Pixel x86 on USB with Persistence

The Pixel x86 OS represents a lightweight and very popular desktop Linux system released by the Raspberry PI foundation. It’s lightweight footprint as well as it’s clean desktop makes it a perfect solution for either creating a live system on a SD card or on a USB stick or to breath new life into your old laptop.

The Pixel x86 OS is surprisingly fast and reactive andit comes with all the system tools you need to run a great Linux based desktop.

One aspect I struggled with was to create a USB flash disk live system that is capable of persisting your settings and data instead of loosing them after each reboot.

The first and most important prerequisite for that is to understand that your USB stick or SD card has to offer an additional partition that will then be automatically mounted by Pixel OS and used as a read/writeable partition.

Follow these steps to create a USB or SD card based live system with persistence:

  1. Download the Pixel x86 OS iso image.
  2. Flash the iso image to your SD card or USB flash disk (I used etcher for flashing, which worked pretty well)
  3. Boot with the newly created live Pixel system and install gparted by
    1. apt-get update
    2. apt-get install gparted
  4. Start gparted and create a second partition on your USB stick or SD card that contains the rest of your storage. Name/label the second partition ‘persistence’ and select an ext4 file system type.
  5. Mount the newly created second partition and create a file ‘persistence.conf’ with content ‘/ union’ directly in its root directly.
    1. sudo bash
    2. mkdir /mnt/usb
    3. mount /dev/sdb2 /mnt/usb    (please first check with df if /dev/sdb2 is really the name of your second USB partition)
    4. echo “/ union” > /mnt/usb/persistence.conf
  6. Thats it, reboot and you are fine!