What command can provide information to discern if the actual running version has been launched from a live installation on, say, a pen, or a full installation in the hard drive?

3 Answers 3


You are on live-usb, when command mount returns:

aufs on / type aufs

and then commands users and hostname returns:

  • Oddly enough, for me it was overlayfs
    – muru
    Feb 23, 2017 at 1:33

You can check the options set for the kernel, which will probably include casper:

grep -zq casper /proc/cmdline && echo live

You don't even need to execute a command, just open a terminal.

If you are on an installation media you'll see : ubuntu@ubuntu:~$

On a running installed system you'll see : <user>@<hostname>:~$

Here the example from my installed Ubuntu OS : cl@cl-uw-1:~$

  • This might be challenging if full installation has the name ubuntu and a user named ubuntu. Feb 21, 2017 at 16:23
  • @atayenel : hahaha ... yes indeed ... when you choose the name ubuntu as user and host for the installed system, then of course you won't see a difference and no command can't help and won't change a thing. :)
    – cl-netbox
    Feb 21, 2017 at 16:30

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