How to create a bootable Ubuntu USB flash drive from terminal?


Creating installation media for your operating system of choice used to be simple. Just download an ISO and burn it to CD or DVD. Now we’re using USB drives, and the process is a little different for each operating system.

You can’t just copy files form an ISO disc image directly onto your USB drive. The USB drive’s data partition needs to be made bootable, for one thing. This process will usually wipe your USB drive or SD card.

First, Make Sure You’re Using a USB 3.0 Drive

For only $15, it’s a great upgrade

USB 2.0 has been around forever, and everything supports it, but it’s notoriously slow. You’ll be much better off making the upgrade to USB 3.0 since the prices have dropped dramatically, and the speed increases are enormous… you can get 10x the speed.

And speed really matters when you’re making a boot drive.

Editor’s Note: We use this Silicon Power USB 3.0 drive here at How-To Geek, and at $15 for a 32 GB version, it’s well...

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Ubuntu, a Nguni Bantu term meaning Human-ness, recently released version 14.04 LTS (Long Term Support) codename Trusty Tahr. Based on Debian Linux, Ubuntu is estimated to be used on more than 26% of all Linux websites.

Since its first release in October 2004, it is estimated that, in 2011, Ubuntu had in excess of 20-million users worldwide and it is being increasingly adopted for large-scale public sector deployments, notably the Gendarmerie Nationale, thus replacing expensive Microsoft Office licences with OpenOffice for 5,000 workstations.

Regardless of whether you have thousands of workstations, or not, experimenting with Ubuntu from a USB drive is a good way to get an introduction to this interesting and alternative operating system.

In this tutorial I'll show you how to use Mac to create a Ubuntu USB drive that can be used on a PC.

How to Create a Bootable Ubuntu USB Drive

1. Download Ubuntu

Open a...

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The download of the Linux Mint ISO should start and depending on your speed can take some time.

2. Create a bootable USB drive

Insert a blank USB drive into your computer.

Follow the above link for pendrive Linux and scroll half way down the page until you see the "Download UUI" link. Click on the download link and wait for the program to download.

When the download has completed double click on the executable.

When the license agreement screen appears read it and then click "I Agree" if you accept the license.

Creating the drive is fairly straight forward.

The first thing to do is choose your distribution of choice, in this case Linux Mint, from the dropdown list.

Click on the "Browse" button. Find the downloaded Linux Mint ISO.

Select your chosen USB drive letter and make sure that the "We will format" option is checked.

At this point you can create the USB drive so that it persists data. This...

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I re-downloaded the memstick i386 version then unzipped it onto my Ubuntu desktop folder. I then opened terminal and umouted the device (4GB USB Flash stick) then ran the following 'dd' command.

dd if=/home/daf/Desktop/pfSense-memstick.img of=/dev/sdb1 bs=16k

There where no errors generated so I assumed it ran correctly. After running the 'dd' command I was unable to mount the USB drive from the terminal or gparted but I assumed this was a normal result of the data overwritten onto the drive. I then restarted the PC with the USB drive plugged in. It appeared to ignore the drive and proceeded to boot from the internal hard drive into Ubuntu. This was done on my test PC which is an old emachine with an AMD Athlon 64 Processor 3800+. Also, as I noted before, I was able to load and test pfSense on this PC using a Live CD disk but this is not an option for the other mini-ITX PC I want to load pfSense to since it does not have a CD drive.

The PC I want to finally...

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This article will help you to create bootable USB drive on Linux operating system through Linux command line. This article has been tested with Ubuntu ISO on Ubuntu 14.04 command line.

Install Required Package – First install some required packages using following command. $ sudo apt-get install syslinux mtools Mount ISO – Now create mount point and mount Linux ISO image using following command. $ sudo mkdir /media/iso $ sudo mount -o loop /opt/Ubuntu.iso /media/iso Attach USB – Now attach your USB drive to your computer. Generally it mounts automatically. But in case it’s not mounted use following command to mount it. $ sudo mount /dev/sdc /medma/usb Copy OS Files – Now copy all files from mounted iso to USB drive. $ sudo cp -ra /media/iso/* /media/usb Make USB Bootable – Finally we need to make this USB bootable. Copy ldlinux.sys file to USB drive to make it bootable. $ sudo syslinux -s /dev/sdd1

Now rename some required files and directories as like below....

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How to Install and Use UNetbootin from Linux: UNetbootin is a Live USB creation tool that can be used to create a Live Linux USB flash drive. One nice feature of UNetbootin is that the tool is offered for Windows and Linux. In the following, I will cover how to quickly get UNetbootin up and running within an Ubuntu Linux Operating Environment.

UNetbootin was created by Geza Kovacs, released under GNU GPL v2.

Official UNetbootin Homepage:

How to Install and Run UNetbootin under Ubuntu Linux

Open a terminal (applications > accessories > terminal) Type wget Type chmod +x ./unetbootin-linux-* Type sudo apt-get install p7zip-full Type sudo ./unetbootin-linux-*

Alternately, you can double click the unetbootin-linux-* file to run it, since it was marked executable in step 3.

How to Use UNetbootin under Ubuntu Linux

Insert your USB flash drive and Start...

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Creating a Bootable USB Drive

On Ubuntu and Ubuntu MATE

GNOME Disks is pre-installed on Ubuntu 16.04 and newer. Use the Restore Disk Image… option, which natively supports XZ compressed images.

If Disks is not present on your system, you can install it from the terminal:

sudo apt-get install gnome-disk-utility

On GNU/Linux

The image can be directly written to a microSDHC using a utility like dd, but we prefer ddrescue (from the gddrescue package).

For example, for Debian-based systems:

sudo apt-get install gddrescue xz-utils unxz ubuntu-mate-15.10.3-desktop-armhf-raspberry-pi-2.img.xz sudo ddrescue -D --force ubuntu-mate-15.10.3-desktop-armhf-raspberry-pi-2.img /dev/sdx

Replace /dev/sdX with your actual device. Use the lsblk command to check.

On Windows

If you want to make a microSDHC using Windows we recommend:

On Mac OS X

Official instructions are provided by...

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Ubuntu is the most popular Linux distribution used for Desktop environment as well as servers. For installation of new systems technical support engineers prefers to use bootable USB flash drive in place of CD/DVD drive. USB bootable drives makes installation faster than other media like CD/DVD. This article will help you to how to create Ubuntu bootable USB drive using Ubuntu, Debian or LinuxMint operating system.

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Now a days technical support engineers prefers to use bootable USB flash drive for Linux installation in place of created bootable CD/DVD drive. Installing system using bootable flash USB drive is much faster than CD/DVD. This article will help you to how to create bootable USB drive of any Linux distribution using Ubuntu or LinuxMint operating system.

In this tutorial, we are...

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This is a step by step tutorial shows you how to install the real Ubuntu OS on USB stick to create a ‘Windows To Go’ style USB drive. Tested with Ubuntu 14.04


Before getting started, you need to prepare something:

A 8GB+ USB Drive. A Ubuntu Live CD/DVD/USB. In the case below, I created a bootable Ubuntu Live USB from the .iso image. A computer with an operating system installed.

And always backup your data on the USB flash drive!

To get started:

In my case I have a newly bought 16GB USB stick, a 4GB old USB stick, and a laptop multi-boot with Ubuntu based systems.

1. I don’t have a Ubuntu CD/DVD, so I decided to burn the Ubuntu .iso image into the old USB stick. To do so:

Download Ubuntu image: Download UNetbootin: For Ubuntu, install it from Software Center. Plug in the USB stick. Start UNetbootin, and burn the .iso image into USB

2. Plug in the bootable...

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Recently, we polled groovyReaders, asking you “What’s stopping you from trying Ubuntu?” One of the top concerns was uncertainty over how to safely install Ubuntu without risking damage to your main operating system. grooveDexter has already provided a few solutions that can help you get your feet wet with Ubuntu and other Linux distros without radically altering your existing Windows-based system: dual-booting Windows/Ubuntu with Wubi and virtualizing Ubuntu within Windows. Now, I’m going to show you one other way to get into Linux risk-free.

Running Linux: Dual-boot vs. Virtualization vs. Live USB

The two methods outlined by Dex definitely have their strengths. But there are also some drawbacks. Dual-booting is the easiest method, after the initial setup, since it doesn’t require any bootable media. But due to some of the complexities of how Wubi integrates into your system disk, there are still some risks to your Windows installation in the event of a crash. The...

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CD/DVD drives have gone obsolete and USB drives have become more popular and cheaper now. Thats the reason we prefer to use USB drives instead of CD or DVD to install a new system.

There are many utilities available which can do this. UNetbootin (

) is one of them. UNetbootin allows you to create bootable Live USB drives for Ubuntu, Fedora, and other Linux distributions without burning a CD. The best part of it is that it runs on Windows, Linux, and Mac OS X. You can either let UNetbootin download one of the many distributions or supply your own Linux .iso file. It has a very simple user interface.

For Command Line Lovers

For command line lovers like me the best utility to burn a .iso to USB drive is "dd".

Insert the USB drive and open terminal (Ctrl+Alt+T) better be a root (sudo -i), don't be afraid believe in yourself use "fdisk -l" to find the USB device

So in our case its /dev/sdb Make sure the...
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First, unmount the USB device and then use lsblk to verify the device.

Sometimes (usually older iso files) dd is not sufficient and the pendrive will not boot. In this case, you may need to install syslinux:

sudo apt-get install syslinux

and then run the following commands:

sudo mkfs -t vfat -I /dev/sdX

You want to run that last command to /dev/sdX and not /dev/sdX1.

Then, proceed with the following commands:

isohybrid /path/to/file.iso --entry 4 --type 0x1c dd if='/path/to/file.iso' of=/dev/sdX bs=8M

or instead of dd, you can use cat instead:

sudo -s cat /path/to/file.iso > /dev/sdX ...
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Don’t feel like reinstalling an antivirus program every time you boot up your Ubuntu flash drive? We’ll show you how to create a bootable Ubuntu flash drive that will remember your settings, installed programs, and more!

Previously, we showed you how to create a bootable Ubuntu flash drive that would reset to its initial state every time you booted it up. This is great if you’re worried about messing something up, and want to start fresh every time you start tinkering with Ubuntu.

However, if you’re using the Ubuntu flash drive to diagnose and solve problems with your PC, you might find that a lot of problems require guess-and-test cycles. It would be great if the settings you change in Ubuntu and the programs you install stay installed the next time you boot it up.

Fortunately, Universal USB Installer, a great little program from Pen Drive Linux, can do just that!

Note: You will need a USB drive at least 2 GB large. Make sure you back up any files on...

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The Ubuntu Live CD isn’t just useful for trying out Ubuntu before you install it, you can also use it to maintain and repair your Windows PC. Even if you have no intention of installing Linux, every Windows user should have a bootable Ubuntu USB drive on hand in case something goes wrong in Windows.

Creating a bootable USB flash drive is surprisingly easy with a small self-contained application called UNetbootin. It will even download Ubuntu for you!

Note: Ubuntu will take up approximately 700 MB on your flash drive, so choose a flash drive with at least 1 GB of free space, formatted as FAT32. This process should not remove any existing files on the flash drive, but to be safe you should backup the files on your flash drive.

Put Ubuntu on your flash drive

UNetbootin doesn’t require installation; just download the application and run it.

Select Ubuntu from the Distribution drop-down box, then 9.10_Live from the Version drop-down box. If you...

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Updated August 21, 2016.

This guide shows you how to create a UEFI bootable Ubuntu USB drive.

The point of creating a USB drive in this way is to ensure that when you run Ubuntu and start the installer you will definitely be installing Ubuntu using the UEFI version and not the standard BIOS version.

The USB drive created using this guide will not work on computers without the UEFI bootloader.

If you don't have a UEFI bootloader follow this guide to create a bootable Linux USB drive.

For this guide you will need a blank USB drive with at least 2 gigabytes of space.

As an additional bonus this guide will also show you how to make the drive persistent so that changes made in the live mode are kept for each subsequent boot.

The first thing to do is download Ubuntu by visiting

(Make sure you download the 64 bit version of Ubuntu)

After you have downloaded Ubuntu you will need to...

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I recently had to create a Windows 7 bootable USB flash drive for my girlfriend because she doesn't have a DVD-ROM, and I had to do it from Ubuntu as I don't have Windows (neither at work or at home).

What I ended up on using is the good old (just a figure of speech)


which is available for both Windows and Linux. It's in the Ubuntu repositories so to install it, search for it in the Ubuntu Software Center. For Windows and other Linux distributions, get it from



At first I didn't think it'll work since you can't choose Windows from the UNetbooting options, but it actually works and I've successfully installed Windows 7 on my girlfriend's computer using UNetbootin. Here's what I did:

How to create a bootable Windows 7 USB Drive while using Ubuntu

Firstly, make sure you have a

Windows 7 .ISO

file (you can create it from the DVD) and a

4GB USB flash drive

(or larger).

1. Install Gparted...

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I have used the following technique to flash the BIOS on a HP N54L ProLiant MicroServer. I think it should work for other systems too that just need to run a command from MS-DOS after booting from a USB stick.

I accept no responsibility if this goes wrong. If you don't understand what these instructions do then you probably shouldn't be attempting it.

The following assumes that you have a set of files, or an archive file, that contains the new ROM and a script or executable that applies it. The BIOS might have come with an executable to create a USB from scratch; if you've got this far, you've probably tried running that already and failed. What you need to find are the ROM file and script or executable. In my case, the ROM file was called O41072911.ROM and the script was called FLASH.BAT.

Create a bootable USB stick

Firstly, you need a USB stick formatted in the most basic way possible. This will erase all data on your USB stick, so back up anything...

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The current UNetbootin boot chain is not compatible with UEFI and computers that come with a pre-installed copy Windows 8

You can use dd instead, while being careful in what you are doing:

sudo dd if=/path/to/iso/windows.iso of=/dev/sdg bs=4M; sync

This requires that your motherboard is able to boot from CDROM-USB.

If you want still to use UNetbootin, there are 2 (3) things that you will need:

Unetbootin Gparted Internet access to install all the above, the Windows ISO image and a USB stick with more than 4GB.

So, first, backup all the contents of your usb stick. Once that is done install gparted and unetbootin:

sudo apt-get install gparted unetbootin

Now look for gparted in the Dash or type gparted in the terminal. Select your USB stick from the right dropdown list. In my case it's /dev/sdg, yours may be different. Remove all partitions and create a single big FAT32 partition with Gparted.

Once that is done, unplug and plug your USB...

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As you want to create a LiveUSB you need a .iso image to make it. The Mac image is a .dmg file, so you must to convert this file into .iso, and then install it.

DMG2IMG (1, 2) will convert the .dmg image into a .iso image. To install open a terminal and enter this command: sudo apt-get install dmg2img

With dmg2img you will create an .img file and this file will have the same format as an .iso file, you just need to replace the extension.

In the terminal enter the following commands or paste the script with the necessary modifications:

# Replace "OriginalFile.dmg" with the filename including the extension # of your file. The extension will be replaced where necessary unless # you want to specify the filenames yourself. filename="OriginalFile.dmg" # Replace with your file name and it will create the IMG file dmg2img -i "${filename}" -o "${filename%.dmg}.img" # Note that the extension of the first file is ".img"! mv "${filename%.dmg}.img"...
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Why a Bootable USB Drive?

Most computers sold these days don't have a 3.5" floppy drive, yet many computer manufacturers still only provide BIOS flash utilities that require booting to a DOS environment. Luckily there is a free version of DOS called FreeDOS and a utility called UNetbootin to the rescue. Using these two free programs you can create a bootable USB drive that will enable you to flash your BIOS.

If you're looking for the directions to do this on Linux, check out the posts titled Create a Bootable FreeDOS USB Drive on Linux With UNetbootin and Create a Bootable USB Drive with Ubuntu and FreeDOS.

Download and Run UNetbootin

Download the Windows version of UNetbootin from the UNetbootin homepage on and save it to your computer. Insert an empty USB drive into one of your USB ports. Double click the unetbootin-windows-latest.exe file you downloaded to start the program.

Install FreeDOS to Your USB Drive


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