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Sunday, November 4, 2012

KTD Project - UPDATED go to end of post

KTD stands for Knoppix Thumb Drive.  I am slowly piecing together a bootable thumb drive with a variety of information which should be helpful in an emergency.

First you need to get  32gb thumb drive and format it with a FAT 16 or FAT 32 file system.

Then download a Knoppix Live CD.  I use the Adriane Knoppix found here: 

Then you need to use UNETBOOTIN to install the ISO of Knoppix to the USB Drive or SD card and make it bootable.  UNETBOOTIN can be found here: 

Once you have that done you will need to download and install Bit Torrent if you don't already have a Torrent program.  Bit torrent can be found here: 

Now you need to download the Torrent for the CD3WD files which is found here:

Now the whole set of files is almost 16GB so if you are on dial up I don't recommend you try to download it.  You can order a set of disks which I would recommend.

Once you download the files you will have 4 ISO files which need to be burned to disc.  So you will need to have a DVD Burner and a program like ISO Burner  or ISO Buster if you don't have an optical drive, such as if you have a netbook.  Once they are either burned to disc or your hard drive, run the install program to extract the files to your hard drive.  Be sure you have enough room, these files are over 25GB when fully extracted.

Once all the files are fully extracted copy them to your KTD thumb drive or SD card.

Now to use this drive as is, you will need to make a change in your computers BIOS to tell it to boot from the USB or the SD card.  On many computers you will hit the F1, F2 or F10 key during boot to enter setup.  Check which part of the setup allow you to change the Boot sequence and change the setting so it will look for the USB or SD drive before the hard drive.  Once you have made the changes hit F10 to save your changes then exit.  Insert your USB Thumb Drive or SD Card into the card reader and reboot the system.

After the Knoppix Penguin splash screen you will see the login.  Type knoppix and hit enter and the system will load the graphical knoppix interface.  If you don't after a timeout it will lad the adriane text/audio version of knoppix.  I use the adriane as my eyesight has been deteriorating over the last few years and I want every advantage I can get.

Once Knoppix is fully loaded it operates very much like windows.  On the desktop you will see a folder named knoppix.  Click on it, just one you don't need to double click unless you change the settings then click on the CD3WD folder, scroll down and click on START.BAT to load the files for use.  You might have to tell knoppix to use ICEWEASEL to view the files.  But that's it.

If the computer you are using is hard wired to a router or modem you should also have internet access as well.  If it is on a wireless connection you will have to configure the connection so make sure you have the network password.

Now for some screen shots and some further work I am doing on this project.

Knoppix loading splash

After entering knoppix to load the GUI version you will see this screen 
The desktop as it loads

Click on start.bat in the CD3WD directory

And here is the files list.
Clicking on the files will load them.  You can right click and open in a new window, and knoppix has it's own version of a PDF viewer so you can read PDF files as well at HTML and regular text files.

Now I also have about another 14GB of files on my computer ranging from military field manuals covering everything from field sanitation , emergency surgery to construction, electrical wiring and explosives.  I'm going through my files getting rid of the old superseded files and putting them together in proper directories with a small modicum of thought and I will be adding them to the thumb drive as well.

Also as a HAM radio operator I am adding some HAM specific programs such as programs for digital and packet communications.

My thumb drives, yes I said drives, as I am making extras for my oldest kids fit easily on my keyring.  So anywhere I go I will have a vast knowledge base that I can tap at need.  If something does happen as long as I can find a bootable computer, even if it doesn't have a working hard drive I can access this information.  If I install this n a 32GB microSD card I can keep it in my cellphone and if I need it I can put it in an adapter and then use it to boot a computer with a SD card reader.

My current extra files which will be added to the drive.
So what say you?  Are you willing to spend a few hours putting together something which can help you just in case?

UPDATE: A few commenters over at Say Uncle raise some points.

  1. FishorMan Says:
    If we are talking text, (books and such), put it into Kindle format and save it on their e-reader Kindle. Turn off the WiFi and you can be reading those books around the campfire a month after the collapse of the power grid before you will need to hit up a power source to recharge.
  2. Patrick Says:
    If you got kids, bring the games and the music they love. Don’t underestimate morale. Isabelle and Irene taught me to remember the quiet moments in between (power). I loved Isabelle – I was single and had the time to sit in an empty house and just read every book I could find until the sun went down.
    Now I got generators, a wife and kids. So when this recent storm threatened, I made sure the old notebooks and portable DVD players we going to work for the little ones.
    I also piled up some books, just in case I got two minutes to myself. But I haven’t had that in years.
  3. Bill Twist Says:
    Dumb idea. Better to have it on paper. What happens if none of the devices you plan on using still work? What if the batteries run down and you don’t have the means to recharge them?
    Even better is to actually practice the techniques ahead of time, so that you don’t need a reference.
  4. Jake Says:
    Dumb idea. Better to have it on paper.
    Or, you know, do both. The thumb drive/e-reader option is a whole heck of a lot more portable than a half-dozen (or more) paper books, so if bugging out becomes necessary you can still have all that knowledge with you. It’s also more convenient and easily searchable. But if your electronics are unusable, you still have the paper copies as a backup.
    Even better is to actually practice the techniques ahead of time, so that you don’t need a reference.
    Not every technique is easily practiced often enough to remain reliably doable without a reference, and some TEOTWAWKI survival skills are esoteric enough even to the well-prepared person that reviewing your reference manual before attempting it is a good idea.

Bill I think misses the point of this.This drive is a complete reference library.  It contains over 600 texts in the CD3WD files alone.  Plus I am adding several hundred other texts, Military training manuals, off-line web pages I've accumulated over the years and other information that could be vital if there is a large scale disruption.

This drive is small, my pill container on my keychain is bigger.  So far I've used this drive to boot over 30 computers, laptops and netbooks.I can't guarantee that in an emergency I'll have a good computer, but even if all I have is a junky old thinkpad, as long as the BIOS supports booting from USB, I have access to this information.  No battery for the computer?  There are work arounds, a DC to DC adapter like the one that plugs into the lighter socket of my truck, delivers enough power to run my old thinkpad 600E or my friends HP Netbook.  The point is you will have the information available and can take it with you anywhere.

And Bill, no offense but I'd much rather carry this drive than to try to carry my entire library which currently inhabits five 7X5 oak bookcases and dozens of boxes.  When I moved last time I used over half of large U-haul truck just for my books not including the bookcases.  Also the Emergency Medical texts are kid of hard to practice beforehand, unless you intend on injuring someone just so you can practice those skills.

I have zipped together the torrents for the CD3WD files, Adriane Knoppix, and PDF for using Knoppix and a text file with all the links you may need to create your own KTD.

The link to the file is:

The file is 3.17 MB most of it is the PDF file for Knoppix.  So if you want to have a back up to your paper books that you can take with you anywhere, download the file and then start downloading the main files.

And one thing people like Bill miss.  you don't NEED to boot into Knoppix to use the files.  It still is a thumb drive and you can just plug it in and use it on any computer.

Isn't having a backup worth some piece of mind?

The project now has it's own separate page here the link is: Knoppix Thumb Drive Links and Instructions

To see all posts on the KTD Project the link is:

Please leave any comments or questions in the comment section of the KTD Project Page.


Wolfman said...

Guns, Cars, and Tech did a similar backup a few months ago, with one twist- he added TrueCrypt, to lock down the vital information, such as info that would allow id theft. I'll see if I can dig up his link.

Wolfman said...

Found it

GreyLocke said...

He is talking only having scans of your personal information. I'm talking a full reference library and operating system if you need it. If you have access to a computer but no access to the hard drive such as a computer with a password, you can still access the information by booting from the USB drive. If you have full access you just boot the computer, put in the drive and still have the information.

Wolfman said...

Yes, I see the difference. Just connecting the dots- seemed like the two projects go similarly (in places).

GreyLocke said...

Adding your personal information is also a good idea. I also have a small 128MB thumb drive on my key chain that has PDF's of my trust, power of attorney drivers license and other information. That way it's always there. This drive though is a back up library, since you can't carry several hundred books with you. With this if you can get access to a computer you can get the information. I'm experimenting on my daughters smart phone and she can also access the information, I just need to get a much larger micro SD card to hold all the information. Uncompressed these files are almost 25GB. Currently she only has a 8GB micro SD card in her phone, but she does have one of the 32GB thumb drive on her key chain.

bob villa said...

Great idea , make complete sense to me, Grey Locke.