Best of Linux

Best Linux Distros to Install On a USB Stick

If you are a regular user of a computer/laptop, you know that it is good to have a portable operating system because your system may go out of function. Nowadays, different portable operating systems are pretty lightweight, and you can carry these OS in a CD drive or USB. So, if you want to have your OS in your pocket for using it in another system and complete your urgent work while you are far from your system, then you can do it with these portable OS. In this scenario, Linux distros of Linux distribution will work well for you because it requires minimum space, and you can run it through secondary storage. There are different Linux distros available, so we will give you complete information about the best Linux Distros to install on a USB stick in this article.

  1. Puppy Linux Distro
  2. Ubuntu GamePack
  3. Sugar on a Stick
  4. Elementary OS
  5. MX Linux

Puppy Linux

It regularly delivers updates to improve performance, and it is suitable for web browsing and basic computing. This Linux distro is customizable as it has puplets (various customized versions). Each puplets provides different features, so there are multiple puplets available such as special function puplets, non-English puplets, etc.

Puppy Linux is a tiny Linux operating system that offers a fantastic user-friendly UI. It is a small OS, but it provides file recovery and portioning tools with good portability. This Linux Distro is one of the best Linux distros to install on a USB stick. It can run on any pc because it collects different Linux distributions built on similar principles or uses the same tools. It includes a package manager to easily install the additional application and save the session data in different files.

Pros and Cons of Puppy


  • It is designed for running through a USB/CD.
  • The requirement of running this Linux distro is shallow.
  • It is promising as a Linux distro.
  • It uses JWM as a window manager.


  • It is not light as it was in the past.
  • The UI is not amazing, and it feels obsolete.
  • It has a small software library.
  • There is no built-in composting.

Ubuntu GamePack

As it is cleared with its name, Ubuntu GamePack is based on Ubuntu. It offers different features to play 28000 games, which are developed for Windows or Mac. Ubuntu GamePack also includes Steam so that you can download the existing library of Linux titles. It comes with the pre-installed delivery systems for different internet games or game clients and different programs like WINE. Initially, this Linux distro was not developed to be bootable or portable for running through a USB. The size of Ubuntu GamePack is 2.6 GB, and Ubuntu has settled on the GNOME desktop environment, but GamePack still works with Unity. Remember that Ubuntu GamePack has no pre-installed game, so you must install them from different sources to run it on your machine.

Pros and Cons of Ubuntu GamePack


  • It is simple and provides amazing support.
  • It offers a huge range of software.
  • It has a dedicated software center.
  • It offers a clean interface.


  • It is not customizable enough.
  • It is binarily incompatible with Debian.

Sugar On A Stick

Sugar on a Stick is one of the best Linux distros to install on a USB stick for educational purposes because it is a free software created for kids. Sugar’s aim on a stick is to offer a great experience to the students as it was started as part of the One Laptop per Child project. After that, developers turned it into a great software which can be used without having an internet connection. Hence, this Linux Distro does not require the internet for the process, and you can easily connect your USB for using it. You have an option to install the Sugar directly to your hard drive, but you can run the copy like a live USB desktop.

Pros and Cons of Sugar On A Stick


  • It is lightweight and easy to use.
  • It is very easy to install.
  • Best for educational purposes.


  • The work is limited.
  • The software feels a bit older.

Elementary OS

If you are new to Linux and want something amazing and interesting Linux distros, then Elementary OS is the best Linux distros to install on a USB stick. It offers a modern and easy UI system because it looks like a GNOME desktop environment and Mac that offers an amazing experience and intuitive features. It has many features like Ubuntu, so you don’t have to think about the hardware compatibility gremlins because it works smoothly in low-end devices. App center will give you different apps created for elementary OS and some important apps like Audacity sound editor, GIMP image editor, and LibreOffice suite.

Pros and Cons of Elementary OS


  • It is free to use and stable.
  • It feels like MacOs.
  • It is fast and elegant.
  • It has an active Google+ community.
  • It is lightweight and works well.


  • It is not an excellent replacement for Windows.
  • It is not easy to use.
  • It is not very configurable.
  • It has a slow development cycle.

MX Linux

MX Linux is an open-sourced Linux Distro based on the MEPIS and antiX, and it is designed to work on both new and old systems. The latest version of this Linux Distro is now switched to Debian 9, but it still uses the merge of the MEPIS and antiX. MX Linux is a powerful and amazing Linux distro that aims to work properly, and it has a good online community to help you out. It is best for Linux’s new users because it is simple to use and offers great efficiency. MX Linux is a well-known and reputed Linux distro available now. Apart from it, MX Linux also features lightweight Xfce desktop’s tweaked versions.

Pros and Cons of MX Linux


  • It is lightweight, easy to use, and stable.
  • It is very easy to install.
  • It is based on Debian.
  • It can be a good emergency tool.


  • It can cause overheating of your device.
  • It has old software that causes longer boot time.


This article has provided complete information regarding the best Linux Distros to Install on a USB Stick according to the different purposes and goals. So as we have previously discussed, Linux distros or Linux distribution will work well for you because it requires minimum space, and you can run it through secondary storage. We hope that the given information will help you understand the best Linux distros available and choose the best one according to your requirements. Which one do you prefer? Let us know in the comments below!.

About the author

Simran Kaur

Simran works as a technical writer. The graduate in MS Computer Science from the well known CS hub, aka Silicon Valley, is also an editor of the website. She enjoys writing about any tech topic, including programming, algorithms, cloud, data science, and AI. Travelling, sketching, and gardening are the hobbies that interest her.