I want to create a personal portable Elementary OS install on a 64GB USB stick.

My personal PC is UEFI with GPT, dual boot Arch Linux and Windows 10. I want to be able to boot the USB to recover my UEFI computer in the future and use the same USB on a school BIOS MBR computer.

I have a separate 4GB USB I can use to install the OS to the 128GB USB from my UEFI computer.

Once I get the Elementary OS iso on the 4GB USB, how do I proceed to install it to the 128GB USB?

(Please try to keep it simple, I'm bad at partitioning)

Edit 1: Also, I'm not willing to disconnect the hard drive for the process if possible, is this dangerous? I have a UEFI grub dual boot on the hard drive of the PC I'm doing the installation from.

Edit 2: From watching an Elementary OS installation video, I figured out you can create a new /boot/efi for the USB so I don't need to disconnect my hard drive. This does not solve the BIOS problem, as I still don't know how to make the USB bootable on Legacy BIOS too.

  • 2
    If it would be OK with a persistent live system, you can use mkusb-dus and it will be easy. Otherwise it might be complicated, if you have no computer, where you can unplug, disconnect or otherwise disable the internal drive. Maybe the best instructions to create an installed system in USB is found here.
    – sudodus
    Dec 11, 2021 at 13:53
  • 1
    If you post the same text as an answer, I will mark it as an answer. Thank you. I'll use the tutorial you linked and not the persistent system way.
    – tempacc
    Dec 11, 2021 at 14:52
  • 1
    Done and good luck with yout portable installed system :-)
    – sudodus
    Dec 11, 2021 at 15:27

1 Answer 1


Persistent live system

  • If it would be OK with a persistent live system, you can use mkusb-dus and it will be easy.

Installed system in USB drive, bootable in UEFI and BIOS mode

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