Fully Install Ubuntu on USB

How to perform a Full Install of Ubuntu on a USB hard drive using live media. Believe it or not, creating a completely Portable Ubuntu Installation on USB is a relatively simple process. As a matter of fact, it's almost as simple as a regular Ubuntu internal hard drive installation. Due to popular demand, I have decided to write a simple tutorial on the full Ubuntu USB hard drive installation procedure. So go grab an available external USB hard drive and a nice cold beverage and let's get started.

Note: For this tutorial, I used a very fast SanDisk Extreme PRO Flash Drive with 420MB/s read 380MB/s write speeds. However, be forewarned that this is a complete installation (not a Live Install with a compressed Squashfs). Due to extensive read and write operations, it's be better to use an external SSD Hard Drive. The Sandisk Extreme Portable SSD should work perfect.
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Prerequisites:

  • External USB hard drive, compact flash card, or flash drive
  • Backup any information on your USB device (it will be wiped)
  • Live USB or Live CD/DVD containing Ubuntu

How to Fully Install Ubuntu on a USB hard drive

    1. Create a YUMI Live USB containing Ubuntu.
    2. Restart your computer. Booting from the live media.
    3. Once the Live system is up and running, Click the install Ubuntu icon from the desktop to begin the installation.
    4. Proceed through the steps. After step 4, when you are prompted to unmount partitions that are in use, Select YES Unmount Partition in USE
    5. When prompted for Installation type;
      1.) Select Something Else
      2.) Click Continue
      Something Else
    6. From the Device for boot loader installation drop list;
      1.) Choose your USB drive
      2.) From the Window, Right click the related /dev/sd(x) device and select New Partition Table (this removes any existing partitions)New Partition Table
    7. Now, right click on the free space and select Add
      Add First Part
    8. Create a 100MB EFI System Partition and click OK
      Create an EFI Part
    9. Again, right click on the free space and Select Add
      Add Second Part
    10. This time, create a 6000MB swap area partition and click OK
      Create Swap Partition
    11. Once more, right click on free space and Add
      Add Third Part
    12. Create an Ext4 journaling file system partition, using the default size, set the mount point to / and click OK
      Note:  You can reduce the size and create additional partitions for other usage (perhaps for sharing files between Windows and Linux).
      Create an Ext4 part
    13. You should now have efi, swap, and ext4 partitions on your device. Click Install Now to proceed to install Ubuntu on your USB device. Install Now
  1. When the process has finished, choose the option to restart now.
  2. Next, be sure to remove the live media you used to perform the installation.
  3. Boot into your system BIOS or Boot Menu. Elect to boot from the external USB Drive you installed to, and then reboot.

If all went well, you should be booted into a completely Portable Ubuntu that runs entirely from USB. 😉

Fully Install Ubuntu on USB published under Install Linux to a USB hard drive 

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