TechSpot: Quick Guide to Running Linux From a USB Drive

Live Linux environments work just like a typical operating system but run entirely from a CD or USB stick -- the latter being the most common choice these days. Since nothing is written to the host computer’s local storage, when you’re done using the machine all you need to do is remove the media, reboot, and everything will be exactly as it was.

There are a number of uses for this, from simply test driving Linux to troubleshooting a Windows PC, or working on the go from someone else’s computer but securely with your own OS, personal files and settings.

There are two options when it comes to running Linux from a USB drive: from within Windows using virtualization software such as VirtualBox, or creating a boot disk. This quick guide details both methods in a few easy steps.

Read: Quick Guide to Running Linux From a USB Drive.
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12 Comments

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As someone who often has to fix other people's PC's, having a copy of GNU/Linux on USB stick is invaluable.

When Windows users see how easy and safe to use Linux is, they want me to install it for them ;)

simplezz said,
As someone who often has to fix other people's PC's, having a copy of GNU/Linux on USB stick is invaluable.

When Windows users see how easy and safe to use Linux is, they want me to install it for them ;)

Woah now be careful. Someone will come in here and have a fit that your not living in the real world and blah blah blah.

Since I'm a fan of xfce and mint people have also asked me to give them a tour. I usually take 15 minutes showing them around and remind them that all Google and Microsoft services are still accessible. So if they don't like libre office or open office then Google apps are available to run Google "office"

I have an Inspiron N5050 at Work booting Elementary OS Luna and with One Drive and Office online , no need for other suites.

On topic, I agree, USB Linux is a must have for a person who works on PC's. From data recovery/transfer, to deleting those undeletable malware files in Windows. I keep Lubuntu for the older x86 hardware and the latest Ubuntu for newer hardware (UEFI boot support, no need to disable secure boot).

simplezz said,
It's always been safe ;)

Only as safe as the user.
Pretty sure I could convince someone to su - rm -rf /*

The part of your comment I was referring to directly was the 'easy' part.

Now that every distro has a package management system and people rarely have to hit the terminal, it's a good thing.

When I started you had to manually size all the partitions and the only help I got from linux zealots back then was read the f'n man pages and that's about where/when I stopped.

Been running it on a USB drive for awhile now (keep one on my key chain) great for data recovery on non-booting computer with out pulling the drive out, quick boot-up to disable a malware so I can run the computer normal and do a full scan with something else.

I use this for creating my Linux USB drives: http://www.pendrivelinux.com/u...sb-installer-easy-as-1-2-3/

I always have a Knoppix USB around just in case, and now always install distros from USB. I haven't burnt a disc for years...

If you're planning to run Linux from a USB 2 drive, don't choose something with GNOME 3/KDE (and then say Linux is slow). Use LXDE instead (ie. Lubuntu) - a fast and extremely resource efficient GUI, and now quite polished too.