What program to use inside ubuntu to create ubuntu persistent storage usb? Edit: It is a PERSISTENT STORAGE. How do I make a bootable Ubuntu USB? is not the answer, actually I tried Startup disk creator and it didn't show the persistent mode with the slider.

  • Add a screenshot of the Startup Disk Creator.
    – muru
    Oct 26, 2016 at 3:24
  • Startup Disk Creator is the usb-creator-gtk which no longer has persistence. askubuntu.com/a/772100/231142 I am in the process of testing out the persistence for the LiveCD instructions here: help.ubuntu.com/community/LiveCD/Persistence
    – Terrance
    Oct 26, 2016 at 4:05
  • @Terrance: This link from the wiki page seems even more helpful: wiki.ubuntu.com/LiveUsbPendrivePersistent Oct 28, 2016 at 8:46
  • 1
    @DavidFoerster That link is definitely more helpful then the one I posted. I was kind of in a hurry to get a comment here more about the USB Creator no longer having the ability for persistence. I also started testing things out and the link I posted was the first one I came across. I will write my answer up later on my findings. (I have to go to work soon. ) I think I have come up with something pretty stable now. =)
    – Terrance
    Oct 28, 2016 at 13:45

3 Answers 3


NOTE: With the release of Ubuntu 20.04 Python 2 has been deprecated and Live USB will not work with 20.04 due to missing dependencies. It will still work with 18.04 LTS.

The Startup Disk Creator which is also known as usb-creator-gtk has had the ability of persistent and erase removed from the application, thus in my opinion making it worse then it ever has been. I wrote an answer earlier about it here. Also, just using the usb-creator-gtk with Ubuntu 16.04 as well as dd cause the USB drive to be formatted with a 512byte instead of 2048 as it is listed causing issues with GParted and other applications from seeing the drive properly. Unetbootin in my recent tests would not make the 16.04 USB bootable, especially if the drive was formatted as ext4.

I have found Live-USB-Install works very well and seems really stable. We will create an Ubuntu 16.04.1 LiveUSB with persistence.

  1. Download Live-USB-Install from here:


  2. Install Live-USB-install (requires unrar):

     sudo apt install unrar
     sudo dpkg -i /path/to/download/live-usb-install-2.5.11-all.deb

    If it gives you any dependency problems, just run the following:

     sudo apt -f install
  3. From the command line, now run Live-USB-Install (have your USB drive inserted that you're going to use. We will format the USB drive):

     sudo live-usb-install
  4. After the program launches, select the ISO you are going to use:

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Click Open to Select ISO file

  1. Select the proper USB drive and the Format button to format your USB to FAT32 (syslinux won't install in anything other than NTFS or FAT32):

enter image description here

  1. After formatting, remove and reinsert the USB drive.

  2. Select Refresh so it sees your drive again.

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  1. Select Distribution, Version, Persistent and Size you want for storage (for now 4095 or 4GB is the maximum due to size limitation of FAT32):

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  1. Click OK and be patient, this will take a while to create.

  2. Boot to USB and select the persistent option.

enter image description here

You should now be able to install applications into the LiveUSB and still be there on a reboot. Enjoy!

NOTE: I tried booting to a Mac (which uses EFI), and it didn't load the menu so it didn't load the persistent. On the USB in the /boot/grub/grub.conf file I did this change adding the word persistent to the linux line:

menuentry "Try Ubuntu without installing" {
    set gfxpayload=keep
    linux   /casper/vmlinuz.efi  file=/cdrom/preseed/ubuntu.seed persistent boot=casper quiet splash ---
    initrd  /casper/initrd.lz

Then it seemed to load the persistent OK. I didn't get the full chance to test it out though.

Hope this helps!

  • Great work with graphics. +1 Dec 11, 2018 at 18:49
  • With Ubuntu 20.04 this has stopped working (dependencies don't resolve anymore due to Python2 being phased out). However, mkusb works fine as an alternative (see other answer) with an Ubuntu 20.04 ISO.
    – Peterino
    Jun 30, 2020 at 14:29

MKUSB does a fine job of creating persistent live bootable USB sticks.

Install mkusb with the following command lines. If you run standard Ubuntu live, you need an extra instruction to get the repository Universe. (Kubuntu, Lubuntu ... Xubuntu have the repository Universe activated automatically.)

sudo add-apt-repository universe  # only for standard Ubuntu

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:mkusb/ppa  # and press Enter
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install mkusb usb-pack-efi

After the installation, Mkusb can be found under System Tools on Ubuntu Mate 16.04, but it may install elsewhere on other distributions. In regular Ubuntu, with Unity search for it in the dash, with Gnome search for it via Activities. When you've found it, start the software.

The following picture illustrates the dialogue to create a persistent live drive.

enter image description here

Select the source file, the Ubuntu ISO file you've downloaded beforehand.

Choose the target, which is the drive letter for your USB drive.

Be sure to back up your USB first, if you have any data on it, that you haven't backed up already. Mkusb will format, wipe or overwrite the drive completely.

In old versions of mkusb, if you see Live only selected, instead of Persistent live, double-click on the option line to get the latter option.

In the later stages of the process, you'll be prompted to tell Mkusb how much percentage of the storage you want to use for persistency. If you type in less than 100%, Mkusb will format the remaining space as an NTFS partition, named usbdata, for which you can store data. That partition will be visible and usable, in Linux and Windows, alike.

Mkusb is not hard to use, but you need to be extremely careful to choose the right source, and target for your live Ubuntu. If you choose the wrong target, you might wreck your hard drive, potentially the one with Windows on it, if you have a dual-boot system.

More information on Mkusb can be found on the Ubuntu help page, from where I got the above picture. The quick start manual has very good and clear instructions. Good luck with the process.

  • 1
    This is the only method that worked for me. Properly running kubuntu on usb on a macbook pro. Jul 29, 2017 at 13:01

Look under UNetbootin:

unetbootin screenshot

In the bottom of the picture it says: "space used to preserve files across reboot (Ubuntu only)" you can see the number of Gb you want there.


  • unetbootin did not work at all for me on a macbook. mkusb works instead properly. Jul 29, 2017 at 13:02
  • I would also not recommend UNetbootin in general. I have had it repeatedly fail to successfully create a live USB for 16.04, whether persistence mode or not. I have no idea if this is related to the version of Ubuntu, since it actually did work ONCE for me when creating a live USB for 14.04 on a really old, not particularly nice flash drive. The point is that in general I wouldn't recommend it: it worked ONCE out of 7 or so times. UNetbootin messed up a brand new flash drive almost beyond the point of repair--even mkusb couldn't rescue it, only chkdsk in Windows worked.
    – Hee Jin
    Apr 24, 2018 at 17:12

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