Oct 072010
 

ubuntupen

In this article we’ll see 3 way of installing Ubuntu on a USB drive.
We’ll see how to create a live USB Ubuntu disk, just like your live CD. Only difference is that we’ll be booting and installing Ubuntu using this live USB diskette, and as last option how to do a full installation of ubuntu on your USB drive.

Author: Joshua Bulman

Option 1: Boot Ubuntu as a Live CD from a USB Flash Drive

Use this option to install Ubuntu as a Live Install, which allows you to boot from the USB flash drive in Ubuntu, experience the Linux environment but will not retain any changes or settings after you shut down. This is a great way to get a feel for the OS, test some of it’s capabilities as well as typical hardware compatibility.



Programs you may need to download:

Ubuntu 10.04 (soon 10.10) Live CD ISO available at ubuntu.com

Universal USB Installer available at pendrivelinux.com

What you will need:

Running Windows XP/Vista/7

Fat32 Formatted USB 2.0 Flash Drive, at least 1GB

PC with a Bios that can boot from USB

Now with all of the necessary components in place, we can begin to setup our Ubuntu Live USB Drive.

1. Run the Universal USB Installer by Pendrivelinux.com that you downloaded earlier.

2. Choose Ubuntu 9.10/10.04.1 Desktop i386

3. Select the Ubuntu Live CD that you downloaded earlier

4. Choose your Flash Drive

5. In this instance, we are going leave the persistence option unchecked.

This can take anywhere from 15 minutes to 30 minutes depending on the speed of your system. At one point the progress bar will freeze until it is done, and this is the lengthiest wait of the process.

Once complete, you can reboot your computer with the USB flash drive in the USB port, press F12 for the Boot Menu and choose the removable media to boot from and you are in.

As this is a Live USB, any changes you make to the Ubuntu environment will not persist through a reboot. This is because running in this mode, Ubuntu uses available RAM in place of Swap and Hard Disk space. This option also contains the install files needed to install Ubuntu directly to your desktop if you should so desire.

Option 2: Boot Ubuntu as a Live CD with Persistence from a USB Flash Drive

This option will install Ubuntu Linux onto your flash drive with an area for persistent storage. You will be able to restart the computer, boot back into the Linux environment and all settings or changes made previously will persist.

NOTE: This option is particularly hard on Flash Memory, as there can be quite a bit of reading and writing to the Flash Memory.

What you will need:

Running Windows XP/Vista/7

Fat32 Formatted USB 2.0 Flash Drive, at least 2GB

PC with a Bios that can boot from USB

Now with all of the necessary components in place, we can begin to setup our Ubuntu Live USB Drive.

1. Run the Universal USB Installer by Pendrivelinux.com that you downloaded earlier.

2. Choose Ubuntu 9.10/10.04.1 Desktop i386

3. Select the Ubuntu Live CD that you downloaded earlier

4. Choose your Flash Drive

5. Select the Persistence Option of 1GB Casper-RW

This can take anywhere from 15 minutes to 30 minutes depending on the speed of your system. At one point the progress bar will freeze until it is done, and this is the lengthiest wait of the process.

Once complete, you can reboot your computer with the USB flash drive in the USB port, press F12 for the Boot Menu and choose the removable media to boot from and you are in.

As this is a Live USB with Persistence, any changes you make to the Ubuntu environment will keep through a reboot. This option also contains the install files needed to install Ubuntu directly to your desktop if you should so desire.

Option 3: Install Ubuntu directly to a USB flash Drive

This option works through installing Ubuntu to the flash drive as a complete installation. It does not retain the installation files to install on another system. This will allow you to use Ubuntu exactly as if it were installed alone on the hard disk. You can boot from it with any computer that can boot from a USB flash drive.

Note: This method requires that you disable your hard drive in BIOS to prevent overwriting your current operating system and force the install onto the USB drive.

What you will need:

USB 2.0 Flash Drive, at least 4GB

PC with a BIOS that can boot from USB

Blank CD

A Computer with the ability to Burn CD/DVD

Now with all of the necessary components in place, we can begin the process.

1. First, you will need to burn your Ubuntu ISO to CD using a program like ImgBurn available at ImgBurn.com

2. Boot your computer and press F2 to enter the system BIOS. Within here you will want to disable your Hard Drive. If this is not an option in your BIOS, I would suggest shutting down your computer and unplugging the power and data cables from your hard drive before proceeding. NOTE: If you choose not to disable your hard drive, you run the risk of installing Ubuntu on top of your current OS and can lose valuable information.

3. After you have disabled your hard drive, place the Ubuntu Live CD into your computer and boot from this.

4. At the initial boot screen, choose to try Ubuntu, not install.

5. Once Ubuntu loads, plug in the desired flash drive into the computer.

6. Now, double click on the Install Ubuntu icon that appears on the desktop.

7. The first 3 screens are language, time zone, and keyboard layout.

8. Now Ubuntu will notify you that there is a disk mounted, and asks to unmount it. This is your flash drive. Give it permission to unmount.

9. This is the prepare disk space screen. I chose to leave mine at default and let the installer handle the partitions needed by Linux.

10. Now you will see the login and user information screen.

11. Now you are ready to install, click install.

12. At one point during the installation, you may notice a skip button appear on the bottom left. This is to skip the auto update, and finally the language packs. I chose to skip language packs update.

13. This may take a while, mine took atbout 35 minutes to complete. When it is done, eject the disk and shut down the computer. Plug your hard drive back in if necessary, or boot your computer into bios and re-enable it. Reboot your computer and press F12 to enter the boot menu, choose the flash drive and boot into Ubuntu.

Article Source: http://www.articlesbase.com/computers-articles/how-to-guide-3-ways-to-boot-ubuntu-linux-from-a-usb-flash-drive-3416556.html

About the Author

Joshua Bulman is a full time web designer and IT support technician for a company that provides custom USB drives via the web marketplace. He enjoys reading fiction, writing just about anything, and discovering new technologies.

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  8 Responses to “3 Ways To Boot Ubuntu Linux From a USB Flash Drive”

  1. unetbootin is another option for creating bootable Linux USB installations from an iso image (unetbootin.sourceforge.net). It is available for Windows and Linux (I’m not sure about OSX).

  2. [...] In this article we’ll see 3 way of installing Ubuntu on a USB drive. We’ll see how to create a live USB Ubuntu disk, just like your live CD. Only difference is that we’ll be booting and installing Ubuntu using this live USB diskette, and as last option how to do a full installation of ubuntu on your USB drive. More here [...]

  3. Thanks for the useful info !

    I’m looking for a setup like in option 3 but with a ram drive to write temp and log files.
    I would then also like to have some data files copied to the ram drive from flash during boot and copied back during shut down.

    Thanks in advance

  4. per quanto riguarda il 3^o metodo di installazione l’ho provato e devo dire che se si sta attenti a dove si dice a ubuntu di installare si puo’ evitare di disattivare e/o staccare l’hd.
    ho scelto di far partire direttamente l’installazione e non mi ha dato problemi (anzicche’ far partire la live per poi installare)

    ho incontrato invece alcuni prioblemi con una pen drive usb 3.0: l’intallazione e’ avvenuta senza dare particolari errori. durante l’avvio del sistema operativo installato accade quanto segue: se faccio partire la pen drive 3.0 da una porta usb 3.0 si blocca dicendo che non trova l’uuid xxxxx-xxxxx-xxxxx se invece faccio partire la pendrive da porta usb 2.0 parte regolarmente. qualche idea a riguardo?

    • Al momento non ho porte USB 3.0, quindi provo a buttarla li, ma direi che il sistema non è pronto a fare boot su usb 3.0.
      E’ Grub che ti dà questo errore ?

  5. I’ve been looking up cool usb flash drives for special occasions or just for looks. They still work the same way, but a little show sure makes it more fun!

  6. I broke my hard drive and I am struggling with option 3: install ubuntu on a flash drive.
    Options 1 and 2 work fine but you cant recover disk space by deleting files.

    When I try to install ubuntu to a flash drive (option 3), the installer crashes. usually ~50% of “Installing System”. Once during language packs, and once while scanning the local repository.

    I have tried different versions of ubuntu, different installation source media, different destination media, different distrobutions and have tried running the installer on a different laptop to no avail.

    is there maybe something i am doing wrong? (trim, partitioning, installation, whatever)
    Is there more that i should know aside from just click install and let it do it’s thing?
    is there a way for me to read the crash report to find out what is making it crash?

    Also, I have a friend whome I have done this for (He is running ubuntu 12.04). Could i just partition the drive like his is, drag and drop the files from his USB to mine and install grub? if this is an option, can some one explain how?

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