Live USB stick only run on processor of computer it was created on?


I am new to the forum and this is my first post. I would just like to first say hi to everyone and also that I’m glad to be here. With that said, I have a couple of beginner questions I would like to ask.

1) If I was to burn any distro onto a USB flash drive (with persistence), if I created it on a computer that has an Intel processor, would it only boot on computers that have Intel processors? Same with AMD processors: if I was to create the bootable USB drive on a computer that has an AMD processor, would it only boot on computers that have AMD processors?

2a) In order to create a multiboot USB flash drive (or even a multibooting dual-boot HDD/SSD for that matter), is it true that I must first manually wipe the USB/HDD/SSD and then convert it to GPT in order for the multiboot process to work properly? I have read/seen this in more than one article/tutorial and from my understanding your computer must also support UEFI which mine does as most modern computers do these days.

2b) If it is fact true that you need to “manually” wipe the drive beforehand and then convert it to GPT format, what do these tutorials mean when they say “manually wipe” the drive? Is that just their way of saying format it?

Thank you all very much for your time.

I will take and appreciate any help and/or advice I can get.

Oh, and lastly, please don’t hesitate to include some good guides/tutorials whether they are articles, YouTube videos, or what have you. I have found some very nice ones so far myself (a lot of them on this site).


Hi and thank you for using our forums…!

If I understand your question correctly then the answer is NO. However, the correct question you should be asking here is whether your CPU is 32-bit or 64-bit architecture. You can expect the 32-bit image to run on 64-bit CPU architecture, however, you cannot run 64-bit image or software for that matter on 32-bit CPU.

This is a common misconception as many Linux images are marked as i386 or i686 which refer to 32-bit architecture and not that they can be used only for Intel CPU. Furthermore, then you can find images marked as AMD64 which again refer to 64-bit CPU architecture. These images will run on any Intel or AMD CPU a long as it supports 64-bit architecture.

i386 images are slowly disappearing as for example Ubuntu dropped 32-bit images since Ubuntu 17.10.

Moreover, the other important question you should be asking yourself when creating USB live is whether the Linux Distro image supports UEFI boot and whether the hardware you intend to boot your USB live from is capable to boot UEFI image.

When changing the partition table from for example DOS to GPT the data on the filesystem will no longer be accessible after the switch. This does not mean that the data are not still physically present as it only means that you cannot access them by default when running the ls command. From this reason, I do not not see a reason to manually wipe out the data prior changing the partition table type.

However, you might want to manually remove the data if privacy is your concern. But then again, even if you use rm command to remove your data it still does not mean that the data are completely removed unless they are overwritten with new data.

To change to GPT table simply use fdisk command with -z option and choose GPT partition. The -z option ensures that any existing partition table is ignored and you start with clean sheet. For example as root or sudo user run:

# fdisk -z /dev/sdX

Depending on what process you are using to create your USB live sitck, one could expect that the partition table and partitions are automatically created for you.

I hope this answers at least some of your questions…!



Hello @Lubos,

I apologize for my delayed response, however I would like to thank you very much for your detailed reply! I understand everything you said completely fine, but I forgot to mention the fact that I will be creating these initial live bootable USB flash drives from Windows 10 Pro and not from within any Linux distro. With that said, in the near future I will be creating them from within Linux so your answer to question 2b was definitely helpful!

Would you (or anyone else) mind suggesting a good tool to use within Windows 10 Pro to create a (preferably persistent live Multibooting) USB flash drive, if anyone knows of one? I have discovered countless tools, however because I have found so many, it’s hard to figure out which is the best choice! Therefore, if no one has any recommendations, I don’t mind figuring it out through trial and error.

I will say that right now I am really enjoying Rufus a lot, but Rufus doesn’t support multibooting as far as I can tell. However it is great (and very fast) for creating single-distro bootable live USB flash drives. As far as multibooting distros is concerned, what about using Partition Wizard Pro? Live Linux USB Creator? UNetbootin? Any and all recommendations will be greatly appreciated!

Thanks in advance!


I personally would not dare to recommend any MS windows tools. I switch from MS windows many, many years ago and never looked back.

However, since you mentioned that you are also thinking of using Linux for this task I have recorded a video on how to easily create a persistent storage USB live Ubuntu system using the mkusb command. Hopefully you or some other users will find it useful:

Without knowing more about your project and intentions I’m unable to provide you with more specific solutions.

Hope this helps…



Hello lubos,

Wow! Thank you so much! Switching from Windows to Linux and never looking back is exactly what I am planning on doing. I already have some beginner knowledge and experience with Ubuntu, Debian, and CentOS. However, this experience is limited to the Terminal only (thus far).

Right now I am running Windows 10 Pro (64-bit) and I would like to format Windows as soon as possible and (for now) dual-boot Ubuntu 18.04 LTS Bionic Beaver and Windows 10 Pro (64-bit). As soon as I feel comfortable enough to make the jump, I’m going to get rid of Windows altogether.

You may be wondering why I initially inquired about a persistent USB live Ubuntu system. Well, I’d like to have a live version of Ubuntu burned onto a USB stick for testing purposes, always having a backup/separate copy, and also for portability purposes (so I can carry it around with me wherever I go considering for now I am only working off of a Desktop). So once again, thank you very much, because the video you just recorded will help me out more than you know, especially considering I currently have access to a CentOS VPS, a Ubuntu VDS, and Debian running on the Windows 10 Linux Subsystem (yikes! I know, I know). I access the VPS and VDS via SSH, and well, you know how I access the Debian “terminal.” :face_with_raised_eyebrow:

Now, back to the dual-booting I’d like to accomplish as soon as possible. After I post this reply I am going to start searching YouTube for a tutorial on how to accomplish this from within Linux (if even possible with my current access to my Linux terminals. Although, maybe I could do it via a live USB stick?). However, of course if you have any suggestions and/or further tutorials, not only would I be happy to hear/see them, but I’d prefer to use them over anything else!

Lastly, dual-booting Windows 10 Pro and Ubuntu 18.04 is ultimately where my question regarding manually wiping a drive and formatting it to GPT before doing the partitioning originated from. Once again, I had only read this in at least one, although I believe two different articles/tutorials; but, since I wasn’t sure if this was necessarily true, that’s why I asked about it here.

Thanks again! :smiley:


Switching from Windows to Linux and never looking back is exactly what I am planning on doing.

Well, if this is the case then just do it and forget about the dual-boot completely! I know that you may not like this approach but believe me that this is the only proper way to do it! I know for certainty that after few days/weeks you will develop an aversion to the entire dual-boot idea and you are very likely to fail, hence you will stick to MS Windows since at the moment it is more convenient way to get your work done.

Rather then dual-boot I suggest to install bare metal Linux desktop ( no dual boot ) and if you need to, simply install MS Windows as virtual machine with Virtualbox or VMware. This way you work solely on Linux system from the day one and only reach for MS windows when necessary. Chances are that anytime you get stuck you will be lazy to fire up MS Windows virtual machine and rather spend time looking for Linux solutions. Which is exactly what you want!

In my opinion dual-boot for somebody who is serious about switching to GNU/Linux is a poor man’s game and in the long run it is also a waste of time.

If you are serious about switching to GNU/Linux just ditch the whole MS Windows straight the way with no dual-boot option and spend your time by learning the system rather then rebooting it every-time there is hiccup! Yes, it will be a headache at start, but it will get better with every moment you spend with GNU/Linux.

In any case I’m happy to provide assistance in any direction you choose to go. Please mark here a correct answer if there are no more questions relevant to LIVE usb stick and create a new thread for every new question you might have.

Not sure if this was helpful :smile:


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