Can't Make Persistent USB Work

I have tried to make a persistent installation of Budgie on a USB drive using Unetbootin & UUI but neither installation resulted in a persistence. All changes and installed apps are lost when rebooting. I use the “size persistent file” option when installing Budgie but not luck. What can I do to make a persistent USB installation?

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as far as I know, I’ve never been able to set up a usb key with persistence since 16.04. Nor by tools like unetbootin, neither via old, glorious gedit, by hand.
The only thing I know that somehow is working is mkusb but I don’t like it at all so I don’t know it.


Have you tried Rufus? I usually use it for making live USBs on Windows.

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If you run Ubuntu Budgie, another Ubuntu flavour, Debian or Linux Mint, mkusb will work well for you to create regular cloned live drives or persistent live drives. mkusb works not only in an installed system but also when installed into a live drive.

If you run standard Ubuntu live, you need an extra instruction to get the repository Universe. (Kubuntu, Lubuntu … Xubuntu have the repository Universe activated automatically.)

sudo add-apt-repository universe  # only for standard Ubuntu live

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:mkusb/ppa  # and press Enter
sudo apt update
sudo apt install mkusb usb-pack-efi
  • If you don’t like PPAs, you can install it via a tarball.

  • mkusb-dus, mkusb version 12 is the classic version, that works with all current versions of Ubuntu.

  • There is also mkusb-plug, that uses a plug-in method to identify the target drive, and it uses a simple ‘semi-cloning’ method to create a persistent live drive using a new feature in the casper package, introduced with version 19.10 (and is also available in 20.04 LTS).

  • See this link and links from it, if you want more details about mkusb.

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I spent a year or two in Budgie from a full install on an external ssd- turned out the easiest and most usable solution was to just burn temporary live image to a small usb stick --> do a normal, full install to the external ssd (instead of the internal disk). Just doesn’t need to be more complicated than that, and forgoes the casper loop headaches
Otherwise, +1 on mkusb, and of course you could add a persistent casper partition (or casper-rw file) later if you are into that


Thank you @jesssullivan.

It could be also useful perform a full installation on a (at least) 64 Gb usb (3) key; to avoid messing grub menu, the best way is to do it on a diskless VM, mounting the key, already mounted on PC, on VM itself at the very first moment of boot sequence via VirtualBox usb tool in right lower corner of VM window.

This way you can boot about every PC, having persistence or at least the persistence your key’s capacity allows you to have and having an upgradable system (apt-cleaning, deleting old kernels, …, etc). Just keep in mind that such a thing can’t be nothing more than a rescue system.


No need modify or be concerned with the host bootloader
an efi partition on the external drive (a normal install) is all you need

All this is true with any normal install on an external drive (or any drive, including virtual loop filesystems)

I have been using USB sticks with a persistent partition, using Rufus. I was able to install many other Linux distros this way, but Ubuntu Budgie would just hang at a black screen during the installation. I I created a USB stick with no persistent partition and it worked like a charm. Thanks!