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I want to temporarily try Ubuntu. I want to run it from my USB portable hard drive (formatted as NTFS), mess around for a little, install some stuff, shutdown and remove it. However, after following how to create a bootable USB drive, when I click Create, it says it will overwrite the Master Boot Record. I imagine this could be dangerous, but since I don't mess around with file systems often I'm not completely sure. The portable HDD has a bunch of stuff I don't want to lose. As far as I know, the existing partition takes up the entire drive. I want to still be able to access everything on the drive from Windows afterwards. Will I be able to?

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3 Answers 3

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It wants to repartition and reformat the entire disk because the Live USB must be formatted as FAT in order to boot. If you want to do it back up your files first.

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Thanks! Guess I'll try some other way. –  user132100 Feb 15 '13 at 3:00

Yes, of course. I’ve tried Ubuntu on USB frequently, it’s totally safe.

But I think you can’t create a bootable Ubuntu USB on NTFS, you should use FAT32.

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I even installed Ubuntu alongside another OS on a USB drive some day! After removing USB, nothing changed. :D –  AliNa Feb 15 '13 at 1:44

If you just want to try out Ubuntu just burn a disk, you can launch Ubuntu and try out its features without installing Ubuntu to a hard drive. The only thing you will not be able to do is save files. But you could just plug in your external drive and use that to save files etc.

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USB is faster and saves every changes you make during a try. And no costs since you can reuse it. –  AliNa Feb 15 '13 at 2:45

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