Copy Ubuntu Install from Internal Drive to Bootable USB that boots BIOS or UEFI

An external drive can easily be copied to USB using dd or Disks 'Create Disk Image" / "Restore Disk Image".

However these methods only create a drive that boots in the same BIOS or UEFI mode as the original.

It is also handy to have a FAT32 or NTFS Data partition that can save data from the computer it was plugged into.

The question is: How can I create a bootable USB drive that is a clone of my desktop and boots in either BIOS or UEFI mode.

It should also have a data partition that can store data from Windows and Apple computers.

1 Answer 1


User's Desktop Ubuntu to Bootable USB, BIOS or UEFI

This is another mkusb hacking project

  • Create a Live USB drive using USB tool of your choice. Mkusb works.

  • Create a Persistent USB drive using mkusb with defaults.*

  • Boot the computer using a Live USB.

  • Plug in Persistent USB target drive.

  • Open GParted and delete all partitions except sdx2 and sdx3 on the target drive.

  • Right click and copy the root partition from the internal drive,

  • Right click the unallocated space on the target drive and select "Paste".

  • If there is a /home partition copy it as well. Do not include any boot or efi partitions.

  • Create a NTFS and/or FAT32 partition as required.

  • Overwrite /dev/sdx2/boot/grub/grub.cfg with /dev/sdx1/boot/grub/grub.cfg.

  • If you want the USB to have the ability to boot ISO files using grub, create the target drive using the usb-pack-efi option. (this replaces grub 2.04 with 2.02).

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