A Live USB is a USB flash drive that contains full Operating System and can be used to boot a system successfully. Currently, most of the PC firmware allow user to boot from a USB drive, which in turn permits the launch of an operating system from a bootable flash drive. Such a configuration is known as a Live USB.
A live USB is a technique of distributing an operating system (OS) on a portable device that plugs into or connects to the universal serial bus (USB) port on a computer. These portable devices not only include the storage devices like USB drives and external hard drives but also include other consumer devices like smartphones and media players.
Depending on the capacity of the USB, users can carry any operating system of their choice for use on other computers. However, most of the live USBs have been Linux-based, which are often used to run that OS on Windows systems without making any changes to the host computer. Windows To Go is the first Microsoft operating system, to boot and run from a USB device other than those for embedded systems.
Live USB is often referred to as an operating system on a stick. As the storage capacities of the USB devices are increasing, Live USBs were even made to function as a “computer on a stick”. Moreover, on USB Live the users can not only store the operating system but can even store applications and files on it.
Advantages of Live USB
NOTE: It is essential to employ proper data encryption and backup methods as the USB drives can be easily stolen or lost
Operating System Support: Many operating systems including Microsoft Windows XP Embedded, Mac OS 9, Mac OS X and many of the other GNU / Linux and BSD distributions can be used from a USB flash drive. In addition, Windows 8 is also capable of running from a USB drive, with Windows To Go.
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