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Possible Duplicate:
How do I install Ubuntu to a USB key?
How do I get a live-USB to use a partition for persistence?

I would like as full of an install as possible (most notably no casper, just straight on the drive) on a USB stick, but I'm not allowed to touch the current configuration of the computer I'll be running it on at all (except of course changing the boot options to boot from usb). Most guides I read are about getting a live install with persistence on USB, or (I think) still replace the MBR with GRUB. Is there any way to combine the two, and not touch the underlying system?

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marked as duplicate by Anwar Shah, RolandiXor, con-f-use, Eliah Kagan, Tom Brossman Sep 13 '12 at 19:28

This question was marked as an exact duplicate of an existing question.

another possible solution: How do I get a live-USB to use a partition for persistence? – con-f-use Sep 13 '12 at 15:51
Installing Ubuntu to an USB stick (the usual way from LiveCD) will not change anything on another hard drive. To be sure you can unplugg the hard drive in question and boot the LiveCD. Than install on the USB stick and replug the hard drive. If USB boot is enabled in BIOS it will boot from the stick. – con-f-use Sep 13 '12 at 15:52
@Anwar's post may be the best way, but if it were me, and I really didn't want to touch the underlying system, I would temporarily disable the hard disk using the BIOS, and boot from a liveCD to make sure there are no mistakes. Or, I'd make sure I know how to restore the MBR in case GRUB got installed (not hard to do if you have the right tools). – Marty Fried Sep 13 '12 at 15:55