Ask Ubuntu is a question and answer site for Ubuntu users and developers. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

I want to install Ubuntu into a pen drive. The pen drive is 16GB and I want to be able to boot from it (Not the LiveCD but the actual installed system) and be able to update and install new packages.

At the end I want to be able to have the latest Firefox, Apache, MySQL, PHP installed and an updated Ubuntu in it.

I have read several questions but they are all how to install Ubuntu FROM a pen drive. I want to install it TO a pen drive.

share|improve this question
Uri that is some smart thing you did there. I recommend you put it here since that question is more for multiple installers. This is to boot the actual installed system from the USB. But man that is smart and obvious. – Luis Alvarado Feb 23 '12 at 2:44
Looks like there are duplicate questions here, here, and here. There are even related questions like this one or this one on how to optimise things. Hope that helps. – Tom Brossman Feb 23 '12 at 8:58
+1 Tom. You found a whole bunch of them. 2 of the links are very good. The only thing is I tried one of the answers that work in 10.10 and it does not work in 11.10. But apart from that I like the virtual way of doing it with kvm. – Luis Alvarado Feb 23 '12 at 14:42
up vote 3 down vote accepted

As per my answer here:

How to create a bootable USB with multiple ISO images in it

This is what i did to run Xubuntu From a SD card it applies to USB sticks too it's really simple actually.

First we need 2 USB sticks, one for the liveCD's and the other to install the OS.

Ok, so now first make a liveUSB bootable drive, I recommend you to use UNetbootiN, to do this, pick the iso and create the liveUSB.

Now, that you have the bootable USB, reboot your PC and start the liveUSB, once you're in there start the live session.

Once you're in connect the second USB to the PC and format it to EXT4, then simply point the installer to the USB drive and that's it ( i went a little on the extreme side, and disconnected all of my Hard drives to avoid grub being insalled on them or messing the existing installations).

And now you only need to set the BIOS of your PC to boot the USB device where you installed the System.

share|improve this answer
Thanks Uri. Again that is one wicked way of doing it. – Luis Alvarado Feb 23 '12 at 3:01
This looks an interesting answer - can someone confirm to me though that its really necessary to unplug all drives? – nwaltham Jan 19 '13 at 14:20

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.