Monday, April 06, 2009

Creating Backtrack 3 Live USB Drive


Booting to live CDs seems to be sluggishly slow when compared to booting from a USB drive. I previously posted about creating a Live BackTrack 2 USB drive, and here is the instructions for the new BackTrack 3 Beta. They have a special release specifically for USB drives this time around so it’s getting easier as new versions are released. Keep in mind that BT3 is in Beta and may still have several bugs. If you would like to run the stable version try BT2. So here is my step by step tutorial on how to create a bootable USB drive running BackTrack 3.

-you should use at least a 2GB USB drive to make bootable. The boot files total around 946MB of space on the drive. You may be able to get by with a 1GB drive but it would be pushing it to the limit on space. Drives are getting cheaper and cheaper that it shouldn’t be a big pain to cough up the extra $5 for the 2GB alternative

1. Go to: Choose the backtrack 3 beta the USB version (unless you want to create a bootable cd choose the CD version).

2. You will need something to extract the files from the RAR archive. WinRAR is my favorite.

3. Once you have a RAR extractor installed then extract all the folders to the destination drive (USB Drive). There should be two folders named “BT” and “Boot” along with a text file called “INSTALL.txt”.

4. After extracting the files power down unit and restart (make sure that boot order is changed so it boots from the USB drive first, and keep in mind that some older machines do not support USB boot, so you may need to use the CD version instead.)

5. the first menu you are presented with is the boot menu. The default is to boot into KDE. (you may want to change to a graphics safe environment if it does not work properly the first time on your system but I have yet to see a case where it doesn’t work properly at first boot).

6. Just wait and it will boot the rest of the way up and show the back track desktop. Click on the 2nd icon that says “System” that looks like an IC chip. Navigate to MEDIA > Your removable drive (names differ) > BOOT folder. Here you will find a file named “”

7. Open up “shell” by clicking on the 2nd icon on the left which looks like a monitor with a black screen. Drag “” to the shell. Click “Paste”. Press ENTER

8. This will now give a warning screen that it will format the drive to boot this distro only. Make sure that the drive listed in that warning is the same as the drive you are browsing (which is shown in the location bar at the top) so that you don’t tamper with the computer’s other drives by mistake. Press ENTER when you are sure.

If task completes successfully your drive is now bootable! If you are having problems or have questions with any of these steps head over to the Back Track Forums.

If you would prefer using the stable BackTrack 2 here is my article pertaining to creating bootable USB drives for BT2:

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