How to take your Linux distribution everywhere

A flash drive in the shape of a moving truck

If you have to use other people's computers, you probably have to use Windows and you don't like it or find it difficult due to lack of habit. In this post we will see how to take your Linux distribution everywhere.

Linux users have the advantage that Not only can most distributions be used without installing, but they can also be installed on portable devices with the condition that they have sufficient storage space.

Here we have a topic of prepositions. Installing Linux from a pendrive is not the same as installing it on a pendrive. In the first case it is the origin, the second is the destination.

The second advantage of a Linux distribution is that, even already installed on a portable device and adapted to a certain configuration, in most cases you will have no problems adapting to the new configuration.

How to take your Linux distribution everywhere

To take our Linux distribution everywhere We can choose three alternatives:

  1. Use it in live mode.
  2. Install it on a portable disk
  3. Use a portable virtual machine client.

Use it in live mode

In live mode, RAM serves as the main storage device. It is a little slower than using it after a normal installation, although on modern computers the difference is not noticeable. Another disadvantage is that when the computer is turned off the modifications made are lost, although there is a way to preserve the changes.

It is possible to allocate persistence space on the installation media. The changes are saved in this space and will then be loaded every time you log in in live mode. Take note of the difference. In the normal installation things are permanently modified on the storage media, in live mode they are loaded as they were originally and then the saved changes are loaded.

Install it on a portable disk

There is no greater mystery here. It is like installing the distribution normally, but on an external device. The best is an external disk although it is possible to use a pendrive with a capacity of 16 GB or more. The speed will depend on the type of USB connection and the device. Although loading is a little slower than the distribution installed from an SSD, the difference is not so noticeable in use.

It will depend on the type of installer that uses the distribution you choose, but you will probably have to choose manual partitioning mode.

Both the live mode and this one have the disadvantage that you will have to change the boot order, if you cannot do it, we have the third option.

Use a portable virtual machine client

A virtual machine is one where the hardware characteristics are emulated by software. In other words, we make the operating system believe that it is on a different computer than it really is. The client acts as an intermediary between the virtual machine operating system and the host operating system.

The advantage is that the Linux distribution we are using will not have to adapt to new hardware. The cons are that the host computer must be configured to allow virtualization and that you will probably need to install some additional software.

To do this, unless you use a very light Linux distribution, you should have a pendrive of at least 32 GB.

The procedure is the next.

  1. Download the last version of VirtualBox for Windows.
  2. If you are on Windows, uninstall VirtualBox.
  3. Download the zip file this page (Upper right corner) and unzip.
  4. Format the destination pendrive.
  5. On the destination pendrive, create a folder called myVMBOX.
  6. Copy the VirtualBox installer into the folder and rename it Virtualbox. Make sure it keeps the .exe extension.
  7. Copy the start_virtualbox.bat and uninstall_virtualbox.bat files that you unzipped from the .zip to the same folder.
  8. Double click on start_virtualbox.bat. The first time you run it, it will install the virtual machine client on the pendrive.
  9. Create the virtual machine making sure the destination folder is on the pendrive.

Points 8 and 9 must be done in Windows. I didn't test if it worked with WINE. Once finished, you can close the virtual machine and use your favorite Linux wherever you want.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked with *



  1. Responsible for the data: Miguel Ángel Gatón
  2. Purpose of the data: Control SPAM, comment management.
  3. Legitimation: Your consent
  4. Communication of the data: The data will not be communicated to third parties except by legal obligation.
  5. Data storage: Database hosted by Occentus Networks (EU)
  6. Rights: At any time you can limit, recover and delete your information.