I booted from a live usb of Ubuntu 15.10 and tried to install it on another 16 gig Transcend flash drive. Made a root and a swap partition. I explicity set the bootloader installion to /dev/sdb (16gig Transcend).

But after the install, grub got installed on my laptop's hard drive and the system got installed on the flash drive.

The drive boots off of my laptop but not any other one. And if I go into the boot menu of my laptop(running windows 8) without inserting the flash drive, it shows an extra grub option, which wasn't there before. So I'm fairly certain that the installer went crazy and installed grub there instead of the flash drive.

I've tried this at least 5 times now but I get the same thing.

How can I fix this? Any and all help is appreciated.

Thank you!

  • If you have Windows 8, then it is UEFI. And you must have booted installer in UEFI mode. I also have tried to get grub to install to sdb internal & flash drive, but with UEFI it only installs to sda. You must use gpt partitioning on your flash drive. Include the ESP - efi system partition. Then copy /EFI/ubuntu to both /EFI/ubuntu & /EFI/boot on flash drive's ESP. In /EFI/boot rename shimx64.efi to bootx64.efi. details: help.ubuntu.com/community/Installation/UEFI-and-BIOS or: askubuntu.com/questions/559007/… – oldfred Nov 25 '15 at 21:51
  • Thank you!Well I did succeed in making a full usb install work without doing anything extra. But I think that might've been using legacy BIOS. I'm not too sure. Do you think if I boot the live usb in bios I'd be able to do the install successfully? – AnmolMahajan Nov 25 '15 at 21:54
  • How you boot install media, UEFI or BIOS is then how it installs. And best to have flash drive with gpt and both ESP & bios_grub partitions. Then you can install grub either way or possibly both, but better to only keep one way, either BIOS or UEFI. – oldfred Nov 25 '15 at 23:11

From my understanding you want to a fully functional system installed onto the USB that runs on any computer. I haven't heard of anyone doing this outside of the after mentioned Live Boot. The installer is doing its job in creating the system partition on the USB as requested, but the boot loader is installed on the hard system. In other words it is on the computer.

I do not believe its possible to do want you want. As the primary disc (where your windows is installed) has the boot loader partition, and thus automatically installs grub there. I don't think its possible for a working computer to refer to its normal boot partition, AND a partition created on an external USB. Unless it was setup with the boot partition on the USB in the first place. Which can be done on a system without a pre loaded boot partition. Your best bet is to stick with the live boot feature on the USB. Goodluck hope this helps, and isn't totally wrong!

  • I'm not too sure about that. I do have a usb with a full installation of elementary that hasn't failed to work on any and all computers. – AnmolMahajan Nov 25 '15 at 21:56

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