated by the ISO used to create the drive (Home Premium, Ultimate, etc.). Windows 7 and 8’s image-based installation method is capable of installing any edition of Windows (within the same family) with a bit of tweaking, though.</p> <h4>Edit Your ISO File</h4> <p>If you created a Windows 7 install drive, insert it into your PC and browse to the \sources\ directory. In that directory, delete the file named ei.cfg. With Windows 8 the process is a bit different. Create a simple text file named ei.cfg (or edit the one you have if it is already present) with the following contents:</p> <p>[Channel]<br />Volume</p> <p>[VL]<br />1</p> <p>Save the file and you’re done.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><a class="thickbox" href="/files/u152332/ei-cfg_small_0.jpg"><img src="/files/u152332/ei-cfg_small.jpg" alt="Deleting or editing the ei.cfg file in the \sources directory on a Windows installation disk will allow different versions of Windows to be installed using the same med" width="620" height="138" /></a></p> <h4>The Results</h4> <p>So, how much time can you save installing Windows from a USB thumb drive? When using a USB 2.0 flash drive, it took Windows 7 Ultimate x64 six minutes, 14 seconds to go from the “Windows is loading files” prompt to the “Completing installation” prompt on a Core i5 Dell laptop equipped with a 128GB SSD. Performing the same test with a USB 3.0 drive resulted in a time of only five minutes, 49 seconds. When timed using the Windows 7 installation DVD, however, the same process took 13 minutes, 51 seconds. That’s a big time savings, especially if you find yourself installing Windows often. Store all of your favorite applications and most commonly used drivers on the thumb drive as well, and you can have them all installed right away, too, without having to swap a single disc.</p> <p><em>Click the next page to read about how you can take your apps on the go with you.</em></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <hr /> <p>&nbsp;</p> <h3>Take Your Apps on the Go</h3> <p><strong>Portable apps let you use any PC without leaving a trace</strong></p> <p>By far, one of the handiest things to do with a USB thumb drive is to create a mobile workspace, loaded up with portable apps. If you’re unfamiliar with portable apps, they’re essentially self-contained versions of programs that work entirely from their installation directory and don’t leave any trace on the host PC. Once configured, you can take your thumb drive loaded up with portable apps anywhere, plug it in, and all of your favorite applications and data will be right there waiting for you.</p> <p>Portable versions of popular applications are freely available from many developers’ websites. Technically, all that’s required to use a portable app is to download and install/run it right from a thumb drive. If you’d like to have a wide assortment of portable apps available, however, managing them all can get a bit unruly, since you can’t simply create a directory of shortcuts—the shortcuts break if the thumb drive’s drive letter changes. But that’s where the PortableApps Platform comes in.</p> <h4>Enter PortableApps</h4> <p>The PortableApps Platform is an easy-to-use launcher for managing and running portable apps. To use it, download the tool from <a href=""></a> and install it to your thumb drive. While on the site, you can download a wide array of portable apps too. Install the portable apps to the thumb drive as well, and when you run the PortableApps Platform (by double-clicking the Start application on the root of the drive), all of your apps will be listed in a Start-Menu-like launcher.</p> <p>Some of our favorite portable apps are Firefox, FileZilla, 7-Zip, OpenOffice, and GIMP. For the most part, if there’s a popular open-source desktop application available, there’s a portable version of it out there, too.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><a class="thickbox" href="/files/u152332/port-apps2_small_0.jpg"><img src="/files/u152332/port-apps2_small.jpg" alt="The PortableApps launcher gives you easy access to all of your portable apps from a single interface." title="PortableApps" width="450" height="635" /></a></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><strong>The PortableApps launcher gives you easy access to all of your portable apps from a single interface.</strong></p> <h3 style="text-align: left;">Install a Dedicated HTPC OS<strong>&nbsp;</strong></h3> <p style="text-align: left;"><strong>Use OpenELEC on a thumb drive for media duties</strong></p> <p style="text-align: left;">There’s a lot of debate among home theater PC enthusiasts. Some prefer their HTPCs to be Jacks-of-all-trades that run Windows and are as adept at playing movies as they are at running desktop applications. Others prefer their HTPCs to be simple boxes that are strictly for multimedia playback. <strong>&nbsp;</strong></p> <p style="text-align: left;">Well, why not have both?<strong>&nbsp;</strong></p> <p style="text-align: left;">The Open Embedded Linux Entertainment Center, or OpenELEC, is a tiny Linux distro that leverages XBMC (formerly known as the Xbox Media Center) and can be run right from a bootable thumb drive (or any external drive, for that matter). With OpenELEC, your HTPC’s internal drive can boot whatever OS you like, but should you choose to go the streamlined route, you can boot from the OpenELEC- equipped thumb drive and quickly access your media.<strong>&nbsp;</strong></p> <h4 style="text-align: left;">Get OpenELEC<strong>&nbsp;</strong></h4> <p style="text-align: left;">If you’d like to give OpenELEC a try, point your browser to <a href=""></a> and download the distribution that best matches your hardware. There are versions for AMD APUs, Intel processors, and Nvidia Ion-based platforms—among many others—with file sizes of only 80–125MB. Once you’ve got the distro downloaded, decompress it into a folder, and connect the thumb drive you’d like to use to your PC—it can be as small as a few hundred megabytes.<strong>&nbsp;</strong></p> <p style="text-align: left;">In the folder where you’ve decompressed OpenELEC, you’ll find a file named create_livestick. Double-click it, and follow the onscreen prompts to prep the thumb drive and install OpenELEC. The process requires only four clicks: two to start the installation and accept the license agreement, a third to select the thumb drive (which should be automatically identified), and a fourth to finalize the installation.<strong>&nbsp;</strong></p> <p style="text-align: left;">When the OpenELEC installation is done, connect the thumb drive to your HTPC and boot from it. On the initial splash screen you’ll be asked to either install it to the PC or run the live edition right from the flash drive. Run the live edition and configure XBMC to your liking and you’re good to go.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><a class="thickbox" href="/files/u152332/openelec-1_small_0.jpg"><img src="/files/u152332/openelec-1_small.jpg" alt="OpenELEC includes a utility to prepare a bootable thumb drive containing the OS." title="OpenELEC" width="600" height="468" /></a></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><strong>OpenELEC includes a utility to prepare a bootable thumb drive containing the OS.</strong></p> <h3 style="text-align: left;">Create the Ultimate USB Boot Drive<strong>&nbsp;</strong></h3> <p style="text-align: left;"><strong>Arm yourself with the tools to meet any PC emergency</strong></p> <p style="text-align: left;">Every PC tech, amateur, or pro needs a boot disk in their arsenal jam-packed with various apps and utilities for recovering files and passwords, scanning for malware or disk defects, taking disk images, and myriad other essential tasks. There are a handful of excellent options to choose from, but few offer as extensive a line-up of applications as Hiren’s Boot CD.<strong>&nbsp;</strong></p> <p style="text-align: left;">Hiren’s Boot CD, available at <a href=""></a>, started its life as a less-than-savory tool rife with pirated software. But the developers have since gone legit and replaced all of the pirated apps with excellent freeware alternatives. The Hiren’s Boot CD ISO is meant to be burned to a disc so it’s write protected and insulated from malware, but it can also be written to a thumb drive using a couple of freely available utilities. <strong>&nbsp;</strong></p> <h4 style="text-align: left;">Prepare Your Drive</h4> <p style="text-align: left;">To create a bootable thumb drive with Hiren’s Boot CD files, you’ll need a drive with a capacity of at least 1GB, a copy of the Grub4DOS Installer (also available at, the Hiren’s Boot CD ISO, and if you’re on Windows 7, a utility like WinRAR or 7-Zip to extract the necessary files from the ISO (Windows 8 can mount ISO files natively, so you won’t need a separate utility). Once you’ve got everything gathered up, connect your thumb drive and format it using the FAT file system (right-click the drive in File Explorer and choose Format from the menu), to ensure the drive is free of any data. Then run the Grub4DOS Installer utility as an administrator. In the program window that opens, click the Disk radio button and then select your thumb drive from the adjacent drop-down menu. Then, hit the Refresh button next to the Part list drop-down menu and select Whole disk (MBR) from the associated drop-down. Hit the Install button at the bottom of the interface to install the Grub4DOS universal bootloader to your thumb drive—it’ll only take a couple of seconds<strong>.</strong></p> <h4 style="text-align: left;">Populate Your Drive<strong>&nbsp;</strong></h4> <p style="text-align: left;">Once you’ve got the Grub4DOS bootloader installed, the next step is to copy all of the Hiren’s Boot CD files over to the thumb drive. Extract the files from the ISO (or mount it if you’re on Windows 8) and copy all of the files and folders to the thumb drive. When all of the files have been copied over, navigate to the HBCD folder on the drive and copy the grldr and menu.lst files within the HBCD folder to the root of the drive. Once the grldr and menu.lst files have been placed on the root of the drive, it’s ready to use.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><a class="thickbox" href="/files/u152332/boot-cd-1_small_0.jpg"><img src="/files/u152332/boot-cd-1_small.jpg" alt="To prep your drive, format it first to ensure it is clean and free of data." title="Boot 1" width="300" height="522" /></a></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><strong>To prep your drive, format it first to ensure it is clean and free of data.</strong></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><a href="/files/u152332/boot-cd-2_small_0.jpg"><img src="/files/u152332/boot-cd-2_small.jpg" alt="You’ll need to install the Grub4DOS bootloader to your thumb drive before it’ll run Hiren’s Boot CD." title="Boot 2" width="400" height="631" /></a></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><strong>You’ll need to install the Grub4DOS bootloader to your thumb drive before it’ll run Hiren’s Boot CD.</strong></p> <p><em>Click the next page to read about how to troubleshoot and boot from the USB.</em></p> <p><em>&nbsp;</em></p> <hr /> <p>&nbsp;</p> <h3 style="text-align: left;">Troubleshooting: Booting from USB<strong>&nbsp;</strong></h3> <p style="text-align: left;">All modern systems should offer the ability to boot from a USB drive, barring some corporate PCs that may have security measures in place to prevent it. Should you have problems booting from a USB drive on your personal system though, there are a few things that could be at play. First, check that your system is configured to boot from the USB drive. Connect the drive, restart the system, enter the BIOS (usually by hitting Del or F2 during the POST), and under the Boot menu make sure the USB drive is being recognized and that it is first in the boot order. On many systems, you can usually hit F11 or F12 during the POST to load a one-time boot menu as well, and select the USB drive there. You may also have to enable the option to boot from USB, depending on your motherboard manufacturer.<strong>&nbsp;</strong></p> <p style="text-align: left;">If none of that works, there’s also a chance there’s an incompatibility between your drive and a third-party USB controller. Plug your drive into a USB port that’s native to your motherboard’s chipset and then try booting again. Another possibility is some sort of corruption on the USB drive itself. As a last resort, copy all of the data from the drive to your PC and use Windows’ Diskpart utility to clean the USB drive of any partitions, then create a new primary partition, set it to active, and reformat/reconfigure the drive.&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><a class="thickbox" href="/files/u152332/boot-mgr_small_0.jpg"><img src="/files/u152332/boot-mgr_small.jpg" alt="Your system won’t boot to the USB drive unless it’s selected in the BIOS or boot menu." width="620" height="340" /></a></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><strong>Your system won’t boot to the USB drive unless it’s selected in the BIOS or boot menu.</strong></p> <h3 style="text-align: left;">Create a Linux Live Bootable Key</h3> <p style="text-align: left;"><strong>Try any version of Linux, without altering your current system</strong></p> <p style="text-align: left;">Experimenting with different versions of Linux is a great way to utilize those thumb drives cluttering up your junk drawer. There are a ton of utilities out there that can help ease the setup process, but one in particular, the Universal Netboot Installer, or UNetbootin for short, makes the entire process, from selecting and downloading a distro to prepping a thumb drive, about as easy as could be.</p> <h4 style="text-align: left;">Get UNetbootin</h4> <p style="text-align: left;">UNetbootin can be downloaded at <a href=""></a>. It is a stand-alone utility that doesn’t need to be installed. Once downloaded, simply double-click the file to run UNetbootin and on the initial screen you’ll have two options: to either select a distribution to download and install (there are hundreds to choose from) or to create a bootable thumb drive using a pre-downloaded ISO. If you’d like to experiment with different Linux distros, UNetbootin will download and install them to your flash drive right from its main interface—there’s no need to scour the web on your own. If you’ve already got some ISOs downloaded and just haven’t gotten around to burning them, UNetbootin can use those, too. For the purposes of this project, we downloaded the popular Ubuntu Linux ISO, but just about any distro should work.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><a class="thickbox" href="/files/u152332/unetbootin_small_0.jpg"><img src="/files/u152332/unetbootin_small.jpg" alt="UNetbootin is a one-stop shop for downloading and creating Linux Live bootable thumb drives." title="UNetbootin" width="620" height="458" /></a></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><strong>UNetbootin is a one-stop shop for downloading and creating Linux Live bootable thumb drives.</strong></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><a class="thickbox" href="/files/u152332/unetbootin-menu_small_0.jpg"><img src="/files/u152332/unetbootin-menu_small.jpg" alt="The UNetbootin boot menu gives you the ability to run Linux right from the thumb drive or to install it to the host PC." title="UNetbootin" width="620" height="356" /></a></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><strong>The UNetbootin boot menu gives you the ability to run Linux right from the thumb drive or to install it to the host PC.</strong></p> <h4 style="text-align: left;">Create Linux Live Drive</h4> <p style="text-align: left;">To create a Linux Live USB drive, UNetbootin extracts the necessary files from an ISO, copies them to the thumb drive, generates an appropriate config file, and then makes the drive bootable. To use UNetbootin, connect your thumb drive to your PC, run the utility, and download a distro (or choose your pre-downloaded ISO) right on the initial screen. The thumb drive should be a few hundred megabytes at minimum, but larger (think 2GB-plus), faster drives are preferable. Once you’ve chosen the distro and selected the thumb drive from the menu, click the OK button and UNetbootin will download and/or extract the necessary files and automatically copy them to the thumb drive. The utility will then make the drive bootable, and when complete, UNetbootin will prompt you to exit or to restart the system, should you want to give the thumb drive a try right away.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><a class="thickbox" href="/files/u152332/live-linux_small_0.jpg"><img src="/files/u152332/live-linux_small.jpg" alt="Most Linux distributions, like Ubuntu, which we used for this project, run very well from a USB thumb drive." width="620" height="324" /></a></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><strong>Most Linux distributions, like Ubuntu, which we used for this project, run very well from a USB thumb drive.</strong></p> <h4 style="text-align: left;">Put It to Use</h4> <p style="text-align: left;">To use your Linux Live bootable thumb drive, simply boot to it, and at the UNetbootin menu select “Try Ubuntu without installing” (or whichever distro you chose). The OS will run right from the thumb drive as if it were installed locally on the host PC.</p> <p style="text-align: left;">Linux Live bootable drives are particularly useful for not only learning your way around Linux, but also as pseudo-recovery discs, as well. If you’ve got a Windows PC that won’t boot and you need to recover files, booting to a Linux Live drive may allow you to access the system’s hard drive and copy whatever files you may need.</p> <p style="text-align: left;"><em>Click the next page to learn how to set up "Windows to go" using a USB thumb drive!</em></p> <p style="text-align: left;">&nbsp;</p> <hr /> <p>&nbsp;</p> <h3 style="text-align: left;">Set Up a Windows to Go Environment<strong>&nbsp;</strong></h3> <p style="text-align: left;"><strong>The perfect excuse for buying a new USB 3.0 thumb drive</strong></p> <p style="text-align: left;">One of the coolest new features of Windows 8 is its ability to run from a USB thumb drive. Microsoft calls the feature “Windows to Go.” With Windows to Go, you can install Windows 8 and all of your favorite applications and tools to a thumb drive, plug it into a PC, boot to the drive and your entire workspace will be available.<strong>&nbsp;</strong></p> <p style="text-align: left;">To create a Windows to Go portable environment, you need a USB 3.0 thumb drive with a capacity of at least 32GB, a Windows 7 or 8 PC to actually configure the thumb drive (Windows 8 is preferable because of its native ability to mount ISO files), Microsoft’s Automated Installation Kit, or AIK (available here:, and a Windows 8 installation disc or ISO. <strong>&nbsp;</strong></p> <h4 style="text-align: left;">First Things First<strong>&nbsp;</strong></h4> <p style="text-align: left;">If you’ve got everything available and downloaded, install the Windows AIK first. It’ll create a \Program Files\Windows AIK directory with a number of other directories within. In the \Tools subdirectory, you’ll see a number of other subdirectories labeled with specific system architectures. If you’re creating the Windows to Go drive on a system running a 64-bit edition of Windows, open the \amd64 folder. If you’re running a 32-bit edition of Windows, open the \x86 folder. In those folders you’ll see a file named ImageX.exe. Copy ImageX.exe and place it into a new subdirectory of your choosing—we used C:\ToGo.<strong>&nbsp;</strong></p> <p style="text-align: left;">Once you’ve got the correct ImageX utility copied, you need to extract the Windows installation image from the Windows 8 ISO. Mount the ISO (or extract it to a folder) and in the \sources directory find the file labeled install.wim and copy it to the same directory in which you placed the ImageX utility.<strong>&nbsp;</strong></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><a class="thickbox" href="/files/u152332/imagex_small_1.jpg"><strong><img src="/files/u152332/imagex_small.jpg" alt="The ImageX utility included in the Windows AIK is used to install the Windows image to the USB flash drive." title="ImageX" width="620" height="314" /></strong></a></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><strong>The ImageX utility included in the Windows AIK is used to install the Windows image to the USB flash drive.</strong></p> <h4 style="text-align: left;">Prep Your Drive</h4> <p>With ImageX and the Windows 8 install.wim file copied, it’s time to prep the flash drive. Connect the drive to your system, then open a command prompt as an administrator and run Diskpart. At the Diskpart prompt, first type list disk and hit Enter to see a numerated list of drives connected to your system—on our machine, the thumb drive we wanted to use was listed as Disk 4. When you know the number of your thumb drive, type select disk 4 (replace the 4 with the number of your drive) at the Diskpart prompt and then hit Enter again. Once the proper drive is selected, you’ve got to run a handful of commands to clean, re-partition, and reformat the drive in preparation for the Windows to Go installation. Type the following commands in succession, hitting Enter after each one: clean, then create partition primary, then format fs=ntfs quick, then active, then assign. Then exit the Diskpart utility and navigate to the directory where you placed the ImageX and Install.wim files. Since we used C:\ToGo, at the command prompt we typed cd\ToGo and hit Enter.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><a class="thickbox" href="/files/u152332/diskpart_small_0.jpg"><img src="/files/u152332/diskpart_small.jpg" alt="Use Windows’ built-in Diskpart utility to clean the flash drive, create an active primary partition, and format it with the NTFS file system." title="Diskpart" width="620" height="600" /></a></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><strong>Use Windows’ built-in Diskpart utility to clean the flash drive, create an active primary partition, and format it with the NTFS file system.</strong></p> <h4>Install Windows</h4> <p>The next step is to actually install Windows to the flash drive using ImageX. At the command prompt, type: imagex /apply install.wim 1 X: (where X is the drive letter of your flash drive). This command tells ImageX to apply the first image within the install.wim file to drive letter X. The installation process will take a good 15–20 minutes or so depending on the speed of your drive. Once the ImageX process is complete, the next step is to install the correct boot record. While still at the command prompt, type bcdboot.exe X:\windows /s X: /f ALL (again, replace the X with the drive letter of your thumb drive) and hit Enter. This command tells the bcdboot utility to install the boot record from X:\windows directory to the root of the drive.</p> <p>Once the boot record is installed, your Windows to Go drive is ready to use. The first time you boot to it on a system, it’ll detect new hardware and configure the necessary devices, but it’ll eventually load the Modern UI and behave just like a local Windows installation. Activate the OS, install your applications and any necessary drivers, and you’re done.</p> 2013 boot install windows usb key linux September 2013 softwares stick USB Thumb Drive Office Applications Software Features Wed, 05 Feb 2014 23:53:27 +0000 Marco Chiappetta 26805 at Valve Updates SteamOS Beta to Support Dual-Booting <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/linux_dual-boots.jpg" alt="Linux Dual Boots" title="Linux Dual Boots" width="228" height="171" style="float: right;" />Use the "Expert Install" option</h3> <p>We have some good news if you've been wanting to experiment with Valve's SteamOS but have been reluctant to install it on a dedicated machine. Valve engineer John Vert has made available to download a <strong>new SteamOS beta build that supports dual-booting</strong>. The updated SteamOS ISO can be used to install Valve's Linux-based OS on non-UEFI systems, though keep in mind there could be issues with the build.</p> <p>"PLEASE note there has been very little testing on this, especially any kind of dual-boot setup," Vert warns. "So don't install it on any machine you are not prepared to lose."</p> <p>You can download the <a href="" target="_blank">ISO here</a>. To take advantage of the dual-booting feature, you need to select the "Expert Install" option, which allows for custom partitioning.</p> <p>Results have been mixed so far. One user on Steam's forums commented that he was able to install the updated build in VirtualBox and that it "<a href="" target="_blank">works perfectly,</a>" while another user said his system simply <a href="" target="_blank">boots to a black screen</a> when selecting the SteamOS option from his dual-boot environment.</p> <p><em>Follow Paul on <a href="" target="_blank">Google+</a>, <a href="!/paul_b_lilly" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, and <a href="" target="_blank">Facebook</a></em></p> dual-boot linux operating system OS Software steamos Valve News Thu, 23 Jan 2014 16:52:30 +0000 Paul Lilly 27123 at How to Install SteamOS <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u154280/step_5_run_the_automated_installer_1.jpg" alt="SteamOS" title="SteamOS" width="300" height="142" style="float: right;" />Everything you need to know before installing Steam OS</h3> <p>Valve recently released its Beta version of <strong><a title="SteamOS" href="" target="_blank">SteamOS</a></strong>, based on the <a title="debian" href="" target="_blank">Debian</a> distro of <a title="linux" href="" target="_blank">Linux</a>. Naturally, we were intrigued by its release and wanted to take the new OS for a test run. We’ve put together a guide on how to install the operating system, and also provide you with our hands-on impressions of Valve's software.&nbsp;</p> <p><em>NOTE: Before beginning, we highly recommend that you back up everything on your system before attempting to install SteamOS, as the installer in this guide will erase your entire drive.</em></p> <p><strong>System Requirements:</strong></p> <p>To get started, you’ll need to make sure that your rig meets the minimum hardware requirements: Intel or AMD processor, 4GB of RAM or more, a 500GB hard drive or larger, Nvidia video card (Valve states AMD and Intel graphics support are coming soon), UEFI boot support, a USB port for installation, and a 4GB flash drive or larger.&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>How to Install SteamOS instructions:</strong></p> <p><strong>Step 1:</strong> Format your flash drive to FAT32</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><a class="thickbox" href="/files/u154280/step_1_format_your_flash_drive_0.png" target="_blank"><img src="/files/u154280/step_1_format_your_flash_drive.png" alt="Step 1" title="Step 1" width="600" height="338" /></a></p> <p>Plug in your flash drive and format it to FAT32. To do this, right click on the USB drive in My Computer and select format. Then change the file system from NTFS to FAT32 (if it isn’t already FAT32). Then click format to freshly wipe your flash drive.</p> <p><strong>Step 2:</strong> Download the zip installer</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><a class="thickbox" title="Step 2" href="/files/u154280/step_2_download_the_zip_installer_0.png" target="_blank"><img src="/files/u154280/step_2_download_the_zip_installer.png" alt="Step 2" title="Step 2" width="600" height="337" /></a></p> <p>Download the from <a title="SteamOS_Download_Page" href="" target="_blank"></a>.</p> <p><strong>Step 3:</strong> Extract the files from the zip file</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><a class="thickbox" title="Step 3" href="/files/u154280/step_3_extract_the_zip_files_to_your_flash_drive_0.png" target="_blank"><img src="/files/u154280/step_3_extract_the_zip_files_to_your_flash_drive.png" alt="Step 3" title="Step 3" width="600" height="338" /></a></p> <p>Right click on the you just downloaded and extract it to your flash drive. We used the free <a title="7-zip" href="" target="_blank">7-Zip</a> software to do this. Do not click on or open the flash drive to view its contents after the unzipping is complete, as this will mess up your extraction, and you won’t be able to boot from the key after that.</p> <p><strong>Step 4:</strong> Reboot your system and boot from your flash drive</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><a class="thickbox" title="Step 4" href="/files/u154280/step_4_boot_from_your_flash_drive_0.jpg" target="_blank"><img src="/files/u154280/step_4_boot_from_your_flash_drive.jpg" alt="Step 4" title="Step 4" width="600" height="450" /></a></p> <p>Reboot your system and press F8, F10, or F12 to get to your Boot Menu and select your flash drive as your Boot Device. Make sure the Boot Option says UEFI and then the name of your flash drive, for example, UEFI SanDisk Cruzer.</p> <p><strong>Step 5:</strong> Run the automated installer</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><a class="thickbox" title="Step 5" href="/files/u154280/step_5_run_the_automated_installer_0.jpg" target="_self"><img src="/files/u154280/step_5_run_the_automated_installer.jpg" alt="Step 5" title="Step 5" width="600" height="283" /></a></p> <p>You will then boot into a black screen with a purple Steam logo. This screen will have a list of three options, which include Automated Install WILL ERASE DISK!!!, Expert Install, and Rescue Mode. Select Automated Install WILL ERASE DISK!!! by pressing enter and the OS will start installing onto your hard disk. You will then see a white and purple installation screen for about 10-15 minutes, as it installs a fresh copy of SteamOS onto your machine.</p> <p><strong>Step 6:</strong> Remove your installation device</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><a class="thickbox" title="Step 6" href="/files/u154280/step_6_remove_your_flash_drive_and_reboot_your_system_0.png" target="_blank"><img src="/files/u154280/step_6_remove_your_flash_drive_and_reboot_your_system.png" alt="Step 6" title="Step 6" width="600" height="337" /></a></p> <p>After the OS finishes installing you’ll be prompted to reboot your system and to remove your installation device.</p> <p><strong>Step 7:</strong> Select SteamOS Linux GNU/I</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><a class="thickbox" title="Step 7" href="/files/u154280/steam_os_pic_2_1.png" target="_self"><img src="/files/u154280/steam_os_pic_2_0.png" alt="Step 7" title="Step 7" width="600" height="332" /></a></p> <p>The OS will boot up and have you choose between two options:&nbsp;<strong>SteamOS GNU/Linux, with Linux 3.10-3-amd64</strong> and <strong>SteamOS GNU Linux, with Linux 3.10-3-amd64 (recovery mode).</strong> Make sure the first option is selected and then hit enter to start the boot up process.</p> <p><strong>Step 8:</strong> Log into SteamOS</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><a class="thickbox" title="Step 8" href="/files/u154280/steam_login_0.png" target="_self"><img src="/files/u154280/steam_login.png" alt="step 8" title="step 8" width="600" height="311" /></a></p> <p>You’ll then see a login screen. To login use "steam" as both your password and username.</p> <p><strong>Step 9:</strong> Launch the terminal application to install Steam</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><a class="thickbox" title="Step 9" href="/files/u154280/step_9_type_in_steam_and_hit_enter_to_run_the_installer_0.png" target="_self"><img src="/files/u154280/step_8_run_the_application_terminal.png" alt="Step 8" title="Step 8" width="600" height="337" /></a></p> <p>Now that you’re at the desktop the last step is to launch the terminal application to install <a title="steam" href="" target="_blank">Steam</a>. Go to the top left corner of the OS and click on Activities and then click on the Applications tab. Once the terminal is launched, type in steam and then hit enter to start the installation process. (You will need an internet connection for this installation setup to work)</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><a class="thickbox" title="Step 9" href="/files/u154280/step_9_type_in_steam_and_hit_enter_to_run_the_installer_1.png" target="_self"><img src="/files/u154280/step_9_type_in_steam_and_hit_enter_to_run_the_installer.png" alt="Step 9" title="Step 9" width="600" height="375" /></a></p> <p><strong>Step 10:</strong> You can now start gaming</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><a class="thickbox" title="Step 10" href="/files/u154280/step_10_let_the_gaming_begin_0.png" target="_self"><img src="/files/u154280/step_10_let_the_gaming_begin.png" alt="Step 10" title="Step 10" width="600" height="375" /></a></p> <p>After the installer is finished running, you can login into your Steam account and start playing games.</p> <p><em>Click the next page for our impressions of SteamOS.</em></p> <hr /> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>Impressions:</strong></p> <p>With our GeForce GTX 680, our performance was great and we had no trouble hitting 60+ FPS in every title that we played using SteamOS. However, we didn’t like how there was an immense amount of screen tearing, even when V-Sync was enabled. We saw less tearing in 2D games like Bastion and Shattered, but we experienced a heavy amount of tearing in Portal. Our current assessment is that games with complex polygons will experience a lot of screen tearing while 2D games will have very little to no screen tearing.</p> <h3 style="text-align: center;"><img src="/files/u154280/step_5_run_the_automated_installer_1.jpg" alt="SteamOS" title="SteamOS" width="620" height="292" /></h3> <p>We encountered audio problems on the OS, as it only supports audio via HDMI, so your onboard motherboard audio will not work. We did get external headphones to work when we used an audio pass through on our monitor, in combination with HDMI as our video output. Valve probably assumes people will use SteamOS in their living room, so we think they guess most people will be using an HDMI audio setup too, or this could simply be patched up when SteamOS officially launches to the masses.</p> <p>We like the idea of SteamOS and feel it could give Microsoft a run at being the go-to gaming OS, but right now it’s very stripped-down. There aren’t many third party applications you can run on SteamOS because not much supports it. We tried installing Chrome on the OS, and it didn’t work because the browser doesn’t support SteamOS. We were able to use the Internet by using <a title="iceweasel" href="" target="_blank">Iceweasel</a>, which is a rebranded version of Mozilla’s Firefox for Debian distros of Linux, however.</p> <p>SteamOS isn’t a free gaming OS that can replace Windows at the moment. We’d much rather take Ubuntu 12.04 LTS, as a Windows alternative at this point because there’s much more you can do with this Linux distro. Ubuntu 12.04 LTS also has more third party applications than SteamOS, and it performs similarly in gaming too. Ubuntu also supports legacy hardware, so you won’t need to mess around modifying an installer to get it to work properly on your coveted rig. Lastly, unlike SteamOS, which doesn’t support Intel and AMD graphics as of print time, Ubuntu 12.04 LTS will install easily to Intel, AMD, or Nvidia graphics hardware.</p> <p>If Valve wants to move people away from Windows and onto SteamOS, they’ll need a more versatile OS to bring people on board. When it comes to gaming, currently, there are over eight thousand titles on Steam that support Windows, while SteamOS has just 440 games. For an OS devoted to living room gaming, it’s a cool idea, but Windows can do so much more than the free OS at the moment, both in gaming and productivity. Still, if you've got some time to spare, SteamOS is free so feel free to give it a try and let us know what you think of it in the comments below!</p> <p>Follow Chris on&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">Google</a>+&nbsp;or&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">Twitter</a></p> How To Install SteamOS installation linux operating system steam os Valve Windows Linux Gaming News Features How-Tos Fri, 27 Dec 2013 22:57:47 +0000 Chris Zele 26929 at First Round of GeForce Benchmarks on SteamOS Beta Pop Up Online <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/steam_os.jpg" alt="SteamOS" title="SteamOS" width="228" height="171" style="float: right;" />Putting SteamOS under the microscope</h3> <p>Valve recently made its<strong> Debian Linux-based SteamOS</strong> available to download free of charge in beta form and though it's only been available for a short time, there are already some benchmarks to digest. The benchmarks come courtesy of the folks at <a href=";item=steamos_linux_benchmarks&amp;num=1" target="_blank"><em>Phoronix</em> who tested</a> more than half a dozen Nvidia graphics cards ranging from the GeForce GTX 550 Ti on up the GeForce GTX 780 Ti.</p> <p>An Intel Core i7 4770K sets up the foundation of the testbed, which also includes an ECS Z87H3-A2X Extreme v1.0 motherboard, 16GB of RAM, 150GB Western Digital hard drive, and onboard audio.</p> <p>While it's early, the preliminary results look pretty impressive. In Unigine Tropics v1.3 running at 2560x1600, the testbed benched anywhere from 32.2fps (GeForce GTX 550 Ti) to 170.55fps (GeForce GTX 780 Ti). All in all, the testbed put up some high numbers across the board, serving as an indication that SteamOS isn't gimping performance.</p> <p>These are just some reference benchmarks, however, and over the course of the next few days, Phoronix will look to compare the results with other platforms. That's when things should really get interesting.</p> <p><em>Follow Paul on <a href="" target="_blank">Google+</a>, <a href="!/paul_b_lilly" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, and <a href="" target="_blank">Facebook</a></em></p> beta linux operating system OS Software steamos News Mon, 16 Dec 2013 21:24:38 +0000 Paul Lilly 26898 at