Linux on a Stick


Extraordinary Member
This tutorial explains how to setup and run Linux from a USB Flash Drive (Stick). The tutorial has 5 chapters:

· Chapter 1 - Installation of Linux on the stick
· Chapter 2 - Create a Data Partition
· Chapter 3 - Setup of Mint Mate
· Chapter 4 - Space Management
· Chapter 5 - System backup/imaging

I use Mint Mate 16 (Petra) as example, but the method can be applied to any Linux Distro. Only Chapter 3 is specific to Mint Mate.

Because of my fancy page setup I do not display the tutorial here, but you can read it in your browser or download it from my OneDrive site. It is an 8 page PDF document with all the controls to 10 instruction and demo videos.

Link to view in your browser

Note: some of the smaller pictures may show blurry in the browser view. That will not be the case with the downloaded PDF.

Link to download the PDF
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Essential Member
That's not the same thing. With Rufus you can create an installation stick, but not a persistent Linux system that runs when booted from the stick.

For example this video (which is part of the above tutorial) was made from the stick system. That you could not do with a stick created by Rufus nor all the operations shown in the video.

I beg to differ...I have Ubuntu 12.04, using rufus, boot from my 4 GB usb drive. I put the drive in the usb slot, restart system, tap F12, select my boot drive (my usb drive with Ubuntu) and boot the OS from it. I can do anything with in that drive...I've even installed my printer.


Extraordinary Member
OK, I yield to your better experience. I have to try that. How do you get persisitent storage on the stick and where do you store your user files.

I installed mint on a 128GB stick and I have a seperate data partition of 115GBs. But even on a 16GB stick I have appr. 7GBs for data - plus 4GBs persistent storage for system settings and programs.

Here is a little demo of what I do with the stick.
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Extraordinary Member
I tried Rufus and it worked. I learned something, thanks. The problem though is that the Casper file is only 1.2GBs. That is far too small to install any amount of programs. Do you know how to make that file bigger. 4GB is probably the limit because of the Fat32 format. But I will later try with NTFS.

And I have not yet tried whether I can define and use a data partition. That will be next.


Extraordinary Member
I made another Mint Mate stick installation with Rufus - this time with the stick formatted in NTFS. The Casper-rw file turned out to be 3GBs. That is still not a lot for program installations, but if you use the stick version mainly for data recovery, that will work.

This is the purpose of my installation on the 128GB stick. With this 115GB data partition, I can recover the data directly to the stick and do not need any other external device. Many of the people that I help out do not even have an external disk, and then it is convenient to recover the data directly to the stick. It is also easy to put the data back into their new system once they reinstalled.

I wish I could figure out how to increase the size of that Casper-rw file. There are several proposals on the web - but none worked for me yet. I guess it is mainly because my terminal skills are quasi nil. I will keep looking and if I succeed, I will report back.