Difference between revisions of "Installing WeBWorK on Live USB"

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# Make sure your USD drive is selected (often drive D: but check before you write to it)
# Make sure your USD drive is selected (often drive D: but check before you write to it)
# Hit <code>OK</code> and sit back while the installation onto the USB drive takes place
# Hit <code>OK</code> and sit back while the installation onto the USB drive takes place
===Persistence ===
===Boot from USB drive ===
===Boot from USB drive ===

Revision as of 19:37, 23 July 2009

WeBWorK on a USB memory drive

These instructions explain how to download and install a disk image of a fully functioning WeBWorK 2.4 system onto a 2 GB USB flash memory drive.

Installing WeBWorK on a 2 GB USB flash memory drive


After installing the disk image on a USB flash memory drive, you will have a full fledged Ubuntu 9.04 system with WeBWorK, Apache2, MySQL, etc. installed and configured. You just have to plug the USB drive in and boot your computer from your USB drive. The system is persistent (if you choose to set up a persistent system, see below), i.e. any changes you make (to Ubuntu, WeBWorK, anything) are saved and will be there the next time you boot the system. Also nothing on your computer's hard drive will be touched so there will be no change to your standard operating system. If you want to run everything locally as a test, nothing else is required. If you want to connect your system to the internet so that people (students, professors) can connect to WeBWorK and you can login remotely (via ssh) to Ubuntu, you may have to configure networking (see below). Also it is imperative that you CHANGE THE PASSWORDS for the OS users root and ubuntu (which has sudo privileges), for the MySQL users root and webworkWrite, and for the WeBWorK users admin and ubuntu which have professor privileges (see below).

There are more detailed instructions for Ubuntu 9.04 and WeBWorK 2.4 at Installation_Manual_for_2.4_on_Ubuntu_9.04


  1. You need a PC that can be booted from USB. This excludes all Mac's and very old PC's. Most PC's less the 5 or 6 years old should be OK.
  2. You meed a 2GB USB memory drive. I built and tested this on PNY Attache 2G and 4G drives. Hopefully others work as well.


  1. Go to http://unetbootin.sourceforge.net/ and download and install UNetbootin. UNetbootin UNetbootin runs on Windows and Linux. I have read reports the Windows version is more stable --- that is the version I used
  2. Go to http://devel.webwork.rochester.edu/ww-downloads/WW2.4_Ubuntu9.04_LiveDVD.iso and download WW2.4_Ubuntu9.04_LiveDVD.iso (it is a 1.1 GB file)
  3. http://devel.webwork.rochester.edu/ww-downloads/WW2.4_Ubuntu9.04_LiveDVD.iso.md5 gives MD5 (WW2.4_Ubuntu9.04_LiveDVD.iso) = 51cd159b4efaf94ed8035623e57843c1
  4. Verify the MD5 checksum of your downloaded file and then burn it to a DVD (the file is too large to be burned to a CD)

Install WeBWorK on USB drive

  1. Plug your 2 GB USB drive into the computer and make sure the computer recognizes it. You can also use larger USB memory drives but you will not get anymore usable space.
  2. Run UNetbootin and check "Diskimage". Then browse for the file WW2.4_Ubuntu9.04_LiveDVD.iso and select it
  3. Make sure your USD drive is selected (often drive D: but check before you write to it)
  4. Hit OK and sit back while the installation onto the USB drive takes place


Boot from USB drive

  1. With the USD drive plugged in reboot your system and boot from USB. You will probably have to hold down a certain key (e.g. F12 or F11) to bring up a boot menu. Or possibly you may have to edit your BIOS to allow booting from USB. Select USB Storage Device as the boot device and boot. You should almost immediately see a Fedora screen with a 10 second countdown to booting. If you are impatient hit Enter twice.
  2. Note that a few times when doing this I experienced errors such as the USD drive not being recognized, hung, etc. I just rebooted and never had a problem twice in a row.
  3. Hit Enter to do the automatic login. This logs you into the "fedora" account which has password "admin" (more on accounts and passwords below). "fedora" has sudo privileges. The "root" account also has password "admin".
  4. If you do not want to connect your server to the internet, you can just open firefox and access the URL: http://localhost/webwork2 . The admin course has two users "admin" and "fedora" as professors with passwords "admin" and "admin". myTestCourse has the same two users as professors and in addition practice (guest) users and one student user "jsmith" with password "jsmith". With the exception of jsmith, every password on the system is set to "admin"