Having a ready-to-run portable Linux-based security tool set can be very useful. Although similar to the classic CD/DVD-ROM based bootable distributions, a USB-based toolkit can be a real life saver if the computer you wish to run it on doesn’t have a working optical drive. The process of writing data to the boot record of a USB drive isn’t exactly common knowledge. Although there are many ways to do this, I will outline a very simple procedure below.

You will need:

  • 1 portable USB drive with adequate space on it (available at Amazon, Newegg, etc)
  • 1 copy of BackTrack in ISO format (or other live Linux distribution)
  • 1 copy of UNetbootin (open source)

Step 1:
Plug in your USB drive and run UNetbootin

Step 2:

In the “Diskimage” section, enter the disk location of the BackTrack ISO image

Step 3:

In the “Type” dropdown box, make sure “USB Drive” is selected and in the “Drive” dropdown box, select the drive letter corresponding to your portable USB drive.

Step 4:

Click “OK” and wait for the program to work its magic

When it’s done you should have a nice bootable USB drive containing a live Linux distribution– perfect for peeking at the hard drives of a host computer, troubleshooting network problems, or impressing your friends.

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2 thoughts on “Putting a Live Linux Security Distro on a Portable USB Drive

  1. Yagnaroopaya says:

    I have posted a complete how-to for the linux newbs at LinuxBuzz.net

  2. Wilson says:

    Thanks for the awesome post, it helped me out a lot.

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