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

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98 Responses

  1. bananahell says:

    is this so important use x32 version of Ubuntu? today all computers maintain amd64 architecture

  2. Randy Fry says:

    Wouldn’t you want a swap partition, if your using this on different computers which you may not know the specs of? Also how fast will this wear out a USB stick? Would something like zram be better?

  3. bruce davidson says:

    Wow – thank you for this article. The hard drive failed on my old Inspriron. With these instructions I was able to salvage my computer. So I’m using a 64gb usb3.0 to replace my hard drive.

    I use ElementaryOS, and I had one issue while installing, it failed at the end because it was trying to install Grub on the old hdd. I realized this was because I hadn’t created the fat32 partition, I didn’t see why I needed one. I used gparted to reformat the usb with a GPT partition table and followed the instructions at – Creating an EFI System Partition.

    It boots faster and loads programs faster than my old hard drive did. I’m not going to replace the hdd after all, I’ll just get a larger USB!

  4. Phil says:

    Hi, I tried your method which worked perfectly. However, the fat32 partition does not appear in windows (apparently because windows does not look after the first partition it sees, ext4 in our case).

    Do you know how the fat32 partition could be seen by windows ? I tried to set the fat32 before ext4 in partition table, but then the USB is not recognized as bootable anymore at startup.

  5. Greg says:

    OMG! If I were teaching you quantum physics, would you appreciate my telling you about the five different ways to do each calculation when you’re only interest is solving the problem? That would be a major no; however, you seem to think giving me an ocean of choices in how to format a usb, further skipping any procedures to get it and remove it from my PC once I’ve used it, and totally overshoot the whole getting the ISO image altogether. This are not instruction; it’s a book report…

    “Use your Linux ISO image file to create a bootable USB installation media. You can use any software like Unetbootin, Gnome Disk Utility, Yumi Multi Boot, xboot, Live USB Creator etc. to create bootable usb with the help of ISO image file.”

  6. JJS says:

    I had a fault with GRUB not wanting to install at the end. I selected exactly like you /dev/sdb/ and a sandisk for the boot installation. (previous of courses i made the 2 partitions using gparted).

    I used Ubuntu Mate. But that should not make any difference. So installation went ok except for the GRUB. What can i do next, try it again. or is there an easy way to install GRUB? I have read you also need then some txt file so it know from which disk to boot.. Thanks for any help.

    • Amit Nandkumar Hambar says:

      Try to completely format your main usb (create new partition table with ms-dos format in Gparted). and then install it. Another thing is check whether your live installation usb is booted in UEFI or BIOS.

  7. Lorry says:

    After I complete installation, UBUNTU boots takes very long time, is it normal?

  8. Javus says:

    Did someone try the same procedure using some distros that should have been developed for this very purpose? I’m referring to Slax and Porteus. They might perform better than Lubuntu!


  9. TMHD says:

    What about using it between AMD and Intel machines? I am thinking to install UBUNTU on USB SSD and use it between 3-4 different machines that one of them is Ryzen based. All are x64.

    • Ravi Saive says:


      It should work without any issues on AMD and Inter machines, I have tested in on my Intel machine and now I am using it on any PC anywhere.

      • TMHD says:

        This is indeed interesting idea for those who use few machines during the day. Will give it a try with Linux Mint :) Thx


    I have one old Compaq laptop (nx 6110) whose hard disk is not working. I wanted to use it as a Linux setup and work with python and use for my internet requirement. I was just going to buy one internal hard disk.

    Going through this post I feel that it will be very nice if I can use it using an USB drive. So, all I want to know that can I install Ubuntu 18.04 LTS on 32GB USB drive without caring for any hard disk?

    • Ravi Saive says:


      Yes, you can install any Linux operating system on USB drive and use it anywhere on any PC. Just connect and use it..all data will be saved on USB disk..

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