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How to create a LiveUSB with data persistence in Windows

27 mayo, 2021

The use of USB drives to install Linux distributions is already very common. You can test the system from them thanks to Live sessions, you can install programs, save files and change various settings. But, as soon as you have to reboot, all changes will be lost.

While this can be useful for a number of purposes, you may want to create a LiveUSB with persistent storage, that picks up the operating system right where you left it.

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What is a LiveUSB with persistent storage?

When you create a USB drive with persistent storage what you do is create a layer up to 4GB that works as a kind of virtual hard disk, roughly speaking. Thanks to this layer, any changes you make will remain there, which means that every time you start the system from USB, they will still be there.

This feature is ideal if you want maintain a Linux system that you will use on different PCs. You will not have to leave everything to your liking every time you start the system every time you reboot, similar to what you would do to install and start Windows 10 from an external disk drive.

Now, it is worth clarifying that data persistence It’s not necesary if you only plan to install one operating system, since after doing so you are supposed to run it from your hard drive.

The limitations of this system

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That the LiveUSB has data persistence does not mean that you can do everything, it has its limitations. You will not be able to install important updates no hardware drivers. What you can do is install most of the existing software, which you can even update.

Also keep in mind that does not work on all distributions. For now we know that it does work with Ubuntu, Fedora and the distros based on them. The process to create a LiveUSB with persistent storage is similar for all distributions that support it: download the appropriate ISO and follow the instructions below.

Creating the LiveUSB

You will need a large enough USB drive first. Ubuntu, for example, needs at least 2GB of storage. If we add to this the 4 GB that the persistence layer needs, you need a unit of at least 6 GB.

In this example we are going to create a LiveUSB with data persistence with a version of Ubuntu. From the headquarters of the distro They recommend using the Rufus tool to create the bootable media in Windows, but it does not support creating USB drives with persistence. For this particular job we will have to use Linux Live USB Creator, also known as LiLi, which you can download from here. Install the program before continuing.

Now download the ISO Ubuntu you want to put on the USB drive and insert the USB drive you want to use in a port you have free. Now open LiLi USB creator and choose the device in the first step.

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The next step is select the Ubuntu ISO. In the second step we select the option “ISO / IMG / ZIP”.

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The third part of the process is what interests us. Use the options you will find here to assign the space you need for persistent storage. Move the slider that you will see on the screen to choose the maximum amount of memory.

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In the fourth step you can choose the options that you think are convenient to apply before creating the LiveUSB, while in the fifth you can create bootable media properly speaking by pressing the button in the shape of a lightning bolt.

The process will take time, but will display a message on the screen When it’s over. From there you can restart the computer to start a session from the unit. To check it out, log in from the USB and create a folder on the desktop. Then restart your computer and boot from LiveUSB again. If the folder is still there, the process has completed successfully.

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