I own a laptop (Acer Aspire V3-571G) running Windows 8.1 using an UEFI to boot the system. I've read that changing this to BIOS would cause trouble with Windows, so it is not an option.

First I tried to create a Ubuntu 14.04 LiveUSB with persistence enabled. However I couldn't manage to boot it (it never showed up in the list of bootable devices). A live version of the same distribution however was bootable.

The problem with the LiveUSB version is, that I can't do any permanent changes to the installed packages, which I need to customize. There are a view guides out there telling how to create a custom Linux distribution using Linux tools. However I couldn't find anything on how to do it on a Windows machine.

So how do I setup a custom Ubuntu 14.04 Live-USB on Windows 8.1? Any advice is highly appreciated.

  • what is the laptop model? Oct 23, 2014 at 8:23
  • It's a Acer Aspire V3-571G -- I'll update the question. Oct 23, 2014 at 8:28

2 Answers 2


If you want to support EFI boot mode, you should use Rufus.

First off, download Rufus. Plug in the the Ubuntu ISO and let it churn. Make sure you have it set to GPT partiton scheme for UEFI computers.

When that is done, open up your favorite partition editor that is not on the USB drive. Shrink the partition containing Ubuntu to 1GB. That should be enough. In the remaining unallocated space, create an EXT4 partion named casper-rw. The naming must be exact.

When you reboot, your PC should detect the drive and allow you to use a persistent Ubuntu USB drive on almost any computer in the world.

Note that you must boot with the persistent flag the first time. To do this, simply choose the boot menu edit option (F6) when starting up. Add persistent to the end of the line. Once you are in, mount your USB drive and look for syslinux.cfg. Replace the contents of that file with this:

default persistent
label persistent
  say Booting an Ubuntu Persistent session...
  kernel /casper/vmlinuz
  append  file=/cdrom/preseed/ubuntu.seed boot=casper persistent initrd=/casper/initrd.lz quiet splash noprompt --

Sourced from this answer, this script will make your system boot persistent all the time and remove the "Try/Install" so it boots faster. You can still install Ubuntu to guest sessions using Ubiquity, though.

  • just tried the above. The UEFI does not recognise the USB drive. Oct 23, 2014 at 11:44
  • @FirefoxMetzger Try using the "GPT" scheme instead.
    – Kaz Wolfe
    Oct 25, 2014 at 7:38
  • Using 'GPT' I was able to boot from USB (finally). I can also save data to the casper-rw. However the packages I install via 'apt' don't get saved. Is there a way to fix this? Oct 25, 2014 at 17:31
  • 1
    If you want to do upgrades to system, you have to have a full install not a installer with persistence. You cannot update installer as it will always be just as imaged originally. If you flash drive is 8GB or more you can do a full install. But with 8GB you will not have a lot of room to work with.
    – oldfred
    Oct 25, 2014 at 19:13

Warning! This does not give a direct answer to your question but it gives a work-around with some bonus content. Hope it helps.

You can always install Ubuntu in VirtualBox, do your thing there and as a bonus also test your modified Ubuntu in a virtual environment before you even try it out on your real hardware. Booting from a virtual USB is not an issue but as far as I remember you need the Oracle version for the USB support, which is not available in the open source one. When I'm doing stuff like this I always check and double check in VBox. That's why every custom Ubuntu I've managed to create never failed to boot or give me serious headaches on my machine.

Take a look at https://help.ubuntu.com/community/LiveCDCustomization#Testing_the_CD (VBox is mentioned before the Troubleshooting sub-section). Make sure you also read the full article. It's worth it.

Of course testing in VBox does NOT guarantee you a 100% successful deployment especially when it comes to hardware (e.g. you add/remove some driver) but it is definitely the preferable way to do customizations and improve their quality.

EDIT For information on EFI booting see @Whaaaaaat's reply. In addition see @FirefoxMetzger's comment under this reply for the complete chain combining both mine and the reply of @Whaaaaaat for testing and booting the customized Ubuntu Live-USB.

  • @Whaaaaaat using the link you provided and the answer above I was able to create a USB drive that does what is needed. But which answer should now be marked as correct, as one wouldn't solve it without the other. Oct 29, 2014 at 21:44
  • :D The one that helped you the most should be marked as the correct answer. You can upvote the other one. At the end it is up to you to decide since you are the one who asked the question. :) Oct 29, 2014 at 22:02
  • 1
    I need 15 rep to upvote x). Besides here is the basic chain for Windows users who want to have a custom Ubuntu live stick: VBox (install Ubuntu) --> follow the tutorial above --> get the custom .iso --> export it to Windows --> test it in VBox --> but it on a USB with Rufus in Windows (using @Whaaaaaat's answer) --> fully shutdown the PC (maybe disable fast boot) --> in UEFI: (maybe set password), disable secure Boot, enable the Boot menu and correct boot order --> pray to any god(s) you believe in --> boot from your USB --> have fun Oct 30, 2014 at 7:10
  • Thanks. I will add a reference to @Whaaaaaat's answer so that it can be linked to the marked answer for this question. Oct 30, 2014 at 15:01

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