Create a common Parrot USB Live Device.

You can follow these guidelines How to create a boot device

Remember you have to create two partitions, the first containing only the system, so it has to be as great as the ISO image.

The best way to create this first partition is to use the dd method.

The second step is to create a second partition formatted in ext4 with persistence as label, this second partition

has to contain a persistence.conf file containing the following text: / union

but let's go further

First Step

Once you’ve downloaded your Parrot ISO file, you can use dd to copy it over to your USB stick as follows:

WARNING. Although the process of imaging Parrot on a USB stick is quite easy, we recommend you go through it only once you’ve mastered each and every step of the process: a simple mistake in the “dd” procedure can result in the destruction of arbitrary partitions. You’ve been warned.

Plug your USB device into your Linux computer’s USB port.

Check the device path of your USB storage with dmesg or with ls /dev | grep sd.

Carefully proceed with the imaging of the Kali ISO file on the USB device:

dd if=Parrot.iso of=/dev/sdb

wait until the process ends.

Second Step

With Gparted

Open Gparted and select the pendrive device

You will find a first unrecognized partition followed by an empty space

Create a new ext4 partition in the following empty space, it has to be as great as the persistence space you want to give to your Parrot USB drive.

Give this new partition the label “persistence”

Confirm and wait everything is done

Then mount the persistence partiton and create the persistence.conf file in it

Open the file with a simple text editor, type / union and save the file.

It's done, now your Parrot USB drive can boot with persistence if you boot it using the persistence label in the boot menu.

From Terminal

Create and format an additional partition on the USB stick. In our example, we create a 2 GB persistent partition and create a persistence.conf file on it.

size=2gb iso=Parrot.iso read bytes _ < <(du -bcm $iso |tail -1); echo $bytes parted /dev/sdb mkpart primary $bytes $size mkfs.ext4 -L persistence /dev/sdb2 e2label /dev/sdb2 persistence mkdir -p /mnt/parrot_usb mount /dev/sdb2 /mnt/parrot_usb echo “/ union” > /mnt/parrot_usb/persistence.conf umount /dev/sdb2

Live USB is a good way of testing out Parrot Security without making changes to your computer. Unknown to many, there is a data persistency mode in the Live session where you can make changes and save files to your USB drive and the data will persist even after shutting down the live session. After testing out the live session, you can also install the distro to your USB drive instead of the internal hard drive. Both methods allow you to boot Parrot Security from a USB drive and save data to it. So what are the differences between the two and which one should you use?

What happens is that when you boot up the USB into the Live session, and make changes to the system, such as download a file, run the system update, install an application etc, your data will be saved to the reserved space in the USB drive. Data saved in this reserved space won’t be deleted when you shut down the live session. The next time you boot into the live session, you are still able to access and retrieve the data.

Advantages of Data persistency in Live Session

1. The main advantage of a Live USB is that it doesn’t need a lot of storage space. You can easily create a Live USB with data persistency with a 8GB USB drive while a full installation will require at least 10GB of storage space. 8gb pendrive for the full and 4gb for Parrot Lite.

2. A Live USB is configured to run on almost all desktops and has a great compatibility with various hardware. If you want to test the Parrot Security distro on various computers, using a Live USB with data persistency is the best way to do it.

Disadvantages of Persistent Live USB

1. The main disadvantage of a Persistent Live USB is the security issue. When you boot up a live USB, it boots directly to the desktop. There is no login or any security mechanism to protect anyone from accessing your data. The live USB is meant for you to test the distro and install it to the hard drive if you like it. It is not meant to be used as a production OS.

2. Slower boot up time. On bootup, the Live USB has to run a series of compatibility test to make sure that it can run well on the machine. This slows down the boot up time greatly.

3. The Parrot Security distro in the live USB is outdated. Most Linux distros have their own update manager that can automatically update itself to the latest version. The Linux distro you are running in the USB is created from the ISO image which is often the release version, not the updated version. While you can technically run a system update in the live session to upgrade it to the latest version, there is a high chance that it might break the system because of a conflict in kernel and the bootloader is not configured to make use of the new updated kernel.

Full Installation of Parrot Security on USB drive

A full installation of the Parrot Security distro onto the USB will perform just like any other desktop Linux, except that the core files now reside in the USB drive instead of the internal hard drive.

Advantages of Full Install USB

1. A more secure system. You are required to login before you can use it and password is required to run any administrative task.

2. Faster bootup. A full of Parrot Security installation on USB is known to boot up much faster than a live USB.

Disadvantages of Full Install USB

1. Most Linux distro required a minimum of 8GB of storage space to install. However, as USB drive get bigger (in storage) and cheaper, this is becoming less of an issue.

2. Hardware compatibility. When you do a full installation, the installer will customize the system to work well with the current set of hardware. This means that if you use the full install USB on another computer, especially one that uses proprietary video driver, chances are that your Parrot Security won’t run well.


When you are testing out the Parrot Security distro, or are using the live USB as a rescue disk, then it is useful to make use of the data persistency feature in the live session. Other than that, it is not advisable to use the Live USB as the production OS.