How-To Guide: 3 Ways To Boot Ubuntu Linux From a USB Flash Drive

 How-To Guide: 3 Ways To Boot Ubuntu Linux From a USB Flash Drive


Option 1: Boot Ubuntu as a Live CD from a USB Flash Drive

Use this option to install Ubuntu as a Live Install, which allows you to boot from the USB flash drive in Ubuntu, experience the Linux environment but will not retain any    changes or settings after you shut down. This is a great way to get a feel for the OS, test some of its capabilities as well as typical hardware compatibility.

Programs you may need to download:

Ubuntu 10.04 Live CD ISO available at

Universal USB Installer available at

What you will need:

Running Windows XP/Vista/7

Fat32 Formatted USB 2.0 Flash Drive, at least 1GB

PC with a Bios that can boot from USB

Now with all of the necessary components in place, we can begin to setup our Ubuntu Live USB Drive.

  1. Run the Universal USB Installer by that you downloaded earlier.
  2. Choose Ubuntu 9.10/10.04.1 Desktop i386
  3. Select the Ubuntu Live CD that you downloaded earlier
  4. Choose your Flash Drive
  5. In this instance, we are going leave the persistence option unchecked.

This can take anywhere from 15 minutes to 30 minutes depending on the speed of your system. At one point the progress bar will freeze until it is done, and this is the lengthiest wait of the process.

Once complete, you can reboot your computer with the USB flash drive in the USB port, press F12 for the Boot Menu and choose the removable media to boot from and you are in.

As this is a Live USB, any changes you make to the Ubuntu environment will not persist through a reboot. This is because running in this mode, Ubuntu uses available RAM in place of Swap and Hard Disk space. This option also contains the install files needed to install Ubuntu directly to your desktop if you should so desire.

Option 2: Boot Ubuntu as a Live CD with Persistence from a USB Flash Drive

This option will install Ubuntu Linux onto your flash drive with an area for persistent storage. You will be able to restart the computer, boot back into the Linux environment and all settings or changes made previously will persist.



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