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Thread: Full install to USB stick

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2018
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    18

    Full install to USB stick

    Hi!

    I am trying to install Ubuntu 14.04 to a 64GB usb stick. I want to make a full installation and not a live cd or anything like that. Whatever I try, it doesn't seem to work (the installation goes ok but it never boots afterwards). Perhaps it is a GRUB issue. But even when I set it to install the GRUB to a usb partition, it still doesn't boot.

    Is there an easy guide to do that? If possible I would like to do it with full disk encryption as usb sticks are easily lost.


  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2014
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    5,575

    Re: Full install to USB stick

    I would first suggest that you not use 14.04 as support for it will end next month. Pick one of the releases from the Ubuntu site below which is still supported.

    https://wiki.ubuntu.com/Releases

    Does the computer you are using to install have another OS? If so, what is it? If you have another OS, is it a Legacy/MBR install or UEFI? Are you familiar with Linux device/partition naming conventions (/dev/sda, /dev/sda1, etc.)? If you want to be able to boot the usb and it is a Legacy install, you will need to install Grub to the MBR of the usb. If it is an EFI, install you will need to have an EFI partition on the USB and install Grub code there.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2018
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    18

    Re: Full install to USB stick

    Quote Originally Posted by yancek View Post
    I would first suggest that you not use 14.04 as support for it will end next month. Pick one of the releases from the Ubuntu site below which is still supported.
    Will upgrade to 16.04 it as soon as I install it. Need to start with 14.04 though.

    Quote Originally Posted by yancek View Post
    Does the computer you are using to install have another OS? If so, what is it? If you have another OS, is it a Legacy/MBR install or UEFI? Are you familiar with Linux device/partition naming conventions (/dev/sda, /dev/sda1, etc.)?
    Tried it to several laptops and desktops. Some of them had only Ubuntu installed, others were dual boot (windows/ubuntu). Always the same issue. It just doesn't boot afterwards whatever I try.

    That's why I search for a step by step guide.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Location
    SW Forida
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    Hidden!
    Distro
    Ubuntu

    Re: Full install to USB stick

    It depends a lot on whether UEFI or BIOS.
    And if system is newer than 2014, better to use newer Ubuntu to have support for newer hardware. Older versions do have kernel updates, if using 14.04.5.
    Ubuntu 16.04.6 LTS Released With APT Vulnerability Fix, Other Security Updates

    If using full drive encryption best to review this:
    https://help.ubuntu.com/community/Ma...temEncryption/
    Full-system encryption with manual control and dual-booting Paddy Landau
    https://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=2357627 &
    https://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=2399092

    But however you install you do need to partition in advance and use Something Else install option, unless you can disconnect internal drive, so flash drive seen as first and only drive.

    See also:
    http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=2312651
    http://askubuntu.com/questions/71940...ed-and-there-i
    https://askubuntu.com/questions/1698...p-disk-creator
    For more info on UEFI boot install & repair - Regularly Updated :
    http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=2147295
    Please use Thread Tools above first post to change to [Solved] when/if answered completely.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
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    1,976

    Re: Full install to USB stick

    I would recommend that you install the 16.04 or 18.04 right away. The key failure point of a USB stick is how many times it writes before it has a failure. USB sticks are not the same as an SSD, they fail much much more easily. I've had some fail after just a few full-disk writes.

    I would strongly recommend that swap, if any, be on some other device, and that you minimize logging or put it on some other device too.

    Are you trying to make a pocket drive you can boot on any x86_64 computer, for travel? Or are you just trying to be economic?

    If you'll always boot on your local LAN or on your work LAN, for example (always a known place) then you might consider setting one system up as a network logger, and your stick-boot device can log over there.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2018
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    18

    Re: Full install to USB stick

    Quote Originally Posted by oldfred View Post
    you can disconnect internal drive, so flash drive seen as first and only drive.
    That's an excellent idea. Perhaps I should do that...

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2018
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    18

    Re: Full install to USB stick

    Quote Originally Posted by 1clue View Post
    Are you trying to make a pocket drive you can boot on any x86_64 computer, for travel?
    Yes!

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
    Location
    Yes
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    248
    Distro
    Ubuntu 18.04 Bionic Beaver

    Re: Full install to USB stick

    I installed Ub 18.04 to a usb a couple months ago on a bios machine just to see how well it would work.

    It did work (after making sure bios was set to boot from the usb versus an HD), but everything slowed down so much that it wasn't useful for me. The machine only has usb 2.0 ports so 3.0 might be ok speed-wise.
    Last edited by ra7411; March 18th, 2019 at 06:22 PM.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
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    1,976

    Re: Full install to USB stick

    Quote Originally Posted by alexandrosfa View Post
    That's an excellent idea. Perhaps I should do that...
    That might work, but on some of my hardware I know it won't. The machine I'm thinking of is server hardware and won't boot to anything not explicitly declared in the BIOS. So you may need to tinker with the BIOS on each system, to allow boot from USB stick. If it's supported on that box.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
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    Hikkaduwa
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    3,120
    Distro
    Ubuntu 18.04 Bionic Beaver

    Re: Full install to USB stick

    This works for me on both BIOS and UEFI machines.
    https://askubuntu.com/questions/8730...118412#1118412
    Don't forget to check ISO file for corruption using MD5SUM.

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