I've got a USB stick loaded with a live installation of Ubuntu for testing purposes. When I want to use it, I generally reboot to boot into the live USB installation.

I'd like to know what the best way to run the live system from the USB without having to reboot is. I think the default USB creator app uses QEMU to run the system, but I'm sure there are also other virtual machine options to do this (Virtualbox, KVM...?).

1 Answer 1


With Qemu

sudo qemu-system-x86_64 -m 512 -enable-kvm -hda /dev/sdb

Qemu alternatives

Another option I've found, with QEMU (not sure this is the most effective way to launch it):

$ lsusb
Bus 002 Device 006: ID 0930:6545 Toshiba Corp. Kingston DataTraveler 102 Flash Drive / HEMA Flash Drive 2 GB / PNY Attache 4GB Stick

With this I've got the bus and device numbers ready to pass to the qemu command to launch my live system from the USB stick:

sudo qemu-system-x86_64 -m 512 -enable-kvm -usb -device usb-host,hostbus=2,hostaddr=6

Alternatively, this also worked for me:

sudo qemu-system-x86_64 -m 512 -enable-kvm -usb -usbdevice disk:/dev/sdb

With Virtualbox


  • Hi David, I wonder if you want to complete this fine answer?
    – guntbert
    Jan 3, 2018 at 16:59

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