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Instructions on installing Linux distributions on a USB Flash drive.

Table of Contents


Explain the procedures for installing Linux on a USB drive.

Difficulty Level: Advanced

Install from within Windows

Note: This article assumes that the USB Drive is D:

  1. Format the USB drive to Fat32
  2. Download syslinux (syslinux-x.xx.zip)
  3. Extract the zip archive and navigate to the win32 folder
  4. Copy/paste syslinux.exe to the root of the USB drive.
  5. Open command prompt (start > run > cmd)
  6. Type "d:" to navigate to the USB drive.
  7. Type "dir" and verify that "syslinux.exe" is there
  8. Type "syslinux -ma d:" to make the drive bootable (Note: if installing to an external usb harddisk type "syslinux -maf d:")
  9. Download the ISO of the Linux distribution you wish to install.
  10. Extract the contents of the ISO and copy them to the USB drive (make sure to leave the directory structure intact)
  11. Rename the directory "isolinux" to "syslinux"
  12. Within the "isolinux" directory (now called "syslinux"), rename "isolinux.cfg" to "syslinux.cfg"
  13. Reboot and select to boot from your USB device.

Sources and Relevant Links

Install Ubuntu on your USB drive
Install Linux on your USB drive