I am a high school teacher and I would like to create a custom Ubuntu Live USB stick to use during exams. I know there are other questions discussing how to customize a live USB but I have some additional requirements and I'm wondering if it's at all possible to create a Live USB that fits my needs.

  • The Live USB should automatically log in a user with limited permissions.
  • The user should in no way what so ever be able to access the internet.
  • The Live Stick should come preinstalled with the program GeoGebra.
  • There should be a partition where the user can save documents that will be readable when inserting the USB stick into a Windows or Mac machine.
  • If possible, a big timer should be shown on the desktop showing how long the system has been running.

This is similar to the "GeoGebra Exam Stick" that GeoGebra provides, GeoGebra stick does not provide any customization however and it defaults to a german keyboard layout among other things.

Since the purpose is to use this Live USB during school exams, no internet access is simply a must. Is there any way to disable internet access entirely for a user?

  • 1
    Surely there are ways to do all that in a live session with persistence or some remastered ISO but I think it would be easier to do a normal installation in the USB drive and there set up a limited user without external access.
    – user692175
    Jun 10 '17 at 11:37

Why don't you use Ubuntu constructor to create your own image of what you want?


For timer how about this?


Alternatively you may want to modify a 'conky-file' which usually has a segment which shows how long the system has been up and running.


As for preventing wireless access, surely the easiest thing to do is to disable it in the BIOS (it will depend on make and model of notebook) or switch the wireless on/off switch to off and ensure student does not have their hands near the wifi on/off switch.

  • Preventing internet access is one of the things that I really need the Live USB to accomplish since I can already make them press the wireless on/off switch during exams. It's easy to quickly switch it on and then back off to cheat, so I'm looking for something harder to bypass.
    – Ultimadark
    Jun 10 '17 at 19:54
  • 1
    It would be better if you could include the necessary steps here.
    – Anwar
    Jun 11 '17 at 7:47
  • Can't you disable in BIOS? If not surely in Network Manager you uncheck the element of wireless available to all users? Uncheck 'automatically connect' in Wifi Settings? Why not create yourself as admin with password and add student as standard user with simple password having disabled wifi as I have stipulated? Jun 12 '17 at 20:31

Difficult to create a custom Ubuntu Live USB stick

It is possible but maybe a bit difficult to create a custom Ubuntu Live USB stick.

An installed system (in a USB stick)

  • An alternative is to create an installed system. It is straightforward to create a system that works in the same boot mode, UEFI or BIOS, as the computer was booted in when you create the installed system.

    If you remove (disconnect) the internal drive before you start the installation, things will be easier (and safer), particularly in UEFI mode.

  • An alternative is to start from a simple text based installed system that boots in both UEFI and BIOS mode and install whatever you need (graphical desktop environment, GeoGebra etc).

  • Make a compressed image or cloned copy of the system at this stage, because things may go wrong, and you may want to continue installing and tweaking from this stage. You can use Clonezilla for this task.

  • After installing the custom software (GeoGebra etc) and tweaking the system, I would remove [some of the] software that is necessary for connecting to the internet.

    sudo apt-get remove isc-dhcp-client network-manager network-manager-gnome
    sudo apt-get remove apt

    and after that remove packages that are no longer used. This makes it more difficult to re-install the tools to connect to the internet.

    sudo apt-get autoremove
    sudo apt-get autoclean
    sudo apt-get clean
  • Create a compressed image of the final system, which cannot connect to the internet. You can use Clonezilla for this task.

    Then you can create cloned copies in other drives, for example USB pendrives or memory cards.


You can start reading these links and links from them,


AskUbuntu: Bootable Ubuntu USB with custom kernel


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