I have done a lot of reading about Live CDs and I currently have got a bootable Ubuntu USB built with unetbootin. My question is how would I go about installing say Xubuntu to the memory stick itself. I.e. I am very happy having Windows but want to run a full working linux from memory stick (which can read Windows files) - which I can install applications to and most importanly keep upto date with the latest releases (i.e. Persistant live versions don't always allow this).

But I only have 1x 30GB USB stick. Can I do it just using that?

Am I right in thinking that the default Ubuntu installer installs to the main harddrive as opposed to overwriting itself on the USB stick?

This is unlike 16988 due to the fact I am running on Windows and therefore don't have the luxury of the virtualisation suggested in that answer.

  • I will amend to prove why this isnt
    – Antony
    Nov 9, 2017 at 11:12

1 Answer 1


Full installation into the live USB drive

  • In order to install Ubuntu (or Xubuntu or another Ubuntu community flavour) into a USB (pen)drive, you can follow the instructions in the following link to an answer here at AskUbuntu,

    Boot Ubuntu from external drive.

  • It is possible to install into the same drive that you have booted from: use the boot option toram, but it is not recommended, because if you make a mistake, you must start from the beginning again (to create a live drive).

  • It will be much safer and easier if you disconnect (or unplug) the internal drive before you start installing.

  • Thank you. I'm uber scared about losing my main harddrive so was wondering about doing a virtual box > .img converter hddguru.com/software/HDD-Raw-Copy-Tool with something like that?
    – Antony
    Nov 9, 2017 at 11:27
  • 1. In my computers it is rather easy to unplug the internal drive (but it is difficult in some consumer class computers). Is it an option for you to disconnect or uplug it? ; 2. Otherwise, yes it is an option to run Xubuntu as a guest in a virtual machine where the host is Windows. Maybe it is easiest to use VirtualBox. I don't know about the img converter you are linking to, but it looks like a cloning tool to me. I don't know how you intend to use it. You can boot a VirtualBox virtual machine directly from the Xubuntu iso file, and then install Xubuntu into a virtual drive (of VirtualBox).
    – sudodus
    Nov 9, 2017 at 11:34
  • 1
    Some BIOS/UEFI allow disabling drives. That can be used for the same effect of physically disconnecting the drive. Re-enable when done.
    – user692175
    Nov 9, 2017 at 16:45

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