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I have tried countless times, and failed.

I have a FAT32 USB stick, and I tried formatting to EXT4 filesystem, but it tells me I can't continue on to install Ubuntu because the filesystem "is busy" always.

What are the basic steps of conversion, installation fully to USB, and troubleshooting?

I am unaware of why the filesystem is "busy". It says it's busy because I'm using it, but how can I not use it? I never thought I was using it in the first place.

I want a full install on a USB, not just persistent storage.

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You're running a Live USB, and you're trying to format the USB to EXT4? –  Uri Herrera Jan 14 '13 at 22:03
You don't have to format anything manually before installing Ubuntu. Let the installer do the job for you. –  mikewhatever Jan 14 '13 at 22:03
You need a second USB drive, 8GB or more, if you want to install from a Live USB. If you have a Live DVD (or CD for 12.04), then one USB drive will do. –  user68186 Jan 14 '13 at 22:11
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