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Here have been a couple of weird experiences I've had with a Ubuntu LiveCD or LiveUSB:

1) I had one of the original Chromebooks (CR-48). I ended up wiping ChromeOS and installing only Ubuntu 12.04.0 just after it came out. It worked like a charm. About a year later, I broke something and reinstalled Ubuntu using 12.04.3 on a LiveUSB. The LiveUSB worked perfectly - screen resolution, wifi, trackpad all worked fine. I installed it (once installing updates, once stock from the USB drive) and both times screen resolution, wifi, and trackpad all broke.

I ended up downloading 12.04.0 and installing it then upgrading to 12.04.3 after the fact and everything worked perfectly once again.

2) I purchased a Toshiba Portege z935 and the LiveUSB worked perfectly, namely the wifi. After install, wifi was extremely slow and basically couldn't load any pages. The answer was that Bluetooth conflicted somehow with wifi and Bluetooth had to be disabled to get wifi to work. Yet both could be enabled in the LiveUSB version, no problem.

So my question is, why does this happen? Why does everything work perfectly from the LiveUSB version but then get broken when installed on the system? Is there a different way to install Ubuntu that would allow things to be installed over exactly as they were on the LiveUSB version (drivers, settings, etc)? Are there assumptions that the install makes that I could override somehow?

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4 Answers 4

I had a similar experience while installing Ubuntu to a friend of mine. LiveUSB worked out of the box but when Ubuntu booted up he had terrible tearing due to the installed video drivers. His system was unusable.

So, my guess is that LiveUSB uses some very generic drivers for all your hardware and they can work averagely well.

During the installation, Ubuntu finds the exact drivers for your hardware and installs them for you to your hard drive. In that way, when you boot up, your hardware communicates with the software with the new drivers, and this may break some things that worked better in LiveUSB.

Disclaimer: This is a guess and I have no evidence to back it up.

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I would consider this an educated guess. –  Elder Geek Jun 13 at 0:38

In theory you could copy the live media to a hard drive using the ISO as a source and /dev/sdX as destination using dd but then you'd have a live media rather than an installation. I don't think you'd like the end result.

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Two things RAM and drivers. Since LiveCD runs off of RAM that might be a problem. Also drivers and actual hardware conflicts. The LiveCD isn't actually installed on the computer, you're booting off of it. That's why hibernate doesn't work when I installed Ubuntu.

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The LiveBoot/CD runs on a virtual disk called a RAM disk. Simple way of thinking of it, is that it uses a portion of your RAM as a hard drive (so it is then separated from your actual disks).

The actual drivers used will not necessarily be the ones which are installed on the full version LiveBoot will have a "simpler" version. When I say this I mean the driver will not be specifically attuned to your machine necessarily rather it will be a generic driver, which would work on "every" video card. (Much like when booting into a safe/fallback mode will load drivers which do not have advanced settings). It does this so that compatibility is achieved across a wider variety of computers (as the LiveBoot is intended to be a fully usable system on any machine)

Upon installing, your OS installation is looking to see what hardware is installed on your system, and what drivers are available for the hardware. It will then install and point your system to those drivers which have been installed.

Possible Solutions:

If you are in process of installing this as a new system (i.e. you don't mind having to experiment to find what will work) you could always try an alternative version to see if the drivers/settings work from this version.

Possible Alternative: You could do a server install, and install only what you need, however this will require research, and might be a little overwhelming, as well as un-needed.

As for answers below (as I am writing this), they all could be combined together to make one answer possibly.

Some other things you may wish to look at/think about:

  • Make a LiveCD from scratch, or LiveCD customization if you know the drivers from the LiveCD, you may be able to customize a LiveCd for your personal usage (and change the driver's being installed).

  • (As per "How To" for ElderGeek's Answer regarding putting the LiveBoot on a physical disk) You would need to:

    • Create a Partition for your LiveCD image (make it bootable)
    • Use dd to put your LiveBoot .iso onto your new partition (example formatting would be dd if=/dev/sdc1/nameof.iso of=/dev/sda1/) Check man dd as there are different options that dd can be used with.
    • Manipulate your GRUB settings to point to your partition containing your LiveBoot (in terminal type info -f grub -n 'Simple configuration' and read) I doubt that sudo grub-mkconfig will pick it up as an operating system.
    • Look at this (On how to make the LiveBoot information persistent) You will need to change everywhere USB is to where your partition is.

    • Doing this you may/will still have issues with things such as hibernation, or any other issues with LiveCD.

  • It may just be easier loading the LiveBoot/CD determining what drivers are being used, (lsmod, or cat /proc/modules to find some information) and try to use those on the installed version instead.

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