I want to install Lubuntu on my 32GB flash drive, but I don't know how.

I know a little bit about partitioning. When I go into GParted, my USB drive comes up as /dev/sdb. I already wiped it completely. There's no partitions on it at all.

I have two questions though:

  1. Is it safe to have a swap partition on a USB drive?

  2. How many partitions do I need to create, and what type of partition do they need to be (ext3, ext4)?


If you want to install to a USB drive you should be able to do it like any other install. Boot a LiveCD, install to the USB drive instead of the internal HDD.

You should also be able to do it with most Live USB Creators. It creates a HDD "file" with the remainder of the space. You can generally select the size of the disk with a slider or enter in MB.
You can see here it talks about Persistance. The only difference here is that, I believe, you can't do distro upgrades.

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  • I'm after the full installation. I've heard that the persistent method is rather limited and doesn't let you update core files, or install drivers. If it's possible, I'd like to install Lubuntu on my USB drive, just like I would if it was a hard drive. When I boot up my laptop from the USB drive, I want it to boot into Lubuntu just like it would if it was on a hard drive. – Devon Mar 11 '13 at 19:46
  • Updated answer. – Cipher Menial Mar 21 '13 at 23:21

Universal USB Installer: http://www.pendrivelinux.com/universal-usb-installer-easy-as-1-2-3/

Persistent Linux installation: http://www.pendrivelinux.com/what-is-persistent-linux/

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  • I thought the only way to get a full installation was to create two partitions. One for the root folder, and one for the home folder? I've heard that the persistent method is rather limited and doesn't let you update core files, or install drivers. – Devon Mar 11 '13 at 19:36

Following is step by step for installing Lubuntu 12.04 on a 8GB flash drive on an Intel machine. Only the / partition is required.

Turn off and unplug the computer. (See note at bottom) Remove the side from the case. Unplug the power cable from the hard drive. Plug the computer back in. Insert the flash drive. Insert the Live CD or Live USB. Start the computer, the CD/USB should boot. Select language Select install Lubuntu. Select Download updates while installing and Select Install this third-party software. Continue At "Installation type" select "Something else". Continue Confirm Device is correct. Select "New Partition Table" Click Continue on the drop down.

(Optional partition for use on Windows machine) Click "Free space" and "Add". Select "Primary". Make "New partition size..." about 1000 megabytes. Location = Beginning. "Use as:" = "FAT32 file system". And "Mount point" = /windows. Select "OK"

Click "free space" and then "Add". Select "Primary", "New partition size ..." = 4000 to 6000 megabytes, Beginning, Ext4, and Mount point = "/" then OK.

(Optional home partition) Click "free space" and then "Add". Select "Primary", "New partition size ..." = 1000 to 4000 megabytes, Beginning, Ext2, and Mount point = "/home" then OK.

(Optional swap space, allows hibernation) Click "free space" and then "Add". Select "Primary", "New partition size ..." = remaining space, (1000 to 2000 megabytes, or same size as RAM), Beginning and "Use as" = "swap area" then OK.

(Important) Confirm "Device for boot loader installation" points to the USB drive. Default should be ok if HDD was unplugged.

Click "Install Now". Select your location. Continue. Select Keyboard layout. Continue. Insert your name, username, password, computer name and select if you want to log in automatically or require a password. Selecting "Encrypt my home folder" is a good option if you are worried about loosing your USB drive. Select Continue.

Wait until install is complete. Turn off computer and plug in the HDD. Stick the side panel back on.

Note: You may omit disabling the hard drive if, when partitioning you choose to install grub to the root of the usb drive you are installing Lubuntu to, (ie sdb not sdb1). Be cautious, many people have overwritten the HDD MBR. You can revise grub later, if you wish.

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Check out the answer: How can I make an existing persistant live USB installation load more of the OS to RAM? The title is a little misleading, it's about a full installation on a usb stick, and some optimizations you do to make it run faster.

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