I'd like to fully install Ubuntu 12.10 onto a 16GB USB 3.0 flash drive, not create a LiveUSB, but to treat the flash drive as an external hard drive.

I've read it's possible and I know my computer can boot from it. However, it doesn't work when I try. I've booted a LiveUSB from another flash drive and installed Ubuntu onto the 16GB one. It finished successfully, but when I try to boot from it and it takes me straight to Windows 8 instead. I feel I've done something when installing the boot loader.

It'd be great if I had some step-by-step instructions for:

  • how many partitions to make,
  • what kind,
  • how big, and
  • where to install the boot loader.
  • @vasa1 A persistent USB is a kind of live USB--one where part of the disk allows changes to be saved that persist across reboots. If the OP truly means to ask what he has asked--not to treat the USB drive as live media, but to treat it like any external hard drive (and the question is pretty clear about that)--then the existing answer here doesn't address that, but the answers there do. – Eliah Kagan Jan 11 '13 at 8:26
  • @vasa1 I wouldn't delete them just yet, the answer here might suit the OP quite well. John might comment to tell us he thinks this question is separate from that one after all. – Eliah Kagan Jan 11 '13 at 8:36
  • @Eliah, the post isn't quite what I need. Like Vasa said, I want to install it onto a USB flash drive. Also, when I was trying to install Ubuntu side by side with Windows 8, that post didn't really help me. It doesn't explain what partitions to make or anything – John Jan 11 '13 at 15:14
  • Here's a cautionary article that may be relevant to those "dual-booting" with Windows 8: Windows 8′s Fast Startup does not play well with dual-boot systems. – user25656 Jan 11 '13 at 16:04

Use the Universal USB Installer to copy your ubuntu ISO file to your USB drive and make it bootable, and on the step 4 you set the amount of space it will use to store the changes, this way it won't revert to the default state when you boot.

(This software is recommended on the official Ubuntu guide).

enter image description here

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  • 1
    Used this on a kubuntu install. One problem is that some settings are not preserved between boots. Nothing that one can't overcome; but perhaps worth mentioning. E.g. changes to keyboard, locale, host file, etc are reverted on each boot. Easily fixed by a boot script - but worth mentioning. – Runium Jan 11 '13 at 1:40
  • Specifically to what are you calling changes? And this changes, are saved automatically? – Lucio Jan 11 '13 at 1:43
  • Using the USB installer isn't what I had in mind as when I tried to save any of my settings (user accounts, wallpapers, etc), they'd have all been reverted to default. Though, as @Sukminder mentioned, if it can be fixed with a boot script then it's not a problem. What would that script be, anyway? – John Jan 11 '13 at 1:52
  • @John: Guess there is a way to* force save* settings on changes/or halt/etc. Boot script is not exactly correct in my case; I added a script trough login; IIRC (look at e.g. askubuntu.com/questions/814/how-to-run-scripts-on-start-up). There I called a bash script with various copying of files etc. And some gconftool-2 commands for e.g. wallpaper: ilkinbalkanay.blogspot.no/2008/01/… – Runium Jan 11 '13 at 2:10

This is almost certainly a Secure Boot issue. The vast majority of Windows 8 computers ship with Secure Boot active, and it will prevent you from booting another OS unless that OS supports Secure Boot. Although Ubuntu 12.10 nominally supports Secure Boot, the statement that another computer was used to prepare the boot medium suggests that it was almost certainly installed without Secure Boot support -- and probably in BIOS mode, as well.

The easiest solution is to disable Secure Boot; however, be aware that the procedure to do this varies greatly from one computer to another. You need to dig into your firmware and locate a suitable option, which might or might not have an obvious label or obvious settings.

When you're done, you might need to try both of two boot options in the computer's built-in boot manager. One may enable you to boot the USB drive in BIOS mode and the other to boot in EFI mode. Again, the labels on these options can vary from one computer to another.

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