How to Install Linux OS on USB Drive and Run it On Any PC

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99 Responses

  1. Lester B says:


    I have done this and it’s working well. However, I cannot access the files on the 2nd partition on windows. Any idea how to make it so that I can still use the 2nd partition on other operating systems?


    • Amit Hambar says:

      Formatting second drive with fat32 it will be accessible in windows. If doesn’t work, try assigning letter to that drive in windows disk management.

  2. Kaushik says:

    Can this USB be formatted to FAT32, after installing Linux?

  3. cdde says:

    Wouldn’t this work better using a Virtual Machine in VirtualBox and then just using the USB passthrough? You only need ONE USB to do this, and you don’t have to worry about files being lost. (If you do use a VM, don’t add a hard disk and it will be WAY easier because then it will just be a normal Linux install since your USB is /dev/sda.)

    There may be a slight speed benefit by doing it this way, but why when it could be much simpler? The main bottleneck will pretty much be the USB speed anyways.

    All you’d need in the VM method is:

    • 1 (and only one) USB Drive
    • VirtualBox, and user in vboxusers group
    • An ISO file
    • A VM with no Hard Disk
  4. John sedrick says:

    Hi thanks for your instruction..

    I installed two distros (Ubuntu 16.04 32bit & Kali 2019.2) with your method on my 32G flash drive & installed GRUB in the MBR of my USB pen drive (/dev/sdc) & everything worked like a charm but a day later when i inserted my USB it was recognized as /dev/sdd (because my external hard drive was inserted already) & GRUB goes to rescue mode & says:”there is no OS in /dev/sdc” which is true because now my USB flash is in /dev/sdd.

    I replaced my external HDD & flash drive to have my USB flash at sdc again & the problem is solved.

    The question is I need this USB flash to boot on my distros in any computer & there is no guarantee that i always have it at /dev/sdc in every computer so how do you propose to work around this problem & have USB OS that is fully installed(not just live OS) & boots in any computer

    • Amit Nandkumar Hambar says:

      I Think you have installed grub on your local hard disk. check step no 7, second red box.

      • John sedrick says:

        No I did install the GRUB on the MBR of my USB Drive (checked that in other Computers) when I plug my USB to the computer the grub comes up & I can see the OSes installed on the USB but when I hit Enter I face this error (but sometimes it runs completely OK if it is sdc!!!)

        “Missing modules (cat /proc/modules; ls /dev)
        ALERT! /dev/sdc2 does not exist. Dropping to a shel!
        Busybox V1.30.1

    • Stefan says:

      I got a similar problem. Even though my USB was /dev/sdc, and I selected that for the bootloader. Grub still got installed to /dev/sda. The USB only works in the computer where I created it. Not possible to boot on another computer.

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