Run Parrot from USB drives

Hi… Can I install and run ParrotOS on USB drive?
It’s not live boot but instead I want to install it directly on the USB drive. I have a SanDisk Ultra Fit USB 3.1 128GB. I don’t want to multi boot on my SSD, just occasionally run the ParrotOS from USB drive just like it boot from the main SSD.

I’m fairly confident that installing any OS to a USB drive will not produce a reliable, stable solution to what you’re trying to achieve. But I have good news! There is a wayyyyy tighter approach to get where you’re trying to go.

You can create a persistent USB bootable device. Basically it’s the same idea as the Live USB, except after burning the ISO to your USB drive you add another partition which will essentially be the USB installation you are seeking. When you create this addition partition you also have the option to encrypt it (highly recommended). The documentation for how to go about this can be found here:

The Kali documentation is also a great resource for adding encryption.


yes you can do that :slight_smile: the way i will do it will be that you remove your SSD first
just incase you overwrite it accidently, but as mokeefe say it might not the most
stable thing in the world , i will recommend you get a seperat SSD and just install
parrot on that :slight_smile: but i imagine if you really need it on a usb you could do
these steps but im not entire sure but im still like very sure this is how it works

  1. Get 2 usb sticks ,
  2. put Parrot os on one usb , and boot it up
  3. plugin your second usb drive you wanna install the parrot on that usb drive
1 Like

Yes… I am well aware of the persistence live USB. However, It’s not what I want to achieve. I know it won’t be as stable as a real hdd or ssd, but I just need to boot it occasionally or as much as I need, and I do work with multiple PCs i.e: home PC, work office PC, branch office PC. I don’t want to leave my persistence drive to be easily accessible without username and password just in case I misplace or lost the drive. I also don’t want to key in WiFi passwords every time I boot…
Hence the direct install on it.

Any pros and cons about doing this? Does it shortened the life of the USB drive? If so, what do I need to know?

most think are already said above i think :slight_smile: unless i missunderstand something my english is somehow broken

and the life time of the USB drive itself is actually a good question
but it will probably last long :slight_smile:

As far as life of the USB drive goes, I’ve had a 256G Sandisk set up with encrypted persistence that has booted hundreds of times and has gone through the same upgrades as my PC. The pros to using the encryption is that without the passkey, it is useless to anyone who may pick it up. All they would be able to do it run the live OS which would not contain any of your personal data. The other pro about the USB persistence is that it behaves like a standard install on a hard drive. So things like wifi passwords and personal configurations would carry through every time you reboot. Also it’s portable. So if you wanted to finish up a project on another computer, you can just save your work, shut down, then everything will be where you left off if you need to wrap up at the office. Additionaly with the persistent USB you do maintain the option of booting into one of the live modes. For instance if you needed a forensics set up or wanted to do some OSINT without altering the host machine those boot options are still available :slight_smile:

The only real con would be read/write performance. SSDs are much faster than flash storage devices in the real world (USB drives don’t do to well when they heat up). But you would have to be pushing it pretty hard to notice any real difference in day to day usage.


Oh yeah there is one other con to USB drives. They’re small and blend in with everything so I’d invest in a keychain or cool USB flash drive necklace :sweat_smile:


I tried persistent USB before… The kernel couldn’t be updated. I am pretty obsessive when it comes to update… :sweat_smile:
That is why I am moving to a direct install on my USB. By the way, I have done it yesterday and i found it boots and updates faster than persistent USB. I can update the kernel now using apt full-upgrade.
I am very attached to my USB drive now :grin:

1 Like

This topic was automatically closed 180 days after the last reply. New replies are no longer allowed.