I'm thinking about to install Debian Wheezy or CentOs 6.5 (not the live version) on an USB drive. I think this shouldn't be a problem as long as my computer can boot from USB.

But will this work well with the bootloader?

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    I've done this before with Slackware. It took a little while for everything to get going, and opening any new programs or files took longer than usual, but otherwise it ran fine. Just install like normal, selecting the USB drive as the location to install to. Dec 29, 2013 at 3:10

1 Answer 1


Though I've never done it with a non-Live OS, it should work, as long as the OS "does the right thing" and load the USB_Storage driver from an initrd before it needs to actually access the disk, it'll do fine. I'm using the grub bootloader on a 1TB USB drive and everything works fine. The way a flash drive and a removable USB hard drive represent themselves to the machine is essentially the same - a SCSI drive with X amount of storage.

  • I think if you do a normal install to USB, most OS installers will modify the existing boot loader to point to the last OS install's grub menu (USB, in this case). Then, if the USB is not there, you will end up in Grub rescue mode, just like if you delete the last installed partition. Aug 22, 2016 at 18:55

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