How To Use DriveDroid to Boot Linux On PC Using Android.
You finished your office work last night but forgot to email your boss documents. You woke up today and the first thing on your priority list is to mail these important documents. Surprisingly, your operating system won’t boot for some reason. The only option left is to reinstall the operating system; however, if the documents are on the system partition (drive c) things get a little more complicated.
So, is there a way to recover data without reinstalling Windows?
Well, yes, and I’ll tell you what to do. So, all you have to do is boot into your computer with a portable OS like a live cd Linux or something similar. But even the smallest Ubuntu Live CD will take 700 MB, and you won’t be able to carry a live CD or flash drive with you everywhere. But there is a better way.
If you have an Android phone, you can use it to download to your computer with the awesome Android app called DriveDroid. And instead of Ubuntu, we will be using a lightweight Linux distribution called Precise Puppy Linux. The advantage of a lightweight Linux distro is that we can boot this distro from RAM (so that even on a PC with a damaged hard drive it can run)
- Rooted Android smartphone or tablet.
- USB cable
- Precise Puppy Linux (157 MB)
- Windows PC
- Rufus (Windows software)
What will you need?
Now that you’ve downloaded all of the tools, let’s see what exactly we’re going to do.
- Install DriveDroid on Android
- Create a blank disk image on Android with DriveDroid
- Connect Android to PC using a USB cable.
- Flash Linux ISO on this blank disk image.
- Download the Linux image we created with DriveDroid into the PC’s RAM.
- Accessing data using the Linux GUI
NOTE. There are two main sections in this guide. The first section covers a one-time setup, which deals with setting up your Android phone as a bootable Linux disk image (steps 1 through 3). The second section is about using an Android phone to boot your PC to a Linux drive (steps 4 and 5).
Boot Linux on PC with Android
Part 1: Install and configure DriveDroid on Android
1. Download DriveDroid from Google play (link above). There are two versions of this app – free and paid. The premium version contains no ads, you can download your own repository. But for this tutorial we are happy with the free version. So go ahead and install it. The first time you open the app, it will ask for root access, grant it.
2. Then follow the instructions of the setup wizard and select the appropriate storage type that can be emulated on your device. Basically, the app will ask you to connect your computer to Android with a USB cable (to) and confirm if you see the new USB drive in the file explorer. Follow the instructions below.
I plugged in USB cable Continue Standard Android Kernel I see USB stick, continue DriveDroid booted successfully, continue Close Wizard.
3. Now let’s create a blank DriveDroid disk where our iso file will be stored.
- Click the “+” sign to add a new disc with images.
- Select Create Blank Image ‘.
You can give the image any name (I am using “Scooby_doo”), however note that we are going to install the Linux distribution on this disk image, so choose the appropriate size for the disk. (The disk type must be FAT).
You can see the newly created image on the main screen of the application.
Part 2: Flashing the Linux ISO to a disk image
4. Download the Linux ISO to your computer. (I am using Precise Puppy Linux, the link is provided earlier in this article) 5. Open the DriveDroid application again 6. Connect your phone to your computer and click the disk image (created earlier) in the DriveDroid application. (In this tutorial Scooby_doo.img). Select “Writable USB” in the pop-up window. Now check the notification bar and you will see a notification stating that the disk image has been successfully emulated.
7. The disk image will now be recognized as a USB flash drive on your PC.
8. Open the Rufus tool on your PC. Select the new emulated disk as the target disk, select the Linux Distro ISO image as the target file, and click Start. (Do not change other default settings)
9. Wait for the ISO flashing to complete and you have successfully installed the Linux Distro image on disk emulated (hosted) on your phone.
10. Tap on the DriveDroid notification on your phone to disable emulation (hosting). Boot Linux into RAM 11. Your phone is now ready with a disk image that contains Linux, so the next step is to boot the PC into Linux so that we can access the data on the PC. 12. To boot your PC into Linux, connect your phone to your PC. 13. Now open DriveDroid and on the DriveDroid screen click the Linux disk image we created (Scooby_doo.img) 14. Select “Writable USB” to emulate the disk.
Wait for the emulated disk image and make sure your computer detects the Linux disk image.
Now restart your computer and choose to boot from USB. Depending on your computer, you can do this by pressing F12 or F2 while booting your computer. For more information google it with your computer’s model number.
Download it to a USB stick (emulated). After a few seconds, you will see Linux is booting from RAM.
Well that’s all. You can now access data on your hard drive using the Linux GUI, keep in mind that Linux is loaded inside RAM, so you can disconnect the phone’s USB connection to the PC and it will be fully functional.
So, this is how you can use Linux to extract data simply by using your Android phone and USB cable. Don’t forget that we are using Linux, so if you are familiar with the command line interface you can even download 5MB distros. So, try a few different distributions and let me know how it works for you in the comments section.