Thanks for the response.
I haven't been able to get persistence to work, and my changes to the guest password aren't retained. I don't know how I would change the root password even on a standard install.
You did not say what version/release of PCLOS you are using, but persistence was not functioning in the kernel used for the 2010 Beta.
Hopefully it will be working for the final release.
This is all new to me. If I were to configure my system and then make a custom ISO to use on the USB, would that still autodetect hardware (so I could move from machine to machine) or is the LiveCD iso needed for that?
Presumably I can't just install PCLinuxOS on the USB stick like I would on a hard drive.
If you configure an installed system, and use the remaster tool, that produces a livecd ISO which is a duplicate of your installed system.
That ISO is then bootable in a variety of hardware in the same manner as the original ISO released by PCLOS, with the added changes you have made to the installed system incorporated.
In that way you can determine what accounts are included and what passwords they require, and what additional software is installed and have it maybe updated before the remaster is made and so on.
It is also (I believe, never tried it) possible to create a new master from a running & updated live environment. If that is the case it would be a matter of making changes and then remastering the liveUSB environment, then using the remaster with the changes made as the liveUSB.
Flash sticks are not suitable media for an install of the OS because an install will shorten their life considerably.
Nonetheless you can indeed install the OS to a flash drive ..... just select that drive as the location for the install and the installer should do it. It would need to be a larger sized flash stick though as it would soon begin to fill when the OS is uncompressed from the live CD and some software and updates are added etc etc.
For changing passwords and other stuff to do with user accounts I suggest you look at Configure your Computer (PCC) - System - Manage users on System. You should be able to do what you need from there.