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This question already has an answer here:

I am running a live CD with Ubuntu 16.04 and I am trying to create a persistent image on a usb. I have tried everything, but nothing is working. I am on a Toshiba satellite c-50 b. Please help, it is important.

marked as duplicate by Anwar, Andrea Lazzarotto, edwinksl, karel, Zanna Aug 23 '16 at 17:57

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    It would help other if you mention what you have tried till now – twister_void May 15 '16 at 13:07
  • You also can have a look here – Videonauth May 15 '16 at 13:08
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    Logically, your problem is insoluble - nothing is left to try if you have already tried "everything". – waltinator May 15 '16 at 13:19
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I too have previously tried many different instructions without success and had almost given up when I found a working method using the very nicely created mkusb tool.

Prior Considerations

I am assuming you have the .iso file (of Ubuntu 16.04) already downloaded. If not get it.

I have tried running these instructions from a Live USB stick so they should work from a LiveCD as well. Note that the USB stick I am live booting from is different from the one I intend to make as a persistent system. I.e. I have 2 USB sticks:

  1. The one I am booting from (it has Ubuntu 16.04 already)
  2. The one I am about to make a persistent live USB.

Installing mkusb

Open a terminal (Ctrl+Alt+T) and run the following commands one by one:

sudo add-apt-repository universe
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:mkusb/ppa
sudo apt-get update

sudo apt-get install mkusb

The last command might fail (though unlikely) as mkusb (GUI version) has some dependencies that are not preinstalled/active in the live version of Ubuntu.

No need to panic though, the developer has also created a text only version. Run:

sudo apt-get install mkusb-nox

Creating the persistent drive

I will focus on the main GUI version as that is the one I have used. So if you installed the default mkusb (GUI version) run:

sudo -H mkusb /path/to/iso/filename.iso p

For example I have copied my Ubuntu iso to the the home folder, so I type:

sudo -H mkusb ubuntu-16.04-desktop-i386.iso p

The last p parameter tells mkusb that I want a persistent live install. If you omit that you will get a simple live USB.

After you run the command the GUI will open. Follow these steps next:

  • Screen 1: Click Select target device
  • Screen 2: Double-Click the device you want to install to.
  • Screen 3: Double check you have selected the right device. Tick the check-box and click Go.
  • Screens 4, 5: Just click quit and let mkusb decide what's best.

    After this mkusb will load some files. Wait patiently till the next input screen.

  • Screen 6: Enter the percentage of USB drive space you want to allot for persistence file-system. The remaining will show up as portable storage device.

    Note: Do not enter a value like 100% as some memory will be required for the Ubuntu OS files. Apparently entering 100% now works. As mentioned in @LMB comment, using 100% means the entire USB is used for the OS and the persistent storage

Done!

Screenshots

The whole process should look something like the following.

Run the command in terminal:

Run command in terminal

Click Select target device:

Click "Select target device"

Click on the USB drive to make persistent. I want to use my 32 GB one so I double click on option 2:

Click on the USB drive to make persistent

Double check very carefully and confirm. You don't want to mess up another drive.

Double check and confirm

Click quit to let mkusb choose default:

Go with the flow

Click quit to let mkusb choose default:

Go with the flow

Enter a percentage of the drive to reserve for persistence. Mine is a large (32GB) so I allot only 20% ~ 6GB:

Enter percentage of drive for persistent files.

If all goes well you will be greeted by a nice green finished screen:

Finished Successfully

Now plug your newly made persistent drive in any system and check if it really stores data/settings across reboots (Mine does).

References

You can refer to a nice tutorial by Calvin Bui here to guide you through the GUI step by step or read through the detailed documentation https://help.ubuntu.com/community/mkusb
There has been a previous discussion about it here https://askubuntu.com/a/753163/585316 which I found useful.

Update [August 2017]

As of 01-August-2017 the current version of mkusb (ver 12) is renamed as dus. An updated version of this answer for dus is available here: https://askubuntu.com/a/853839/585316

  • @AndreaLazzarotto@terdon Chill guys , I have now added more detailed explicit steps to my answer as I promised in my previous comment. Sorry for the delay, I had a long day and needed rest. I had also prepared a more tutorial-esqe version (which took time) with screen-shots etc but the site wont let me link/show images as I am new here. Anyway please tell me if I can improve the answer further. Thanks. – Harsh Aug 23 '16 at 11:13
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    This is an extremely good edit! If you need pictures just post their links as source code and ping me so I can insert them for you. – Andrea Lazzarotto Aug 23 '16 at 11:26
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    @Andrea Lazzarotto Thanks. I think the up vote to my answer got me enough points to let me attach multiple images. I have added them too in another edit. – Harsh Aug 23 '16 at 12:30
  • does this work with 32-bit ubuntu as well? – bvpx Mar 26 '17 at 1:19
  • @bvpx Yes. In-fact he screen-shots are from a 32-bit Ubuntu if I remember it right. – Harsh Jul 19 '17 at 11:06

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