Running and upgrading Ubuntu from a USB stick

Tweet: How I formatted a USB stick to run Ubuntu 9.10 Netbook Remix on my ASUS eee PC 900, using my Windows PC.

Wow, I'm so thrilled that I was able to make this happen! 🙂

I just formatted a USB flash drive (USB stick) to run Ubuntu 9.10 Netbook Remix on my ASUS eee PC 900, using my Windows PC. It runs wonderfully and it's a giant leap forward from the Linux Xandros installation that came with the ASUS netbook's sales package.

It took me some time to figure out how to do this, and I got somewhat lost in the Ubuntu wiki forest. In the end it was much easier than it seemed at first, so if you want to do the same, let me recap my steps to perhaps save you some time:

  1. Download the desired installation from the Ubuntu website (in my case, a file called "ubuntu-9.10-netbook-remix-i386.iso" onto your Windows PC.
  2. Insert a USB stick with sufficient memory (1GB for Ubuntu's Netbook version, 2GB for Ubuntu 9.10 for the desk top, ?? GB for the server version?)
  3. Backup any files from the USB stick that you may want to save, as the stick will be reformatted in the process.
  4. Download the Universal USB Installer from
  5. Install and run the Universal USB Installer:
    1. Select your Ubuntu distribution from the drop-down list.
    2. Select your USB flash drive (USB stick).
    3. Select a Persistence Option for your USB (Optional) – (I actually didn't select this because I didn't know what to choose)
    4. Click "Install".
    5. At some point you could check a box to reformat the USB stick (recommended).

  6. After completion, safely eject the USB stick from your Windows PC.
  7. Insert the USB stick to your switched-off compatible netbook.
  8. Switch on your netbook.
  9. For the ASUS eee PC 900: press "Esc" on startup to display the boot drive options.
  10. Choose the USB flash drive to boot the netbook.

And there you go!

What's cool about this is that the netbook now runs on a complete netbook OS from the USB stick. I am planning to install Ubuntu 9.10 Netbook Remix on the machine itself and get rid of Linux Xandros after backing up all my files first.

After that, I'm planning to install Ubuntu 9.10 for the desk top onto a USB stick in a similar way, and use it to upgrade Ubuntu installations on computers at the office.

Next question:

Tweet: What makes a netbook a netbook? Or: should I install Ubuntu 9.10 or Ubuntu 9.10 Netbook Remix on my 7-years-old laptop?