I wanted to install Debian 10.4 (Gnome version) on external usb 3.1 pen-drive for usage on multiple computers.So i searched for tutorials online but most were for ubuntu or manjaro linux.Also i am relatively new to linux.

So,first I created a bootable usb stick using rufus on windows 10.

After booting into debian i started the installer after inserting the pen drive where i actually wanted to install the os.

When I reached the partitions part,I chose the usb, chose the manual partitioning method and created 4 partitions(in the given order)

  1. EFI 512MB Flags:"esp","boot" Mountpoint: "/boot/efi" Format:FAT32
  2. Root 10GiB Flags:"root" Mountpoint: "/" Format:ext4
  3. Swap 4GiB Flags:"swap" Mountpoint: none Format:linuxswap
  4. Home 12GiB Flags:none Mountpoint:"/home" Format:ext4

After finishing the install,I tried switching off the computer and turning it in again without removing the pendrive.It worked perfectly.

Then I removed the pendrive to see whether windows would boot normally.It did.But when i plugged the usb back in,I could not boot into the pendrive.I could see the pendrive name as debian in the uefi settings before removing it but afterwards, I could only see it as sandisk.

So I was wondering whether the whole portable usb thing is possible? If possible, what did I do wrong and how to fix it.

Can someone who have already went through the process give me a detailed guide(If it is possible that is)?

I also tried live usb with persistence but didnt like the idea of it.

  • Check that the BIOS of your computer "sees" your USB drive as bootable once more. I would also NOT recommend defining a swap partition on the USB drive, as it will be very slow. You will be limited by the physical RAM of your computer, but it is better than an unresponsive computer.
    – FedKad
    Commented Jun 20, 2020 at 19:30
  • Yeah the bios tells me it is a uefi partition but selecting it in boot menu does nothing
    – Dhushyanth
    Commented Jun 20, 2020 at 19:40
  • 1
    – A.B
    Commented Jun 20, 2020 at 20:45
  • Thanks @A.B that worked
    – Dhushyanth
    Commented Jun 21, 2020 at 13:28
  • @Dhushyanth you could add an answer to your own question telling what you did to follow my link
    – A.B
    Commented Jun 21, 2020 at 13:34

1 Answer 1


From the link posted by @A.B, i found there was a way to install the bootloader onto the removable media the /Boot/efi partition which i made during initial installation of Debian.

First download the debian installer image(not the live one) from the website.

Then burn the installer to another usb using rufus(windows 10).

When booting from the usb, choose rescue mode.

When shown list of all partitions, select the partition on which you made the boot/efi partition for debian and click ok when it asks to mount the same.

Then select the option to install grub bootloader and force bootloader to install on removable media partition.Click ok for the warning message also.

After installing,keep clicking go back until you reach the whole list of all options of the installer.

Select Abort installation in there and thats it. Thats how i did it and it worked for me.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .