Does a Live USB save data to your hard drive?

Colin Wallace December 5, 2011

Does a live USB save data to your hard drive, or to the USB? I am asking this because my USB is only 8GB and I can’t fit much on that. Also, how much space does the OS take on the USB, because I want to store other things.

  1. Declan Lopez
    July 12, 2012 at 2:50 am

    Running live does not save any data to your hard drive. The OS, depending on which one you use, should usually take up less than 2GB.

  2. Sonny Bass
    December 6, 2011 at 12:00 pm

    If using Yumi you can use the rest of the drive to store other files. I keep several other folders on mine. 
    [Broken Link Removed]

    • Stivinn Aura
      December 6, 2011 at 4:55 pm

      I second YUMI. It simplifies the whole process of carrying a bootable OS in the flash drive by keeping all Linux files and folders nested under a single root folder.

  3. Anonymous
    December 6, 2011 at 9:40 am

    Persistent Bootable Ubuntu USB Flash Drive

  4. Stivinn Aura
    December 6, 2011 at 8:21 am

    No, user files and settings are not saved on other storage media in Live environment, unless you explicitly do so. E.g. - mounting the hard drive and creating/saving configuration files on it.

    However, if the internal hard drive has a Linux swap partition on it, the Live OS may use it as a "ramdisk" for increasing the system's performance.

  5. Mjevolve
    December 6, 2011 at 7:39 am

    hello .

    no . a live USB will not store any data on your hard drive .

    as for your other questions -
    >what live usb are you trying to create ?
    >what type of software or OS ? windows , linux , system repair etc ....

    and regardless of how you create a live usb of any thing , i dont think you can save anything else on the usb . as it would interfere with the proper booting of the live device .

    • Stivinn Aura
      December 6, 2011 at 8:16 am

      MJ, you CAN save personal data in the free space without interfering with the Live OS on the flash drive.

      • Mjevolve
        December 6, 2011 at 8:49 am

        thanks for mentioning this Stivinn.
        i knew this , and so i had tried it twice with two of LiveUSBs i created some time back . copied some random files after creating the Live device .
        and both of them did falter  .

        one stopped booting , and one booted but dint work well !

        and so i refrain from putting any thing else on them .

        • Stivinn Aura
          December 6, 2011 at 12:17 pm

          Hmm.. What distributions were you working with? And how did you make the Live environment? Did you try LiLi or YUMI?

        • Mjevolve
          December 6, 2011 at 2:58 pm

          on one pen drive it was ubuntu , created live with i think UnetBootin or Universal USB installer .
          it booted fine , but after i copied some files on to the drive , it booted , but on the options screen of the start menu , after i clicked on the Start Ubuntu , it dint went forward . the screen just went blank .

          and the second one was i think Puppy linux . created same way .

          and once even GPart live also was done the same way .

          never tried YUMI .  ....

        • Stivinn Aura
          December 6, 2011 at 4:50 pm

          Seems like the copying process on your drive wasn't free from errors or inadvertently, some of the root files got replaced/corrupted/deleted. I say this because I've tried Ubuntu 10.10 on my flash drive over a period of an year using UNetBootin, Yumi, and LiLi and gave 11.10 a try using Wubi without any problems with saving personal files. Also, I've been using various flavours of Puppy Linux on flash drives for a long time now. I've experimented quite a bit with various tools, and made a few of my friends very interested in Puppy. It is the best suited distro to 'get your job done' from a flash drive, it has fewest write cycles, has its own persistence file and operated totally from the RAM. Never heard from them about the problems that you mentioned. One friend of mine uses her Puppy-USB to remove viruses from her flash drive before using it in Windows.

          IMHO, YUMI is the go to solution for using multiple distros on one media effortlessly. You should definitely give it a try. Also, scan your pen drive thoroughly for errors.  My external hard drive has Ubuntu, Clonezilla and Puppy all in Live mode using YUMI. At the moment though, YUMI's support is limited to a quite a small list of distros.

        • Mjevolve
          December 6, 2011 at 6:44 pm

          yup , thats right about Puppy . its a good one .
          i keep a Live Puppy drive with me all the time and use it especially when i need to access the net on a computer thats not mine . i wouldnt trust any other PC except my own and that is where Puppy gets the 'Job Done' !
          and other than that , there are plenty of other times  when a live linux drive comes in handy .

          Ubuntu i just tried for fun purposes .

          and you might be right about the root files getting corrupted on the Live drive , but i never did investigate it thoroughly .

          any ways thanks for the suggestion about YUMI . 

          definitely will give it a try :)

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