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Boot and run Linux from a USB flash drive options

PenDriveLinux - Boot and run Linux from a USB flash drive.

Rufus - Create bootable USB drives the easy way.

UNetbootin - allows you to create bootable Live USB drives for Ubuntu and other Linux distributions without burning a CD.

Recommended USB Flash Drives

Remember that the higher the read speed, the faster Linux will boot into memory.
Note that different capacities on the same brand/model USB Flash drives can have different read/write speeds.

Mushkin Enhanced Atom 16GB
USB 3.0 Flash Drive Model MKNUFDAM16GB
Read 155 MB/s Write 11.5 MB/s
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820226463
http://www.amazon.com/Mushkin-Enhanced-Flash-Drive-MKNUFDAM16GB/dp/B00HJBOD3I/

Mushkin Enhanced Ventura Plus 16GB
USB 3.0 Ultra High Speed Flash Drive Model MKNUFDVS16GB
Read 200 MB/s Write 25 MB/s
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=9SIA2W02KN2396
http://www.amazon.com/Mushkin-Enhanced-Ventura-Flash-MKNUFDVS16GB/dp/B00A8OYVFS/

Mushkin Enhanced Ventura Ultra 120GB
USB 3.0 Flash Drive Model MKNUFDVU120GB
Read 445 MB/s Write 440 MB/s
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=9SIA85V3R08146
http://www.amazon.com/Mushkin-Enhanced-Ventura-MKNUFDVU120GB-120GB/dp/B00FSAHH5I/

Disk Partitioning and Backup Tools
 

Parted Magic - The Parted Magic OS employs core programs of GParted and Parted to handle partitioning tasks with ease, while featuring other useful programs (e.g. Partition Image, TestDisk, fdisk, sfdisk, dd, and ddrescue) and an excellent set of documentation to benefit the user.

Acronis Disk Director -  is the easiest and most convenient partition manager and hard disk toolkit. It brings together the most popular disk management functions, partition recovery tools, and boot disk manager.

Acronis True Image - provides the maximum flexibility to ensure you are adequately protected and can recover from unforeseen events such as hard drive failures, etc. Create an exact copy of your PC for a full backup or backup only your important data - your choice.