Question Encrypted portable Linux instalation on a flashdrive.

Feb 14, 2020
I would like to create an encrypted Linux installation on an USB stick that i can boot into on multiple computers. Could you please give me a hand? I’m not quite sure how to go about it.

It’s not the first time i installed Linux, i used Debian previously for quite some time and installing linux encrypted is not the problem, it’s the bootable on multiple PCs part I’m having trouble figuring out, though i imagine the encryption might require some tweaking too if I want the stick to work on multiple computers, i really have no idea. I thought of using Devuan instead of Debian since AFAIK systemd which Debian uses is hard to make portable. Honestly I’m not very set on the distro, i would prefer a fully FOSS distribution but if having some proprietary software installed will be required/much easier I’m just gonna deal with it, I’ll probably need to install graphics drivers for at least two PCs I’m gonna be booting the stick on.

I know I’m probably not going to have full disc encryption but i would like to encrypt more than just /home, encrypting the entire / partition with only /boot left readable would be ideal.

Could you please give me some instructions on how to go about making such installation?


Feb 20, 2016
The usual way to do this is to set up an encrypted LVM on that drive and put everything in it except /boot. Debian installer offers this as an automatic option. /boot code handles LVM/LUKS so having multiple computers has nothing do to with it.

Not that encrypting / without /boot still doesn't protect you from an evil maid attack (someone tampering physically with your USB and altering /boot to steal your encryption password the next time you boot).


I actually did this just a few days ago:
OS : Linux Lite 4.8
USB sick : Corsair Voyager GT 64BG USB3.0

I choosed encrypted LVM under installation and I also disconnected the internal storage devices just in case before installation.

The result : It totally work. But there is a caveat. On this particular USB stick (and probably the same for most other usb sticks on the marked in same price range) - the responsiness of the system is flat out terrible - because of poor write performance to that device.
So - as an emergency backup OS yes. As a day-to-day use, no.