Install openelec to USB in under 5 minutes!

May 6, 2012
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Install openelec to USB in 4 Simple Steps

SORRY GUYS, THIS HAS BUGS AND ISN'T RECOMMENDED.

I'M LEAVING THIS INFO HERE SO USERS KNOW NOT TO WASTE THEIR TIME ON TRYING THIS OUT!



First of all, big thanks to tuxen - I only stumbled across this after messing about with his work.

You can now run openelec on a FAT32 stick which means you can view/edit the files directly on a PC without having to copy via the network. "How" you say? Well read on :)

Step 1:
[Download link removed]

Step 2: Insert an SD card into your PC and Use Raspbmc Installer to "Restore Device For Formatting". Once complete format normally to FAT32 by right clicking on the SD card and selecting Format. This newly formatted card MUST be labeled as "SYSTEM" (without the quotes). Now copy over the contents of the SD Card folder from the download.

Step 3: Insert a USB stick into your PC and format using SD Formatter (Full Erase) and you MUST label this as "STORAGE" (without the quotes).

Step 4: Insert the SD card and USB stick into your r-pi and power up, allow everything to load up. Once everything is loaded and successfully updated (should take about 2 minutes) that's it, everything is installed :D

If you want to put the stick in your PC to update/view/edit files then it's important that you click on the power icon in the bottom left corner and select "SHUTDOWN" - THIS IS VERY IMPORTANT! Failure to shutdown properly can cause some files to become corrupt. It's not a big deal in the long run as they should be fixed if you put them back in the r-pi and boot up again and shutdown properly but until you do that Windows may not be able to give access to some of the files (I had a problem with the guisettings.xml file).

Sorry Whufclee..
(EDIT: tuxen, warning: there's a reason why its ext4 WHY?)
 
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May 6, 2012
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lol, sorry I had to rush out.

All fixed now, I'll be uploading a video as soon as I can work out how to use this capture card... it comes with a LOT of documentation so I may be a whlie!!!
 

trogggy

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May 6, 2012
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Okay, first impressions:
1. It works, which in itself is amazing.
2. I understand why people complain about the speed of the pi - if it isn't set up properly. I installed, switched off and then copied my .xbmc folder from my usb3 stick. I only had an old, slow usb2 stick, so that's what it's on. All working, but painfully slow. Hopefully if it's on usb3 it'll be back to normal.

What's changed in the System partition to allow this? Would updating break it?
Anyway I'm going to have a proper mess tonight.
 
May 6, 2012
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Yes please do test and let me know how you all get on. I have no idea why it works, I can only presume team openelec have changed something with v3.1.7, I only done a quick search on the subject but came up blank. So far I've tested on a 1gb stick (which was formatted as FAT), 4gb (FAT32), 8gb (FAT32 - USB3.0) and a 32gb sandisk cruzer (I think it was FAT32 but not 100% sure on that). All of those worked but I've not had chance to do much in the way of testing.

trogggy, did you enable overclocking and force turbo? It's off by default as I didn't want users complaining that it wasn't working! One thing I have noticed (and I'm not sure what's causing it yet as it flashes by too quick to read) is that on occasions I've had some kind of warning message pop up just before the openelec screen switches to the xbmc splash screen.

@Hustler: Thanks mate, I was given mod status about a year ago. Not really sure why but for some reason or other I was given it :D
 

lowridin_guy

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May 10, 2012
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Me too! I have a transcend usb3 stick at home in the package still since I haven't got around to trying it yet. This looks too easy so I'll give it a go this weekend.
 

trogggy

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trogggy, did you enable overclocking and force turbo? It's off by default as I didn't want users complaining that it wasn't working! One thing I have noticed (and I'm not sure what's causing it yet as it flashes by too quick to read) is that on occasions I've had some kind of warning message pop up just before the openelec screen switches to the xbmc splash screen.
I've not touched the sd card yet - will hopefully have time to mess with it tonight.
That's a normal 3.1.7 build on the sd card then? No extra tweaks needed?
 

nothere

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Nov 25, 2012
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OK, speed wise looks very similar on my usb3 stick. I was expecting a bit of a slow down in loading thumb nails but it doesnt seem to be the case (overclocked 1000,500,500,6 turbo forced). One problem I have found is that when the storage partion is FAT I can't access the PI via SSH. This is due to unix permissions and they need to be set correctly for the /storage/.ssh folder. This can't happen when it's formatted as fat32. If this affects anything else im not sure.

Access is fine via the "openelec" host name via windows SMB tho, so not much of a problem. Also just whipping the usb out and change what you need on a pc and pop it back in the PI does get around it. Ive done some testing and had corrupted files but only when pulling the power when instead of using the shutdown option....but....hotswapping the usb (i.e. unpluging the usb drive whilst the pi is still on) does not.

The testing continues.......
 

trogggy

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Okay, first little mess...
I took the sd card from MarkRich's image (ie std OpenElec 3.1.7 but with a bit of overclocking), changed the cmdline.txt to point at STORAGE. Didn't boot. Changed the name of the sd card (System to SYSTEM) and it booted fine.
I saw that text flash up as well btw, far too fast to read.
If it's as fast as an ext4 stick then there's no reason not to go with this.
Has anyone tested speeds yet? I was thinking a library scan would be a decent test.

An easy way in windows to switch to Fat32 and keep all your settings:
Connect to the pi with Filezilla and copy the contents of Storage to a pc folder.
Stick usb stick (preferably a different one just in case) in pc, format to fat32, call it STORAGE, paste files back in. Done.

Edit: just seen metalkettle's post - some pros and cons. An smb.conf would let you access everything from explorer, same as Filezilla (not just what's shared by default). If the speed's there it's definitely worth exploring.
 
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May 6, 2012
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Yeah I've been trying that mate, works great - copying over the files from a FAT32 stick is what I was testing my latest release on.

FYI, this is what I done to acheive this:
Used tuxens method of installing on USB in 10mins.
Updated to v3.1.7
Once updated the SD card contents are what we are using here.
Formatted a USB stick with SD Formatter and Bob's your uncle :)

Whether or not it works out of the box with the standard 3.1.7 I don't know.
 

nothere

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Nov 25, 2012
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This is the key....
Code:
boot=LABEL=SYSTEM disk=LABEL=STORAGE ssh quiet
as opposed to.....
Code:
boot=/dev/mmcblk0 disk=/dev/sda1 ssh quiet
we are specifying a disk label instead of a linux mount point. So should work with any distro. Its the kernel which accepts the partition paths with the LABEL statement.
 
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nothere

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Nov 25, 2012
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All very well, but it's across the other side of the room. There's always a downside.
True, but you shouldnt need to do this too often. But as you say you can add the .xbmc folder to smb.conf.
 
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trogggy

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May 6, 2012
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This is the key....
Code:
boot=LABEL=SYSTEM disk=LABEL=STORAGE ssh quiet
as opposed to.....
Code:
boot=/dev/mmcblk0 disk=/dev/sda1 ssh quiet
we are specifying a disk label instead of a linux mount point. So should work with any distro. Its the kernel which accepts the partition paths with the LABEL statement.
Sorry, maybe I misunderstood what Lee meant. The cmdline.txt will always have to change because the default's pointing at the sd card. I thought he meant 'all the rest' IYSWIM.

A small bonus if this does turn out to be viable: no more writing images so the 'it doesn't fit on my card' issue goes away.
 

trogggy

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May 6, 2012
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Hmmm.
Maybe this is just me. If I open the usb stick in explorer via samba all looks good. Open a few folders, look around a bit and it all slows down. And then stops working altogether. Last time I tried I left the screen on and saw a 'successfully un-mounted Storage' message flash up, at which point everything stopped working - as you'd expect.

So - can somebody have a root around the folders via smb in explorer and see if your pi goes pear-shaped please.