Can I use a single USB drive for portable Linux and for other purposes at the same time?

Naoman Saeed September 17, 2012

I have a large 16gb USB stick. It is usually more than I need, so I want to use half of the space for a portable OS (preferably Linux). I once tried to install Ubuntu but couldn’t create /root on it. I tried Yumi but that doesn’t accept any of my .iso files. What I actually want is a step by step guide, and how to resolve possible issues.

Can I use a single usb for having a portable LinuxOS and for other usb purposes at the same time?

  1. Deekshith Allamaneni
    September 26, 2012 at 4:55 pm

    Use "Pendrive Linux"
    to get it done. You need not do anything extra to use it for other purposes. you can store any other files along with the bootable OS.
    Take care that you will not delete the OS related files while using it for other purposes.
    If you want to isolate both of them, use Disk Manager or GParted on Linux to make two partitions for it. One for the OS and the other for general use.

  2. Jacob Twitchel
    September 19, 2012 at 2:37 am

    Yes you can. You could make multiple partitions. If I remember correctly when I did it I had to make the first partition the partition I want to store my data on for Windows then the next partitions for Linux. If not Windows may not recognize the partition. I learned that the hard way. lol

  3. Abidhusain Momin
    September 18, 2012 at 5:51 am

    Yes Of course you can use it.

  4. Abaquin Dharence
    September 17, 2012 at 8:43 pm

    no! you cannot install an OS on a USB.. :D

    • Lisa Santika Onggrid
      September 20, 2012 at 2:02 pm

      You can. Many tools exist for this purpose, as well as lightweight Linux distribution such as Damn Small Linux or Puppy Linux :D

  5. Elrick Browne
    September 17, 2012 at 3:33 pm

    yep you would have to make 2 partitions tho, one ext 3 and the other fat32 ( whichever linux distro you use can do this for you) and install linux to the ext3 and the fat will be there for other purposes

  6. Erlis D.
    September 17, 2012 at 1:48 pm

    Yes, you can! When you create the bootable usb(that runs the linux system..), you specify the size that should be used for the os, and the size that remains free, can be used for other purposes...
    It depends on the linux os, but after you have logged in, in your computer (using linux), explore all the folders.. The one with the linux os files, is your usb.
    To find it easy, create an empty folder with your name, inside your usb, before logging in with linux!

  7. Anandu B Ajith
    September 17, 2012 at 12:12 pm


  8. mohit kumar
    September 17, 2012 at 10:15 am

    Yes, absolutely.

  9. Hiren Patel
    September 17, 2012 at 7:44 am

    Here are the steps:
    1. Download Ubuntu From the below Link.(Image file of Ubuntu OS)
    2.copy image file of Ubuntu 12.04 to hard disk.
    3.Open UNetbootin then select Distribution as Ubuntu.
    automatically in 2nd box 12.04 live appeared.
    (Download UNetbootin from this Site: )
    4.Now click on Diskimage & select that Ubuntu image file(which you saved in hard disk)by clicking on “…” (Browse) button.
    5.Space used to preserve files across reboots (Ubuntu only) in this put value in MB that How much space you require for Ubuntu remaining space you can use for other Purpose.
    6.finally press OK.
    7.when process successfully competed then restart your system then go to BIOS Setting—>BOOT Menu find USB BOOT Option.
    8.Make It enable (USB BOOT —Enable).
    Save Setting & exit.
    Now your PC starts With Linux OS i.e Ubuntu

    "That's All Now you can use your USB Drive as portable Linux OS As well as Other Purpose".

  10. Rakesh Mishra
    September 17, 2012 at 7:17 am

    yes first umaki bootable and then use the remaining space

  11. Bruce Epper
    September 17, 2012 at 6:11 am

    You can use UNetBootin to create a LiveUSB stick. It supports Ubuntu, Debian, Fedora, FreeBSD, Gentoo, Puppy, Mandriva, CentOS and many others. As far as having it as a dual-use device, it isn't something I have tried, so I'm not sure if it will work and I don't currently have an unused USB stick to try it out on.

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