USB drives are useful devices to store data and documents, but thanks to their fast read/write speeds they can be also used to load operating systems on ’em. In theory, if you have a good pen drive, you could load a Windows 10 distro too.
In this tutorial I am going to show you how to install a distro of you choice on a USB flash drive, and since Linux is the required, I’ll use it as example.
But… be careful before proceeding!
Do you know how much stress has your pen drive to handle when it’ll host the OS?
Too much for its purpose.
So, since I’ve already done it, I suggest you something…
- Use a good USB flash drive, just like this Sandisk
- Load a light system on it
- Do not use the system to do something stressful
May be you are asking, why to install a system on a USB drive?
- You do not want to format and mess up with your PC to load your favourite Linux distro
- You do not like your Windows/Mac system anymore but you do not want to screw up warranty
- You just want to do it
- You think that is useful to have an handy OS in every momen that is bootable on (almost) all the supported machines.
If you are here, you already knew the answer so let’s start.
- Download this useful tool: Universal USB installer, we’ll use it to setup our pen drive.
- Download an image of your favourite distro, just like Ubuntu, ArchLinux, Debian…
Open the tool you have just installed, it should look like this
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Follow the steps as they are in the program:
- Step 1: Select the distribution, so if you downloaded ubuntu, select ubuntu
- Step 2: Select the .iso image you have already downloaded before
- Step 3: Select the drive to flash in
- Click on the create button.
What to do when it has finished?
Be sure to have setupped your PC bios in order to make your USB the first device to boot
You will be able to boot your OS, but not as it is really installed on it in fact you will boot it in LIVE mode, but you can also save data on it just like it is installed.
You can use the system on the USB to install it on other machines or pen drives too, permanently.
You can take a look to this video if your ideas aren’t so clear.
I prefer Yumi multiboot; it allows you to have shitload of stuff on a single USB key. I have Windows 10 installation, Ubuntu 17.04 with 4GB casper r/w and Hirens BootCD on a 32GB stick – still leaves some 20GB for normal USB key usage.