I have Linux Mint Petra (Mate 64 Bit) installed on a HP Pavilion dv7-3008tx laptop.

I want to make a 32GB thumbdrive, with an ISO disk image on it, persistent without fully installing the system on the computer itself. In other words I want to have a bootable system on one partition and data on another one, while the latter is always mounted when the system from the USB is booted.

Is this possible somehow?

  • What are you meaning by persistent? and by fully installing? What are you trying to do with the usb storage? – ctrl-alt-delor Dec 15 '13 at 12:49
  • I assume you mean keeping the bootable operating system on the stick, but add a partition where additional data is stored (/home/ directory and installed programs). Could you please confirm this so that it is clearer what is being asked? – Tim Dec 15 '13 at 13:40
  • Please ecxuse my typing I am Dyslexic. I dont want to fully install to the usb I want to be able to use the thumbdrive on anyones machine and save files to it.When I Fully install to thumbdrive it only works on my laptop no others. If I right click on the Iso file it makes a Bootable usb stick but it is not saving any fileds I copy To it. – markhewpac Dec 15 '13 at 15:08
  • Yes Tim I want to keep the bootable operating system on the stick, but add a partition where additional data is stored and can copied or deleted or changed(added to). – markhewpac Dec 15 '13 at 15:50

If I understand correctly, the problem is that when booted, the USB drive may have various devices assigned to it, depending on the configuration of the computer - i.e. sometimes it can become /dev/sdb and sometimes e.g. /dev/sdd.

For mounting anything that happens after udev has been started just use the symlinks in /dev/disk/by-* which can be made unique (e.g. those in /dev/disk/by-partuuid/) independently on the rest of the system.


For persistence to work you'll need the two parameters (persistent and casper-rw) that are indicated here: https://askubuntu.com/questions/168246/why-isnt-persistence-working-on-lubuntu-12-04-live-usb/568557#568557

As for the Data partition, if it comes second [1] you'll need to swap the partitions number for Windows to let you have access to it. A very simple method to achieve this is described in the post below: Point "4a. Use RMPrepUSB" alone does the trick:


This requires to launch RMPrepUSB (GPL) from Windows with the USB stick plugged. I'm still looking for a way to swap partitions on a usb device from Linux. Please share if you know it!

[1] Note that one can also put the data partition first then the live-system partition, which may or may not work depending on the linux distribution(s) on the key (live-system partition #1 always work).

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