live USB persistence w/ Casper partition vs. full/direct install


New Member
Dec 21, 2023
Reaction score
I’m using a Linux Mint (Cinnamon) USB pen drive with persistence created with Rufus on a Win10 PC. I’ve added a network printer, browser add-ons and system and program changes to verify persistence. I’m ready to move on to my next level of Linux evaluation and look at user privilege by adding a user.

My USB pen drive has a Casper partition and I’ve read that there are numerous reasons to create a persistent USB using the full install aka direct install method to fully explore Linux live via USB.

I’m exploring Linux in general as an OS replacement for MS Win using Mint (Cinnamon) as my starting point. I’ve managed my own PC’s for decades within the MS OS and am looking for a replacement OS that lets me keep doing things my own way like writing my own data back up scripts. I haven’t touched Linux command line shell yet.

Before I go any further, can I keep using my Casper partitioned USB pen drive or should I create a full/direct install pen drive?

As a heads up, I may be tied up a few days after today to respond to any replies to this post so please be patient if you respond. Thanks.

I once created a Flash Drive with was so slow paint dried faster not to mention the Flash Drive not lasting very long.

As for Casper...You'd be better off creating an image of your system and storing on an external HDD/SSD with either Foxclone or Redorescue IMO.
I'm no expert with using GNU/Linux systems off thumb-drives, but have done it years ago. Years ago I used to love a Linux Mint (Ubuntu edition) that I kept on thumb-drive for use when away from home, and using computers owned by others. This was a fully installed system, just existed on a thumb-drive.

Once I got involved in QA (Quality Assurance) testing, I started using dailies, thus the persitence was no longer useful (either installed or live-with-persistence); after all an image was no longer useful within 24 hours.

A live system with or without persistence in my experience (which is mostly Ubuntu) is still a COW (copy on write) system thus it'll be much slower than anything installed. With COW I think of linked lists, and even if the 'list' is small; that is still more work than just reading a sector/block from disk & just using that...

I love the flash media of a USB thumb-drive, it's very cheap, and provides decent storage for stuff that doesn't change often (also love that it can survive being forgotten in your pocket and a wash cycle, such that you can find it, dry it out, and almost certainly get the data off it before its thrown out; at least not used for anything important). Alas I also hate that media!

It is consumable media that has a short life. I agree with what was written in the answers bob466 gave, and respect both C.S.Cameron & Sudodus. I wish the USB-flash drives sure would last longer, and I wasn't needing to replace them as often as I do... alas I do a lot of writing to them...

I'd prefer a full install on thumb-drive if I had to use flash media over persistence.. but some installers will not install to thumb-drive which means live-with-persistence (COW) maybe necessary. FYI: The last Lubuntu that I was able to 'easily' install to thumb-drive was 18.04 when the ubiquity installer was still used; I stopped testing it when the switch was made to calamares, and tested it via live+persistence (and that was mostly as Sudodus asked me too).

I sure wouldn't trust a USB flash install (be it full install OR live+persistence), but when I used them I always used network/internet storage for all my datafiles; so I only had setup/apps on my flash-media.. and it was fine for that. An installed system I'd expect to be faster than COW too.
Thanks bob466 and guiverc for all the information on re-writable media. The askubuntu link answered some questions that your replies raised when I first read them.

From what I’ve learned about Linux so far coupled with what I’ve seen by using it and the information you provided, my next Linux evaluation steps will probably be with an external HDD via USB instead of a USB pen drive.

I started with a USB pen drive because I’m not investing in new resources for my evaluation yet, but I can reconfigure my WIN10 redundant backups and free up an external 500 GB HDD for a full Linux install. I use a laptop PC in a dock with external monitor, networked printer and a variety of external USB HDD hardware.

It will take time for me to prepare for this so anything you have to add is appreciated while I research my new direction.

Just for grins, I’ve got a USB stick that was a freebie that I used for years when I traveled doing product support. It was used as a revolving Swiss Army Knife of troubleshooting tools and saw a lot of read, write and delete cycles. The strapping tape holds the case together. I’ve been retired seven years, still use it for some things and may hold a ceremony for it when it dies.

USB stick.jpg

Members online