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How do I install Ubuntu to a USB key?

Is it possible to install Ubuntu 11.04 to a 4gb USB key and run the OS but when you shut off for it to retain files, settings, etc?

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marked as duplicate by James, Marco Ceppi Dec 26 '11 at 23:53

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

Absolutely. A USB key acts just like any HD. Most BIOSes these days can boot off them.

I ran my NAS off a USB stick for about a year to keep the power usage down. It's deathly slow however, you will frequently be twiddling your fingers waiting for it to write a file, and you can generally go and make a three course dinner while it does an apt-get dist-upgrade!

There is nothing special you need to do to make it retain settings, you write to it like any other normal filesystem once its installed.

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Fantastic, is there a good step by step somewhere for the novice user? – Mano Nov 19 '11 at 15:55
I don't think there's any special instructions to follow. Plug in the USB stick, boot off an Ubuntu install CD as per normal, and just choose the USB stick as the medium to install to. You can unplug all other HDs first so there's no chance of getting it wrong. This is quite old, but for example:… – Caesium Nov 19 '11 at 16:01
Thanks I will give it a try. – Mano Nov 19 '11 at 16:27

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