Pop!_OS is remarkably flexible. You can run a full version of Pop!_OS from a USB drive (often known as a thumb drive, flash drive, or USB stick) in what’s known as a live environment. Using a live environment (live disk) is useful for:
A live disk is a handy tool to have around!
In order to install Pop!_OS, we must first download the .iso image, this is a disk image with the operating system and installer on it. You can download Pop!_OS here, just click the link and the download should begin!
In order to make a live disk of Pop!_OS you must have a bootable flash drive. You’ll need a flash drive, of course, and software to write the Pop!_OS .iso image to the drive. There’s a variety of applications you can use to write disk images to a flash drive, but for this tutorial we’ll use Popsicle.
Popsicle is an open source app for Linux that allows you to “burn images to USB drives safely and easily”, it is installed in Pop!_OS 18.04 and up. If you are running Pop!_OS 17.10 you can install it like so in a terminal:
sudo apt install popsicle-gtk
Once you have installed Popsicle and downloaded the Pop!_OS.iso image, open up the Popsicle application, you should see something like this:
Pick Choose Image and navigate to where you downloaded Pop!_OS, click on it and hit the open button:
Next, select the drive that you want to use; the name of the drive most likely will be the brand name, e.g. “SanDisk” or “Kingston”.
Now hit the Flash button and watch the magic happen!
Once the flash is complete (should look like the screenshot above), it’s time to boot it up on the machine that you want to install Pop!_OS on!
After creating the live disk, insert the USB into your computer, then reboot or power on your system. You’ll need to tell the computer to boot from the live disk by holding a key right as you power on:
|Hold F7 or F1||Hold F12, F8, or F10|
If done correctly, you should see a boot device selection menu, like one of the following images.
Use the arrow keys to select the USB drive, then press Enter to boot the selection.
Pop!_OS will boot into the installer once you pick your language and keyboard then select ‘Try Demo Mode’ in the third slide.
The list provided at the beginning of the article provides links to other articles on using the live environment for hardware testing, restoration/upgrades, and boot repair.
Since the live environment is a full Pop!_OS installation, it works just like the normal environment. There are tools and methods that allow to
chroot (change root) into the normal installation and work in the existing operating system to repair a broken package or other problem that is preventing normal booting.
Perhaps you’re reinstalling, or maybe you can’t boot but you want to try and recover and back up your files? The live environment will automatically detect and mount most file systems including Linux and Windows. You can then copy files from the disk to another external disk using the familiar Files utility.