I have been looking at Live disks with persistence and the fact that you can install Ubuntu to a Flash Drive, but there seems to be no stated way to install Ubuntu on a USB drive with persistence and a way to boot it from any EFI based computer. I have a spare 124GB Flash Drive that I would like to run as a "portable" Personal OS boot device. In short I want to be able to plug this device into any computer (specifically using EFI but BIOS support is also nice) and run a full Ubuntu distro with all of my personal files and applications on it. I recently have used the mkusb code from another post to try to accomplish this and while it was the closest to what I wanted it was only a persistent version of a Live disk (in other words it was a demo set up to run like a full os.) It was interesting, though, because it made me wonder that if there was a full iso file for the code to use instead of the Live USB iso will it create a persistent, full, boot-able, drive, or (with my current luck) end up being a disaster.

I have currently looked at nearly every main break off post similar to my question but I have not found an answer. If this question has been answered in some other forum then please send me that way so I can stop obsessing over this dumb idea that I have been trying to accomplish non-stop for 4 days. Seriously, I'm loosing sleep over this.


I have yet to test this but I think it should work:

  1. Create a LiveUSB installation media for Ubuntu (NOT on your target device ie. the 124GB flash drive you are talking about)
  2. Reboot and select Try Ubuntu. Verify that it has booted with EFI support by [ -d /sys/firmware/efi ] && echo UEFI || echo BIOS.
  3. Insert and mount your 124GB flash drive.
  4. Delete all partitions and volumes on the flash drive using GParted.
  5. Start the Ubiquity installer and when asked for target device choose your flash drive.
  6. IMPORTANT: In the option labelled location to install bootloader don't forget to set it to your flash drive.
  7. Enjoy.

PS: This has a known side-effect (may be good or maybe bad depending on your requirements) that the grub will also detect all OS kernels on all attached devices (like your HDD) and add them to grub.

  • 1
    @asharhasan awesome posting, thx. I've run into issues with the HDD grub mods you've mentioned. (Corporate laptop). A way to avoid that is to do the install with the hard drive removed from the computer first. Note, I did have to start the OS with NOMODESET QUIET SPLASH... – zipzit Dec 25 '15 at 20:40
  • @zipzit Thanks for that piece of information. I'll add it to the answer. – Ashhar Hasan Dec 26 '15 at 12:58

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