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Sorry about my weird question in advance.

My aim is to install Ubuntu -actually Lubuntu- on a USB disk. This is not a problem. I can and I am doing this. However, is it possible to use the same USB disk in different computers? With different computers I mean different hardware.

Like installing lubuntu on a 32-bit computer with a specific hardware, and then plugging-in the usb into another 32-bit computer.

Can my Lubuntu understand that the hardware is changed and fixes itself depending on the hardware?

Is this method faster than live-usb? I guess it is. But, the after the hardware change, will it become faster?

Live-usb installation takes too long and works really really slow. I want to make the process faster. I want to plug the usb into computer and boot it as fast as possible.

What can I do to speed up this process? Does installing lubuntu on a usb with computer A, and then plugging in the usb stick to computer B works? Does that usb stick, that operating system understand the hardware change and fix accordingly?

Thank you very much in advance.

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2 Answers 2

I haven't tried this in practice yet, but to my knowledge even an installed version of Ubuntu will detect hardware changes on boot, so in theory installing to a USB drive and plugging it into a different computer should work in general. Once the system boots, it should adapt to the hardware in the machine just like the live USB does.

One potential issue is that GRUB might address the wrong drive if you use the USB disk in a computer with a different drive configuration then the one with which you installed the USB disk. As a result, it might try to boot from the wrong disk. You might want to do some research into how GRUB addresses drives and how to make sure it will pick the right one.

However, performance degradation with a UDB disk is largely due to the fact that certain write operations (specifically, modifying data in a sector) are time-consuming on Flash memory (the core component of every USB stick). Solid-state-drives have some extra logic to speed things up, but USB sticks generally don't. So any operation which involves a lot of writing to the disk (swapping comes to mind) will slow you down. If performance is crucial, look into getting a USB hard disk (i.e. with a magnetic disk inside).

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My experience is that the 32-bit version of Ubuntu (I prefer Xubuntu) works just fine on any computer when configured as a LiveUSB. I take the same stick and plug it in different computers (32- or 64-bit), then the kernel detects all necessary hardware at load time and loads the required drivers. It has worked for me on several occasions without a hitch (well, unless Ubuntu has incompatibilities with specific hardware).

If you're actually looking into installing Ubuntu on the USB key (NOT just a LiveUSB), then I would suggest to check out this question: How do I install Ubuntu to a USB key? (without using Startup Disk Creator). I've never tried something like this, and there might be issues here and there, but I would expect the kernel to handle hardware changes intelligently.

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What about installation? Not Live USB, but installation? –  user1652575 Feb 12 at 9:50

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