Unbuntu Banner

How to Install Linux Ubuntu on a USB?

Why would you use Ubuntu instead of Windows? Ubuntu is a lighter version compared to Windows. The downside of Ubuntu is that some software is not optimized/supported for Ubuntu.

I’ve tried downloading it on a USB and booting from a Samsung Laptop with Windows 10 on it. I made the switch because my windows version was getting very slow on my laptop. For example Minecraft, I had a max of 15 fps. Now using Linux an amazing 60 fps showed up! But not only gaming has improved! My pc starts now much faster.

What do you need?

  • 2 USB Sticks – 1 for the Download file (4GB is enough), 2nd USB is the main Ubuntu USB (min. 16GB recommended)
  • Wifi/Ethernet connection
  • PC 
  • Patience, Yep! Downloading can take a while!

Let’s Start

First of all, make sure to remove all the files on the USBs because all data on those USBs will be removed in the process. Backup your files!

Let’s start with the 1st USB, this is the USB that you will be using for the Install files. This USB is not needed after Ubuntu has successfully installed.

Download Ubuntu

Download Ubuntu

Connect the USB into your pc and head over to Ubuntu Website. You will have to download the file to your pc for example (Downloads). Do not install it on the USB! My version Ubuntu 18.04.1 LTS.

Make the file ready

Rufus configuration

Let the file install (1.8GB), after the file has been installed, you’ll have to download Rufus. With Rufus, we are going to make the ISO file ready for use.

In the program, choose the USB. On the second option, choose “Select” and add the ISO file there. Check of Partition scheme is set to MBR and Target System to BIOS or UEFI.

Leave the other settings and hit the start button. Once the program is done, hit close and your USB is ready for use. Note that the USB is not your Main USB! We will use this USB to copy the Ubuntu software onto your main USB.

BIOS Settings

The easy part is now done! But, now we need to change some settings in the Computer (BIOS). (If you’re reading this tutorial on your Pc, please open it on your phone)

Shutdown your pc and restart it. Press quickly the F2 button (SAMSUNG) or F1, F10, ESC, Del. (depending on pc) Now your pc will show a panel with options (BIOS). Watch out! Don’t change stuff you don’t know what it does!

Under the Tab Advanced, you’ll find “Fast Boot”, disable it and go to the Boot Tab.

In the Boot Tab, you’ll find “Boot Device Priority” hit Enter on it and you will see your Hard drives and USB(s). What you want to do is put the USB on the top. It can be done by hovering over the USB and pressing F5 until it reaches the top.

If you managed to do this, you can press F10 or “Save and Reset” option. Your pc will now restart and boot from your USB.

Ubuntu is ready for use

Yes, you can use Ubuntu now. But I will still cover the main installation process. You will see an option to try Ubuntu and Install Ubuntu.

When you try Ubuntu, you’re all set! But settings and files will get removed after you shut down the pc. It’s only made for testing purposes. But I recommend you to try it.

Let’s head over to the last part

Installation of Ubuntu

Now you need to use your 2nd USB. On this USB we will install the full version of Ubuntu. Installing Ubuntu can be done in 2 ways, from your test Ubuntu or the load screen (you’ll need to restart the pc). I go over the installation process of the Ubuntu test version.

You’ll see on your desktop a file called ‘Install Ubuntu“. This is the file we need. Go ahead and click on it. Now you will see that there is an installation wizard active.

Follow the instructions until you see this screen.

Configuration wizard Ubuntu

Be careful! What you’re going to do now can affect your pc drives. One wrong step can destroy your windows OS.

In your case, you want to choose “Something else“. Now you will see a screen with the drives. Depending on the number of drives in your pc, you will see sda/sdb partitions. If you have one hard drive in your pc, that will be the /dev/sda. Don’t use this drive! 

partition Table

You want to use the second partition the /dev/sdb or /dev/sdc. If you found your USB, you have to make 2 partitions of the USB. 

Click on the free space on the USB. And hit the plus sign. Now let’s start with the first partition. 

It will be a: Fat32 or (FAT16)
Mount Point: /UDISK
Memory size: Choose what you want, this will be the normal data storage.
Leave other options to default.


The second one: EXT4
Mount Point: /
Memory size: 5GB or larger
Leave other options to default.

The only thing to do now is to click install. And after the installation is done, restart your pc. And there you go! Ubuntu is ready for use!

Source: UbuntuHandbook