I would like to install Ubuntu on a flash drive with the following specifications:

I want to

  1. be able to make updates,
  2. be able to install my own software,
  3. have a persistent partition for my data,
  4. have the same hardware detection like the live USB versions,
  5. be able to boot EFI and legacy modus.

Does anybody know how to do that? The only thing I know right now is Knoppix when I install it on my USB stick. But Knoppix is full of software that I don't know and security wise I am not so convinced.

Thank you in advance


  • 3
    To be able to do updates, you need a full install. If you do not install proprietary drivers, it should work with most systems. I prefer to keep separate flash drives for UEFI and BIOS, but configure all of them using gpt with ESP - efi system partition and bios_grub partition. And have separate /mnt/data partition for all my data. help.ubuntu.com/community/Installation/UEFI-and-BIOS – oldfred Jan 30 '17 at 23:32

Mkusb will make a persistent flashdrive as you specify.

The program creates a flashdrive with read only OS partition, persistent casper-rw partition and a NTFS data partition that both Linux and Windows can see and use.

The finished flash drive will not upgrade from one version to the next, (the kernel is part of the read only partition), but it will allow selective updates of programs on the drive. You do not want to do a full software update as this uses up lots of space.

There is an option to boot both EFI and legacy modes


If you need to be able to do upgrades, you will want to do a Full install as OldFred suggests.

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First, you need a new DVD, an USB stick and a computer.

  1. Download Ubuntu
  2. Burn the DVD
  3. Boot from the DVD
  4. Install Ubuntu on the USB drive

You will : Be able to make updates; be able to install your own software; have /home partition; have the same hardware detection like the live USB versions; be able to boot EFI and legacy mode.

You can also create a bootable USB stick, but you probably won't have the same persistence, and the USB stick will always offer you to install Ubuntu before booting the live USB.

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