Home Operating system Run Ubuntu 20.04 from USB Stick – Linux Hint

Run Ubuntu 20.04 from USB Stick – Linux Hint

1387 03/10/2021

Have you tried using a real-time USB drive to run the Linux operating system? This is a simple and easy way to understand how Ubuntu works and become familiar with the user interface (UI) and layout. Using real-time USB, you can start the system, install programs, save projects, and configure without changing the computer configuration. However, please note that once the system is restarted, all saved items and changes will be cleared. If you just try the operating system once, this is not a problem. If you want to save your files and settings so that you don't have to start from scratch, you can create a permanent USB drive by installing the operating system on it.

This article will explain how to run Ubuntu 20.04 from a USB stick. The article will also explain how to install Ubuntu on a USB drive to make the drive persistent. The primary topics covered in this article include the following:

How to Prepare a Live USB

How to try Ubuntu from a USB stick (without installing the OS)

How to install Ubuntu on a USB stick


An ISO image of Ubuntu 20.04

2 USB drives

A computer system

Note: We have performed the procedure discussed in this article on a system running Ubuntu 20.04 LTS.

Prepare Live USB

Follow the steps below to prepare a live USB drive:

1. Download the Ubuntu 20.04 LTS ISO file from the Ubuntu official


page.2. Insert the USB drive into your system. The USB drive must be a minimum of 4GB.3. To make a Live USB in your Ubuntu system, open the

Startup Disk creator

application. If you are using a Windows system, use Rufus, and for macOS, use the Disk utility. In this example, we are working on an Ubuntu system, so we will use the

Startup Disk creator


To launch the

Startup Disk creator

, hit the super key on your keyboard and search for the application using the search bar that appear


When the search result appears, click on the

Startup Disk creator

icon to launch the application. Under the

Source disc image(.iso)

section in the

Startup Disk creator

application, click on the


button to insert the Ubuntu .iso file. The

Disk to use

section will automatically detect and add your plugged-in USB drive.

4. Click the

Make Startup Disk

button to start creating a bootable USB drive.

Wait for a little while, and the bootable media will be created. You will see the following message. Click the


button to close the notification.

Run Ubuntu from USB

Once you have a bootable USB, you can take it with you anywhere and run the OS from it without installation. However, remember that you cannot store files and data on the USB live image. If you want to save files and data on the USB drive, you will first need to install Ubuntu on the USB and create persistent storage.

Note: If the system you are using already has an OS installed, you should be sure to make a backup of all your data.

Try Ubuntu

If you want to just try out Ubuntu OS without installing it, follow the steps below:

Insert the bootable USB on your system and boot your system from it.

After the boot is finished, the following window will appear.

Select the

Try Ubuntu

option, after which the Ubuntu live session will be started.

Now, you can try using Ubuntu from the USB drive and get more familiar with its GUI layout and appearance.

Install Ubuntu

If you want to keep files and data persistent in the Ubuntu OS, you will need to install it on your USB drive. The following are the steps required to do so:

1. Insert the bootable USB on your system and boot your system from it.2. After the boot is finished, the following window will appear. Select the

Install Ubuntu


3. Once you have selected the

Install Ubuntu

option, you will see the following window. Select the keyboard layout and click



4. Select the

Normal Installation


Minimal Installation

option, based on whether you want the fully-featured Ubuntu OS, or you just want the basic features, respectively.

Uncheck the

Install third-party software for graphics and Wi-Fi hardware and additional media formats

check box. Then, click the


button. You can choose to download the updates during installation of the OS by checking the

Download updates while installing Ubuntu



5. Next, in the

Installation type

window, choose the

Something else

option and click the

Install Now


6. Identify the USB drive on which you want to install Ubuntu. In my case, it is


with one partition, as the size of my USB drive is 32 GB. We will delete the old partition and create new ones.

Select the USB drive from the


list at the top and click the

New Partition Table

button. Then, click the


button to open the

Edit partition

window and create three partitions, one by one:

1. A swap partition of a size slightly larger than the system’s RAM. Choose the “swap” selection in the

Use as

option.2. A FAT32 partition with any size greater than 512 MB.3. A root partition of a size not less than the 4 GB minimum. You can use all the remaining space on your USB drive for the root partition. Choose the “ext4” selection in the

Use as

option and set the mount point to “


Under the

Device for boot loader installation

, make sure that you have selected the USB drive. Then, click the

Install Now


4. A window will appear asking you to confirm the changes. Click


to proceed with the installation process.

5. Select the region where you live and click



6. The system will ask you to create a username, system name, and password. Provide the required information and click



Now, the installation will be started. Once the installation is completed, you will see the following message.

Click the

Restart Now

button to restart the system.


This is all you need to know to run Ubuntu 20.04 from a USB flash drive. Now, you will no longer need to bind to a specific machine to run the Ubuntu operating system. Just plug the USB drive into any machine, boot from it, and enjoy the entire Ubuntu operating system from USB. I hope you like this article and find it helpful to your needs.

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