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What is main differences between running Ubuntu on LiveUSB (created with Startup Disk Creator with persistent storage) and install Ubuntu to partitions on USB disk?

I love LiveUSB but I can't put password on it, and it's a pain if I need to click Try Ubuntu everytime.

If I just complete install Ubuntu to USB disk, is there any performance issue? And, will it run on almost any computer like LiveUSB do?

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up vote 1 down vote accepted

Short and Sweet -

Live USB is nothing but running Ubuntu like a Live CD. Changes wont be saved, etc,etc.

While if u install Ubuntu on a USB, it is just like having Ubuntu Installed on a HardDisk!

I have used the 2nd option many times, and it gives u the best portable OS ever!

Performance... yes it will run a little slower than usual on USB 2.0

on USB 3.0 its fast enough, provided you don't clutter it with too many installs and data.

Needless to say, your USB life expectancy will be reduced as there will be immense number of Read/Write cycles(it still isnt too less)

I would suggest you a USB Install instead of Live USB.

Hope you know the procedure. If not, post another question(for better understanding for people who refer later) and you will get a guide easily! :)

Thankyou :)

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No, with persistent storage, changes will be saved even if it run from LiveUSB, it's just like full OS without password and fancy compiz effect, what I need to know is about performance issue – Nur May 7 '13 at 17:48
as i said, using USB 2.0 u will get okay speed...a little less than usual..not much diff though...with 3.0 u'll get proper speed... but obvious;y u have to take care that u dont clutter it with too many apps and services(more imp as they run in the background)...I have used both and suggest the later...even with LiveUSB, u r not going to get like lightning performance or something, so its better u use USB install as it is more stable than LiveUSB(obviously coz its like a complete standalone install) – Nirmik May 7 '13 at 18:24
Thanks for ur explanation, I'm going for USB install now, one more question, will it work an almost any computer like LiveUSB do? – Nur May 9 '13 at 16:18
Yup...if liveUSB runs, this too will...i.e... basically u need usb boot enabled...thats it! :D Do accept the answer for people refering in the future :) thankyou :) – Nirmik May 9 '13 at 20:02

There are two differences.

First LiveUSB is meant to be run that way. You boot the best way for USB, you access the best way for USB and your "partition" the best way for USB (even if you don't actually do it your self). Installing Ubuntu to a USB disk will not let Ubuntu know to take special precautions because your using a removable disk. Most notable liveUSB stores the root file system in RAM where an installed instance the root partition would be on disk.

Second, booting to USB takes a special setup. Not saying that Linux can't do it, but it could get a bit harry around the time when grub tries to install or update. Most usb installs will use something like ISOLinux or similar to allow booting. UMS drivers may or may not work from the BIOS/EFI level to allow you to boot a normal system. In short, installing and booting Ubuntu from a USB drive could be more of a PIA then it's worth in regards to booting or updating the booting.

As a side note, you will need etx3 and USB modules complied into the kernel to boot a root file system from USB. I am not sure they are (the USB ones) by default. --This is a side note because they may be modules included in initramfs, I just don't know but if your going to boot root from USB then your going to have to find out.

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So LiveUSB faster because root filesystem stored in RAM, instead of on USB drive, like complete installation on USB drive? – Nur May 7 '13 at 17:54
In theory, yes, in practice maybe. It's more about stability, and what will actually work. – coteyr May 8 '13 at 1:03
One more question, will full install on USB drive works on almost any computer like LiveUSB do? – Nur May 9 '13 at 16:23
Yes an no, it should work for anything that can boot to USB properly, but that can be a bit odd when working with some computers. – coteyr May 9 '13 at 18:31

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