I have a 64GB flash drive with Linux on it (as if it were a hard drive), which I would like to shrink and add another partition to. But to do that, I need another Linux install to shrink the filesystem.

To do that, I'd like to install a Live CD onto my external hard drive. I have other partitions I would like to keep, and one empty partition I plan to install the image onto.

How can I install the live CD onto the empty partition, without touching my other partitions? There should be no need for a bootloader, since I already have one on my flash drive.

I'm on Mac using EFI, so I should have all the normal BSD command-line tools available, as well as Disk Utility. My auxiliary bootloader is rEFInd, so it should hopefully be able to find the Live CD partition automatically. My problem is the copying part.

I have Etcher installed on my Mac, but it's not seeing the partition by itself, just the whole drive. Weirdly, it is showing my other HFS+ data partitions.

I do have a Linux VM (Parallels) available as well, if that makes things easier, but getting external disks to show up inside it can be tricky. And as an absolute last resort, I also have a Windows 10 partition (if for some reason I need Windows-only software).

  • Why don't you just do it from the live CD?
    – Layne B
    Oct 29, 2018 at 18:15
  • The Live CD is currently just an ISO image. (: I'll probably just use the VM directly, I think that's how I installed it on thr flash drive in the first place.
    – SilverWolf
    Oct 29, 2018 at 18:24
  • Ah, that makes sense. What distro are you using? Arch linux provides a netboot iPXE build you could boot into without installing anything. Arch isn't exactly new-user friendly but for just shrinking a partition it should be manageable.
    – Layne B
    Oct 29, 2018 at 18:31
  • I'm using Elementary OS on the flash drive, Ubuntu 14.04 in the VM.
    – SilverWolf
    Oct 29, 2018 at 18:55
  • 1
    The shrink went perfectly, I now have a 2GB empty partition to install onto.
    – SilverWolf
    Oct 29, 2018 at 19:24

1 Answer 1


Apparently Ubuntu comes with an application called Startup Disk Creator that worked perfectly. Don't run it with root permissions, though, unless you want it to overwrite your external drive's EFI partition.

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