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I tried installing a "pen drive" version of Ubuntu from PenDriveLinux.com, but since it was a modified version of Live Ubuntu (i.e. that usually runs from a CD), it had some kind of custom "persistence" options that made some parts of the file system readonly. What I am looking to do is boot from my USB and have the distro work exactly like a "regular" distro - i.e. be able to write anywhere I would normally be able to and have it persisted, install packages, etc.

Also I would like to be able to access the filesystem from Windows (i.e. not just mounting the Windows disk while running Linux).

I tried just installing a standard Ubuntu distro to my USB as if it were just a standard drive, but I got what seemed to be some low-level errors (forget what they were). Should this be expected, or should I just try installing some other standard distros.

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1 Answer 1

Basically these are two questions.

  1. You can install any distribution onto a USB-drive or stick. 8 GB should be enough.
  2. If you want to be able to access files from Windows, then Windows has to be able to mount the linux-partitions. A "solution" might be to install Linux on VFAT/NTFS/...

But: I see no reason to do so. Use a separate partition formatted with VFAT und use that as data-exchange-partition.

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Excellent, thanks. I just wanted to confirm that I should be able to install any distro to the USB before I troubleshoot what I am doing wrong and/or download other distributions. I like the partition idea; I will actually rarely need to copy a file from Windows to the Linux fs, I just need to sill have the USB available for transferring files from one computer to another. –  David Deutsch Mar 3 '12 at 21:58
+1 for the separate vfat-formatted partition (or even ntfs) idea. (Don't try to install to that tho.) –  ryran Mar 3 '12 at 22:08

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