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What I'd like to do: have Ubuntu installed on a USB drive and from there install any ubuntu version on a hdd.

This is kinda different from using usb-creator because I'd like to have a persistent ubuntu install on the USB drive and not upgrade it every 6 months. From there I'd like to be able to install the most recent ubuntu version.

I think it's just a matter of configuring ubiquity, but don't know if this is the case and how exactly do this.

EDIT: Let's clarify the persistent thing:

  • suppose I have my USB with ubuntu precise on it
  • suppose quantal is out in the wild
  • suppose that I want to install quantal on the hdd of a computer
  • suppose that I want/can use only the USB drive with precise on it
  • I should erase/upgrade precise on the USB drive to quantal and then install it on the hard drive

I don't want to modify my ubuntu install on the USB drive, I'd like to be able to install the newer ubuntu version (quantal) on a hdd from another one (precise) on a USB drive. There's no problem for me to add files to the USB drive, as long as it doesn't interfere with the distro on it.

I'd better avoid upgrading the installation on the hdd

Hope this helps

share|improve this question
A little bit clarification on persistent ubuntu would be more helpful. Because every 6 month a new ubuntu version is released . If you don't want to upgrade don't do it. Anyway to get latest ubuntu you need to download that 700mb file on every 6 month. – Web-E Jun 25 '12 at 15:42
The short solution is to put the new squashfs file on your persistent USB every six months, and manually take the steps to expand out the squashfs for whatever version you want onto an HDD< and then chroot in and set up grub, etc. Essentially a manual online version of what ubiquity does. – izx Jun 26 '12 at 9:25
@izx post it as an answer :) I suppose that ubiquity at some point starts to install packages from a repository, can't i just set that repository address to the newest ubuntu in town? – Dariopnc Jun 26 '12 at 10:29
Thanks for the suggestion Dario; I starred your Q and will do so when I have some more time. Ubiquity does not install packages -- it literally copies the Live-CD image to the target, except for the alternate CD, where it installs packages from the CD-ROM repository. The only "install" that does what you suggest is the mini.iso netinstall... – izx Jun 26 '12 at 10:42
@izx +1 for net-install, but even if he performs a net-install he has to update his USB to place the required version of mini.iso and the USB itself won't contain an Ubuntu installation but the installer. – Samik Jun 26 '12 at 10:54

Up to now I think there are 2 possible ways:

  1. Tweak the net-install process (I still don't know how to exactly do that)
  2. More involved procedure:
    • Create a persistent linux install on the usb
    • Install GRUB2 on it
    • Save the .iso you want to install on the USB drive
    • Create a GRUB entry to boot the .iso to install
    • Boot the .iso and install the distro from there
share|improve this answer

You can make an image of the USB partitions and then write them to the HDD partitions. You can then perform a dist-upgrade from hdd then. See this answer for disk cloning and obviously have some backup of HDD's data before doing such operations.

share|improve this answer
the problem with this procedure is that you have to perform a dist-upgrade on the hdd – Dariopnc Jun 26 '12 at 8:41
@Dariopnc You have to do a dist-upgrade at some point, you said that you don't want to touch the installation in USB. So where else would you plan to do it if not from hdd? – Samik Jun 26 '12 at 9:04
@Samik can't I just tweak the source from where the packages are installed? – Dariopnc Jun 26 '12 at 10:31
@Dariopnc by source do you mean repositories? a dist-upgrade essentially does that, first it updates all of your installed packages then updates repositories, finally selects required/no more required packages for installation/removal. If you manually edit the sources you may face dependency problem as the packages won't be updated as required. Moreover, if you manage to meet all dependencies you have to place the packages either on your USB or HDD, thus either touch your USB installation or transfer them to HDD. – Samik Jun 26 '12 at 10:42

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