I am looking for a Windows or browser based app which will let me build a distro, with apps which I choose which, can be run from a USB stick. Actually generating an ISO is enough, as I can then use Rufus to put the ISO onto the stick.

At the moment, I would prefer Ubuntu, but could live with other distros, and the only apps that I want are GpartEd and Double Commander (I could live with some other file manager, I guess).

Ideally, a 1gB or 2gB US stick as destination, which might influence the choice of distro.

Basically, I am building a rescue stick, so that I can periodically back up my Windows partition (while Windows is not running) and restore it in case of disaster.

I am aware of the GpartEd live USB distro, but, although it works, it is showing its age. I looks old & clunky and Midnight Commander, while stable, is also rather out of date. It is also not easy to add new apps to a USB stick created from that distro.

2 Answers 2


The trick is to take a normal Linux distribution, and install it to the USB stick as your "hard drive".

You could do this directly, or install first to a normal disk and then transfer it.

I recently did this in preparation for getting a new computer. First I used debootstrap to install a minimal set of packages. Then I partitioned the flash drive and transferred everything over. After some tweaking, and adding a few more packages, I realized I would need to EFI boot. I removed grub-pc and added grub-efi-amd64. Soon I could boot my existing laptop from it. The only real headache was not realizing I would also need efibootmgr and to mount efivarfs.


recently I came across Ventoy which looks similar to Rufus but

With ventoy, you don't need to format the disk over and over, you just need to copy the image files to the USB drive and boot it. You can copy many image files at a time and ventoy will give you a boot menu to select them.

I haven't used it though. Just bookmarked it.

  • Sorry,maybe I did not make the question clear, but I am not looking for an alternative to Rufus. I want something that lets me choose apps, printer support, configure network, etc, for a Linux distro & then burn that to a USB stick
    – Mawg
    Dec 13, 2020 at 20:01

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