Introduction: Creating a Computer You Can Carry in Your Pocket

Picture of Creating a Computer You Can Carry in Your Pocket

These instructions will guide you through all the steps necessary to create a bootable Ubuntu LiveUSB that you can use like a computer and take with you anywhere you go. You will use a USB flash drive for this computer, so you will be able to carry it on a key chain, in a backpack, or inside a purse. Best of all, all of your files and settings will be saved to the flash drive so you can have a consistent experience no matter where you go!

These instructions are written in a way that anybody can create a LiveUSB with limited computer experience. The time required to download the software depends greatly on your internet connection speed, but once you have downloaded all the files you should have a fully functional LiveUSB in about 30 minutes.

Let's begin by looking at what you will need!

Step 1: Gather Supplies

Picture of Gather Supplies

For this project, you will need to gather and have access to a few supplies:

  1. Access to a computer running Windows 7, 8, or 10. Ideally you should have administrator access on this computer.
  2. Access to a second computer with an unlocked BIOS menu. This may be the same computer you install from. You should have access to the BIOS menu if you are using a personal computer, but you may need help on a company machine.
  3. A flash drive 4GB or larger in size.
  4. An internet connection.
  5. A web browser.

Step 2: Prepare the USB Drive

Picture of Prepare the USB Drive

This project requires a clean USB drive with no data on it, so we will get it ready now.

  1. Plug your USB drive into the USB port in your installation computer
  2. Open the flash drive in Windows Explorer
  3. Browse through the files and identify any that should be saved
  4. Copy these files to another flash drive or to the computer

All files will be deleted in the next step, so make sure all important files are saved somewhere else.

Step 3: Download Software

Picture of Download Software

We will now download the software we will use in the next step.

  1. Open your web browser
  2. Go to www.pendrivelinux.com/universal-usb-installer-easy-as-1-2-3/
  3. Scroll down the page slightly and select the blue Download UUI button
  4. Select Save if a prompt asks if you wish to Open or Save the file
  5. Go to www.ubuntu.com/download/desktop
  6. Find the Ubuntu 15.10 box and select the orange Download button
  7. On the next page, select the line of text that reads Not now, take me to the download>
  8. Select Save if a prompt asks if you wish to Open or Save the file
  9. Wait for the download to finish

Step 4: Install Ubuntu

Picture of Install Ubuntu

Now we will create the LiveUSB.

  1. Open the downloads folder
  2. Double click on Universal-USB-Installer-1.9.6.3.exe
  3. Select Yes on the Windows security prompt
  4. Read the terms and select I Agree
  5. In the first drop down menu, find the sub-menu titled "--Ubuntu 32/64 Bit--"
  6. Select Ubuntu
  7. Beside the second field, select the Browse button
  8. In the window that opens, navigate to the downloads folder
  9. Select Ubuntu-15.10-desktop-amd64.iso
  10. Click Open
  11. In the third menu, select the drive letter of your USB flash drive
  12. Check the box next to the statement that reads Format :\ Drive (Erases Content)
  13. Do not move the slider
  14. Click Create
  15. Click Yes in the window that pops up
  16. When the process completes, click Close

The LiveUSB has been created, but we will test it next to make sure it works correctly.

Step 5: Test

Picture of Test

For this step we will use the second test computer to make sure the LiveUSB starts and runs correctly.

  1. Turn off the computer
  2. Plug the flash drive into an open USB port
  3. Press the power button on the computer
  4. As soon as the manufacturer's logo appears, press the boot menu key repeatedly. The exact key depends on the manufacture but is often the ESC, F9, F11, or DELETE key
  5. One the boot menu appears, stop pressing the boot menu key
  6. Use the arrow keys to highlight the flash drive
  7. Press the ENTER or RETURN key to boot from the flash drive
  8. When the Ubuntu screen appears, use the arrow keys to highlight Try Ubuntu without installing
  9. Press the ENTER or RETURN key to load the operating system

If the computer starts up without any errors and a purple and orange desktop appear, then you have successfully installed Ubuntu as a LiveUSB!

Step 6: Use

Picture of Use

The computer is now ready to use! The environment is set up and will persist between restarts and different computers as long as the files are always saved to the flash drive. When you are done with the instance of the live computer, follow the steps below:

  1. Save any files to the flash drive
  2. Click the Gear in the top right corner
  3. Click Shutdown
  4. When the system has powered off completely (indicated when all the lights on the computer turn off), pull out the USB flash drive

When you need to run the computer again, simply follow the instructions in step 5 again.

Congratulations! You now have your very own LiveUSB computer that is as mobile as you are!

Comments

yyymohan (author)2016-03-30

misleading title

dborges2 (author)2016-03-28

I'm not agree with the title, should be: "how to create a bootable USB drive" and use Linux OS on any PC.

Krishna MohanM (author)2016-03-28

nice.. gonna try this one..

DIY Hacks and How Tos (author)2016-03-26

Nice portable computing setup.

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