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 am trying to create a USB Persistent Pen Drive that has all the last updates ahd the following "special" packages:

  • Added PPAs with the programs installed. For example Wine.
  • Proprietary Drivers like Nvidia and Broadcom.

Can I install this PPAs or proprietary drivers on a Persistent USB Pen Drive. I ask since in 11.04 and 11.10 I tried and I had problems with this. Will try on 12.04 when I buy a new pen drive.

share|improve this question
up vote 1 down vote accepted

You you can.

I would approach this as a full install to USB as opposed to a USB liveCD respin. It simplifies a lot of problems.

The problem with using a liveCD with persistence is that the paths on which you achieve persistence are limited.

It is much simpler to:
- do a full install to USB - preferred
- remaster the CD/DVD to include the updates and PPAs

If you do a full install to USB, it behaves exactly like a real install as long as you tweak grub to use disk labels instead of UUIDs.

share|improve this answer
Great idea aking. Specially the grub part. – Luis Alvarado Apr 29 '12 at 18:29

The easiest way is to mount the filesystem.squashfs, copy everything out into a temp directory, chroot into that directory, add all of your new entries/download all new packages, and recreate the squashfs. The commands to do so would be as follows:

mkdir /mnt/temp; mount -o loop /path/to/ISO /mnt/temp
mkdir /mnt/temp2; mount -o loop /mnt/temp/casper/filesystem.squashfs /mnt/temp2
mkdir /tmp/toEdit; rsync -avhP /mnt/temp2/* /tmp/toEdit
mount --bind /dev /tmp/toEdit/dev
mount --bind /dev/pts /tmp/toEdit/dev/pts
mount --bind /sys /tmp/toEdit/sys
mount --bind /proc /tmp/toEdit/proc
cp /etc/resolv.conf /tmp/toEdit/etc/
chroot /tmp/toEdit

From here just edit like you would a normal system, then when you exit make a new squashfs and proceed like normal.

I WOULD NOT RECOMMEND a full install on the usb, if you plan on using the usb for longer than a year or two. That will eat your read/write cycles up in no time and bring the lifetime of the usb to about 1/10 of what it should be. Aside from that, don't forget to make your secondary casper-rw partition and put persistent as a kernel argument. Good Luck!

share|improve this answer
+1 because of the nice guide darkdragn. Thanks. – Luis Alvarado Apr 29 '12 at 18:29

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.