Manjaro XFCE 20.0.3 - Persistent USB - released

There was always the demand of persistent USB-images. Since our manjaro-tools are not able to produce them, we looked for a different way. We found ALMA, which we modified to our needs. With it it is easy to create your personal persistent USB-images. Simply install alma-git from our unstable branch and checkout our presets.

pamac install alma-git

You may also follow our video tutorials:

Or simply download our USB-Image and flash it with Etcher. Username is manjaro, Password is manjaro.

direct | sig | sha1


What is the difference to just installing normal version to usb? I have used such a system for years, is there a benefit from switching to this type?

the normal version of the USB images we have are not persistent. Basically, everything you do is only for that session. Maybe you change the keyboard layout or install another app, next time you boot to the USB’s live session, those changes will be gone.

A persistent USB acts more like a normal installation that you would have on your hard drive. When you change something, you can expect it to be persistent across boots.


No i meant installing the normal release on usb disk and booting from it like booting from hard disk.

Can’t comment on this particular one but in general persistent images are designed to be compatible with a broad range of hardware all at once rather than just for the system they were installed from so they perform better when being taken between different PCs. For an example from the ALMA page: “Some configuration is applied in order to minimize writes to the USB and making sure the system is bootable on both BIOS and UEFI systems.”


That’s very very useful and interesting, thanks for the hard work.
I’ve been searching for a Chroot method to create a custom Live-Session ISO for myself, to deploy on multiple machines with the least amount of tweaking.
For this purpose, I used to use a tool called JLiveCD, but so far it is not compatible with Manjaro yet, just Ubuntu-based distros or pure Arch, which I never used.
In such case, persistence would not be interesting to me because I want to avoid any writes to local disk and SSD as possible, I don’t want constant writes being done. So it’s a very specific use-case, yeah. Also, it’s useful to keep the browser profile and cache inside a ramdisk (like the Live-Sessions do) because they heavily access disk constantly.

Do you happen to know what are the methods this ALMA tool uses to “minimize disk writes as much as possible”, as referred by them?

Since it is Manjaro 20.0.3, is the default kernel not Linux59 but Linux54?

I flashed the provided image and booted it… but after logging in, I just get a blank desktop (I can see the wallpaper, but nothing else), and nothing else ever loads.

I did try on a couple of different flash drives and made sure to verify the sha1.

Any ideas?

For myself using an usb install without encryption is a big no go, with alma you can easily include it in the alma command with -e.

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I downloaded the pre-made image and Etcher is saying my 32gig flash drive is too small. How much space is needed?

I’m very excited about this. Linux Mint would’ve been my 1st Linux install had I not been saved at the last minute by a buddy. The reason is that I was testing only the distros that could run persistent. I ended up making Manjaro my 1st HDD install without ever seeing it first. I’m so glad I listened. I usually don’t. This will make Manjaro a viable option for people who test the way I did. I’ve been trying find a way to do this since I started with Manjaro 6 years ago. This is AWESOME!!

EDIT: OMG!! A friend gave me this flash drive to put Manjaro on it for him. I just opened gparted and I can’t believe my eyes. Lol. Forget my question.

EDIT2: I do have another question. Has this been tested as an installer? Can this replace my Emergency Rescue Manjaro Installer? I do see that it’s unstable, but that’s easy enough to change and, since it’s persistent, can I move the Live Image to Stable Branch after I get it on the USB?

EDIT3: I now see that it’s not an installer at all. It’s more like an actual install on usb.

What is the root password of the pre-made image? It’s not letting me do things without it like a regular installer. I’ve tried: manjaro, root, toor, orajnam, and leaving it blank. All failed.

EDIT: I tried to watch the video to maybe see the root password, but there’s no sound. Pavucontrol cant connect to Pulse Audio, I can’t get the inxi from it because there’s no inxi installed, and I can’t install anything without the root password because manjaro isn’t in the sudoers file. It doesn’t seem to be able to see my hard drive either. This is on a laptop that runs Manjaro Xfce just fine. I think a persistent live installer would be better. I guess when I have more time I’ll switch to unstable and see what I can do, if anything. For now, I guess I’ll have to give this guy a persistent MX Linux USB while he waits to buy a hard drive and make yet another apt lover. Blah.

EDIT: Alma is very cool. I spoke too soon.

There is no root password set it seems. It should be able to use “sudo” as this is what the repository suggests (alma/presets at master · philmmanjaro/alma · GitHub) as defined in the user.toml-file but that does not work and renders the pre-built image rather useless.
@philm Could you please fix this so we can have a persistent USB image where we can become root?

If you make the image yourself with alma sudo does work and you can set a root password . I don’t know why philm’s doesn’t, but I’m glad it doesn’t, because I learned to use alma and customized a few things, like making the image 14GB so it would install in a 16GB flash drive and, hopefully, use most the size as persistence. Today I go and trade the guy this 16GB Manjaro USB Install for the Persistent MX Linux USB I made for him last week. He seems to like Linux and we may have another user in the community shortly. Thank you for this, @philm

I tried to put an alma image on a ventoy multiboot usb and it didn’t work. I wonder why…It would be cool to have usbs with both an alma/manjaro persistent image AND an installer for when they decide they like it. If anyone has any luck putting this in a multiboot, please share and I will as well.

If I install Manjaro on a persistent USB drive I will have manjaro-chroot to use on it?
This is because I have another installation of Manjaro in another partition and I don’t have it, I can’t use it.

No, if you install Manjaro on an persistent USB drive you can boot from it on serveral PCs and just use it as normal installation. All setting you adjust and application you install will be persistent. That means these (applications/settings) are still there when you boot it on an other (or next time on the same) PCs .

Thats the differnt to the Live-USB which resets to default every time you boot.

Yes, I know about this, I just want to use it to chroot (change root) in to another Manjaro installation, if this is possible?
I will keep using an image of the system to boot from the USB when I need.

Ok, so I have missunderstood your question sorry. So yes chroot from the persistent-USB should work as long as you could mount the / from the other manjaro installation.

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This image is useless for me since default user is not in sudoers list.

In August when Phil first put up this post, I installed the .iso on a 128GB stick and used it on multiple computers until about a week ago, when I messed something up while addressing cumulated .pacnew files. I decided to wipe the stick and start over with the Alma instructions provided here: GitHub - philmmanjaro/alma: Create Arch Linux based bootable USB drives. I found out that it’s really, really easy to get a system up and running this way. I did not use any presets – I just did the original install script, then added the Gnome desktop (Install Desktop Environments - Manjaro) and tinkered to give myself sudoer permission, switched from stable to unstable, added a couple Gnome extensions and so forth. There were some glitches with the DE installation, but nothing major, and now I have a much better functioning persistent USB system than I had before. I’ve even added a couple extra kernels. Couldn’t be more happy, and I think it’s very worth installing a system with the Alma commands rather than the official .iso, if only for the customization possibilities.