Funny story, I actually succeeded in doing this a 9 months ago but I didn't write down the commands/procedure I used and have managed to completely forget it.

Does anyone know how I can go about making a live usb without taking up the whole usb stick? Using dd or usb creator results in the whole usb being used up. I've tried using

dd if=/path/to/iso of=/dev/sdb count=6GB bs=2048

and then using parted to create a partition after 6.1GB but the partition was usable, trying to format gave a "quarks error".

I tried making a partition at the beginning of the stick and just copying the content of the iso to it. It managed to boot to GRUB but crashed during boot up as it was unable to find the squashfs file.

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    If an UEFI only installer, you just need a FAT32 partition large enough. UEFI only USB key, just extract ISO ( 7 zip or similar) to FAT32 formated flash & set boot flag. askubuntu.com/questions/395879/… For larger flash drives I typically do a full install and use grub2's loopmount to directly boot ISOs. help.ubuntu.com/community/Grub2/ISOBoot & askubuntu.com/questions/388382/… – oldfred May 22 '18 at 15:15
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    You can also boot ISO('s) on the drive if they are loop mounted in grub. – C.S.Cameron May 22 '18 at 19:18
  • I think what you want is a persistent live drive according to the answer by @C.S.Cameron. Such a drive can be used to store files. – sudodus May 24 '18 at 9:31

Mkusb will make a Live or Persistent Live USB stick with:

  • Fat32 boot partitions.

  • ISO9660 read only OS partition.

  • Ext2 Casper-rw persistence partition, (optional).

  • NTFS data partition accessible to Linux and Windows, (optional).


It's possible to make multiple partitions on an USB stick - but maybe, for example windows will just list one or none instead of all partitions.

You should not just extract the ISO to the Stick, but use a tool as for example YUMI ( http://www.pendrivelinux.com/yumi-multiboot-usb-creator/ )

I'm trying to provide some links for patitioning and more:

First for a solution via GUI-Applications, you can e.g. use GPARTED Live USB on a 2-partition usb-drive

How to partition an USB stick (example): https://www.linuxquestions.org/questions/linux-hardware-18/making-multiple-partitions-on-usb-memory-stick-333933/#post1697892

Your Question is also possibly or partly duplicate to https://unix.stackexchange.com/questions/30322/how-do-i-partition-a-usb-drive-so-that-its-bootable-and-has-a-windows-compatibl ?

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