I have two USB drive and both are 8GB. But one is USB 3.0 with writing speed: 7.93mb/s and reading speed: 87.642mb/s, another is unknown (maybe 2.0) with writing speed: 6.764mb/s and reading speed: 16.202mb/s.

With above details and benchmark test which on can run Linus, only USB 3.0 can or both can also please specified which kind of Linux, I want to know if CentOS7, Ubuntu or Tails (OS for tor browser) can run on it (notice I'm using all OS above for desktop version not terminal version).

  • Most distributions can run on USB keys. But slowly so you don't want to! – Basile Starynkevitch Sep 19 '17 at 14:06
  • @BasileStarynkevitch ok, but is it big enough to run it since 8GB is quite small now a days so I'm asking is 8GB enough to run CentOS7 or Ubuntu in desktop version (since I know terminal version will be small enough to put it in my USB) – Andrew.Wolphoe Sep 19 '17 at 14:13
  • Trying to run a live-USB key is faster than asking here... But performance will be disappointing (because the hardware is the bottleneck, not Linux). So download some .iso image, create an installable USB key and try it !! – Basile Starynkevitch Sep 19 '17 at 14:15
  • If you are a Linux newbie, I recommend trying it more easily by installing it on the computer's hard disk. You want at least 250Gbytes (in a separate disk partition) – Basile Starynkevitch Sep 19 '17 at 14:32
  • 8GB is not small. Tiny Core Linux requires 16MB: distro.ibiblio.org/tinycorelinux – HackSlash Sep 19 '17 at 19:40

Most distributions can run from an USB stick, but many don't have an automatic install good for that, so it may require manual install.

  • USB 2.0 is no problem at all, but it's simply slow, the system will run badly. USB 3.0 is fast enough, but it requires the motherboard to be able to handle USB 3.0 and a USB 3.0 driver in Linux. (there are guides for that)

  • 8GB is plenty, even pretty desktop distros like Linux Mint Cinnamon take up 4GB, 8GB should be enough for basic usage.

I once installed Arch on a 3.0 stick, and generally what you want to do is install the system as you would on a hard drive, but ensure that all partition designations are invariable, so in fstab and bootloader they are written by PARTUUID, UUID, etc, and not like "sda1". Also ensure that you have all the drivers you may need, if for example you intend to run the system on computers with different graphics cards.

If you want to only boot from computers that support UEFI, you can simply set the USB stick high in boot order and make a small EFI System Partition with the kernel, as the kernel can be booted as an EFI executable. That, or simply use systemd-boot. Otherwise, there is a guide to installing GRUB in such a situation.

No matter what distro you decide to go with, I recommend checking everything out in Arch Wiki, as its guides and general informations are priceless.

  • How about for tails is the tutorial in tails' website for live-USB? – Andrew.Wolphoe Sep 19 '17 at 14:56
  • USB 2.0 is not the problem per se, but most USB 2.0 sticks are too slow, especially when it comes to to writing many little files... – mifritscher Sep 19 '17 at 15:54

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