UPDATE 11/23/2020: Am reclaiming Media Library space by deleting old pics. Trying to thin out the Media Library’s pics from posts that get few visits … hopefully it doesn’t ruin your view of the post.
A ‘Live’ USB Distro is generally used to test the Distro without actually installing it (doesn’t change anything else on your computer) *AND/OR* installing it to a HDD or SSD if you like what you have seen. ‘Live’ USB can boot, make changes to settings (e.g. mouse, Wireless, etc), install programs, import bookmarks, etc; however, as soon as you reboot, you’re back to the original ‘Live’ USB with nothing saved. With Persistent Storage all those setting changes, installed programs, imported bookmarks, etc get saved. However, most Linux Distros don’t offer any kind of ‘Live’ USB Persistent Storage … some offer a little, e.g. Ubuntu and Zorin offer just about everything except Updates. Distros like Puppy Linux, BionicPup, Kodachi and some others offer it all on just about any ‘Live’ USB creator app. You can really test that Linux Distro much better, without disrupting your Desktop/Laptop, and everything gets saved to the ‘Live’ USB since it has Persistent Storage. Some you can literally install to a USB, and in fact, many of those are made that way…others you can spend all day trying to get the Distro installed onto a USB from a ‘Live’ USB, and then have that effort fail. Personally, I use BionicPup as my ‘Portable’ Distro of choice. Puppy Linux has been an expert at various Persistent Storage methods since before DVD’s and USB’s – they get right and make it easy to do in the process.
I’m no expert on USB flash drives – far from it, and have only recently upgraded my USB collection to mostly 3.0/3.1 of sizes over 14-16 GBs. People claim they are fast, but 10 MBs a sec ain’t fast (when they’re suppose to be “640MBps”!), to me anyway – fast is like 150-350 MBs a sec…”640MBps” would be great, and I don’t recall a 2.0 USB flash drive ever doing 60 MBs. I won’t buy anymore USB’s over 14-16 GBs because they are just too slow. Portability, more rugged than a DVD, and that’s about it, IMHO. I still use DVD-RW’s if I am testing a lot of Distros, since they are a lot cheaper than USB’s; however, USB’s are great for testing one are two ‘Live’ Distros, and for moving a Distro like BionicPup from computer to computer. Enough babbling – on to Persistent Storage…
snip … For USB Linux users, a persistent Linux install is one that allows its user to save data changes back to the USB storage device instead of leaving the information in system RAM. This data can then be recovered and used again on subsequent boots, even when booting from different machines. Typically a separate Persistent storage space (persistent overlay) is used in conjunction with a compressed Live Linux OS.
That’s from Pendrivelinux.com where you can find their Universal USB Installer “aka UUI is a Live Linux Bootable USB Creator” which I have used for a long time, and it offers a step to setup a Persistent files – on some Linux Distros. Universal USB Installer (UUI) doesn’t work with exFAT, so you’ll need a FAT32 USB – seems newer USB’s 32GB and over come with exFAT, so I am using an ADATA 16GB formatted at Fat32(Default). Rufus USB creator has recently added an “EXPERIMENTAL” Persistent Storage, but it apparently only works on some Ubuntu-bases Distros and Ubuntu 19.10.
I will be using Ubuntu 18.04.3 and Zorin OS 15 Core, and UUI has them both listed. Everything worked great on them both, until I did a full update on them, and then they wouldn’t get past the Initramfs prompt after bootloader. Didn’t want to get into the cause and/or see if there was a fix…just don’t do the system update. With Persistent Storage on the ‘Live’ USB, you can even use it as a ‘Base’ to test other Distros or utilities like Clonezilla or apps like ‘Dash to Panel’. Tweak the Firefox browser, import bookmarks, and you’re ready to start testing and searching. Add some Word docs and test the office products for Linux. Lots of testing can be done with Persistent Storage, and you don’t need to reinstall apps or import bookmarks or switch primary mouse buttons again or etc. Don’t just ‘Kick the Tires’ … take it on a ‘Test Trip’ for a week or two. Oh, BTW, like with most ‘Live’ Linux Distro versions, this ‘Live’ USB with Persistent can be use on most other computers – Rule of Thumb – if you can’t install Ubuntu on it, then you can’t install any Linux Distro on it.
OK…some pics from the Ubuntu Persistent process…here is the Universal USB Installer (UUI):
Make sure you have your USB in, then select your Distro (Ubuntu), then browse for the Ubuntu iso:
Select your USB…then you’ll notice the ‘Step 4: Set a Persistent file size…’ – Fat32 only goes up to 4GB on file sizes, so select a tad less than 4GB…then hit Create:
UUI will always double-check what you want at this point … on any Distros – select Yes:
OK…with the ‘Live’ Ubuntu USB now with Persistent, we boot it up and into the desktop:
Notice where and what the icon apps are in that above pic…now we remove some, add others, and reboot or shutdown (for a few minutes test)…reboot into the newly saved desktop:
You’re coming from Windows 7, so maybe you want that taskbar relocated and that Top Bar removed…open the Ubuntu Software folder, in upper right corner run a search for “dash to panel” (w/o quotes) and the next 2 pics show the process:
Click on the Dash to Panel app in 2nd pic above, and you get this:
After selecting Install in above pic, you get this:
That does it for the Ubuntu portion of this post, and now we move to the Zorin OS Persistent process…starting with Zorin Distro and the iso selected in the UUI:
Select your USB and set Persistent file size:
And here Zorin OS with Persistent, after some setting changes and apps added…then rebooted back into newly saved desktop.
Zorin’s taskbar is in their default position at the bottom (it can be moved or changed) so no need for Dash to Panel. Anyway, this gives you Windows 7 users another choice to look over before support for WIN7 ends…
NOTE: Will add this post to the WIN 7 series: For Windows 7 users page.