The general procedure to install Ubuntu (or Ubuntu flavour, Kubuntu, Lubuntu, Xubuntu, . ) from a USB flash drive is:
Get the correct Ubuntu installation file, ‘the iso file’, via this link or Ubuntu flavour via this link. Download the iso file into your running computer (for example into the directory Downloads in the internal drive, not into the USB flash drive that you want to make into a USB boot drive).
Check with md5sum (or another checksum tool) that the download was good.
Put Ubuntu onto your USB flash drive alias ‘stick’ alias ‘pendrive’ alias ‘thumb’. Tools for this purpose are described in this help page.
Configure your computer to boot from USB flash drive and boot from it.
Try Ubuntu (Kubuntu, Lubuntu, Xubuntu, . ) before installing it.
Install Ubuntu to your internal drive (hard disk drive or solid state drive or external drive).
See also: Installation/FromUSBStickQuick for beginners starting from Windows.
Ubuntu can be installed from a USB flash drive. This may be necessary for most new portable computers without DVD drives and is handy for others because a USB flash drive is so convenient. Also, you can configure Ubuntu on the USB flash drive to save changes you make, unlike a read-only CD/DVD disk.
Booting from a USB flash drive created with usb-creator alias Startup Disk Creator and mkusb will behave just as if you had booted from the install CD. It will show the language selection and then the install menu, from which you can install Ubuntu onto the computer’s hard drive or launch the LiveCD environment. Other utilities, e.g. UNetbootin, may create slightly different boot drives or if on UEFI might not work at all with Debian iso files due to a bug
Note: This article uses the term “USB flash drive” alongside USB stick, USB drive, USB device, USB pendrive and thumb drive.
To create a USB installation device, you will need:
a 4 GB USB flash device/drive/stick. If the iso file is smaller than 2 GB, it is possible to use a 2 GB USB device, at least with some of the methods. Files on this USB device will be erased, so backup the files you want to keep before making the device bootable. Some of the tools require that this USB device is properly formatted and mounted while other tools will overwrite whatever is on the target device. Please follow the instructions for each tool.
an Ubuntu flavour ISO file downloaded from an official web page, ubuntu.com/download or http://releases.ubuntu.com, stored in your running computer (for example in the directory Downloads in the internal drive, not in the USB flash drive that you want to make into a USB boot drive).
Check with md5sum (or another checksum tool) that the download was good. In Linux there is the tool ‘md5sum’. In Windows you can do it with Rufus: click on the circle with a tick mark (more about Rufus here.)
After a major remake of this help page the following headlines are kept here because they may be linked to from other web sites. Several other headlines further down in the page are also kept for this reason.
Notes about speed
Notes about size
Notes about bootability
The flash hardware
There is a detailed description at the sub-page /pre
Creating a bootable Ubuntu USB flash drive from Windows
There are various methods available for Windows to create a bootable Ubuntu USB flash drive.
NEVER try to use one of your hard disk drives or partitions in this process unless you really know what you are doing, as data will get erased.
Rufus is the tool in Windows that is recommended officially by Ubuntu. A tutorial is available from here.
Pendrivelinux’s Universal USB Installer
Win32 Disk Imager
There is a detailed description at /fromWindows including Rufus, balena Etcher, Universal USB Installer, Unetbootin and Win32 Disk Imager.
Creating a bootable Ubuntu USB flash drive from Ubuntu
Install and run Startup Disk Creator alias usb-creator
The Ubuntu Startup Disk Creator is dedicated to creating USB boot drives for Ubuntu and Ubuntu family flavours (Kubuntu, Lubuntu . Xubuntu).
Use another tool (e.g. ‘UNetbootin’ or ‘mkusb’), if you want to create a USB boot drive with another Linux distro (alias Linux operating system).
You can find usb-creator-gtk by typing “Startup Disk Creator” (Ubuntu Desktop) or usb-creator-kde in K-Menu–>Applications–>System–>Startup Disk Creator (Kubuntu). If it is not there, then you can install it using the Ubuntu Software Center.
Insert and mount the USB drive. Inserting the USB drive should auto-mount it.
Start the Startup Disk Creator
In the top pane of the Startup Disk Creator, pick the .iso file that you downloaded.
If the .iso file isn’t listed, click “Other” to locate and select the .iso file that you downloaded.
In the bottom pane of the Startup Disk Creator, pick the target device, the USB flash drive. If more than one choice, please check carefully, until you are sure that you will be writing to the correct device.
After checking that you are pointing to the correct target device, the USB flash drive, you can start the action.
You must enter a password because this is a risky operation. Use the password of the current user ID (the same as for login and running tasks with 'sudo'. Password is not required when installing from a ‘live’ system (booted from a DVD disk or another USB flash drive).
The Startup Disk Creator clones the iso file, which means that you need neither erase nor format the target drive. It will be completely overwritten anyway by the cloning process. The Startup Disk Creator looks like this in Ubuntu 18.04 LTS:
NEVER try to use one of your hard disk drives or SSDs or partitions in this process unless you really know what you are doing, as data will get erased.
There are bugs that affect the Ubuntu Startup Disk Creator, when you run it in old Ubuntu versions in BIOS mode and try to create USB boot drives with other versions. In the Ubuntu Startup Disk Creator version 0.3.2 in Ubuntu 16.04 LTS, these bugs are no longer a problem, so you can install any version of the Ubuntu flavours from 16.04 LTS and newer versions.
UNetbootin works in and with most Linux distros.
It is an extracting tool (not a cloning tool).
It can make a persistence file up to 4GB in size to save data and defaults.
mkusb – dd image of iso file to USB device safely
If you want to clone from a general image file to a drive, you can use mkusb. It lets you clone to any drive that is not busy, also an internal drive, and there are very obvious warnings to prevent mistakes.
mkusb can also
run in Debian and many linux distros that are similar to Ubuntu and Debian,
clone from iso files of most Linux distros to create USB boot drives,
create persistent live drives of the Ubuntu family and Debian, using all available drive space for persistence and/or data storage,
restore a USB boot drive to a standard storage device.
There is a detailed description at /fromUbuntu including the Startup Disk Creator, UNetbootin and mkusb.
Creating a bootable Ubuntu USB flash drive from Mac OSX
There is a good wiki page about booting with UEFI, and a good tutorial thread, UEFI Installing – Tips.
Test if running in UEFI mode
You may want to test if your Ubuntu flavour is running in [U]EFI mode. An installed system and a live system too is using the directory /sys/firmware/efi, so you can run the following command line,
The following command line is more robust and also easier to understand, so you may prefer it (if you copy & paste and are not bothered by typing a long command line),
How to Easily Create Windows 10 Bootable USB on Ubuntu or Any Linux Distro
This tutorial is going to show you an easy way to create a Windows 10 bootable USB on Linux. I use Ubuntu 16.04 as an example. The method applies to any Linux distribution. I use Windows to do online banking because my bank doesn’t support Linux and sometimes play games that can’t run on Linux.
First, you should download Windows 10 ISO from Microsoft official download link. Note that you might not be able to download the ISO from this link on a Windows computer. This download link is visible to users on Linux computer. Once downloaded, follow the instructions below.
Note: It’s recommended to download the Windows 10 April 2018 update ISO, because the October Update ISO contains a file that is larger than 4GB, which can not be copied to a FAT32 partition.
Update: Microsoft doesn’t allow you to download the Windows 10 April 2018 Update ISO from their website anymore. You can download the ISO via this link: Win10 1803 English x64 ISO
Creating a Windows 10 Bootable USB for UEFI Firmware
This method works for UEFI firmware and is very simple. You create a GUID partition table on your USB stick, create a FAT32 file system on it, and then mount Windows 10 ISO image and copy those Windows 10 files to your USB stick and you are done. The following is a step-by-step guide.
First, install GParted partition editor on your Linux distribution. Ubuntu users run the following command.
Then insert your USB stick to your computer. Make sure you back up important files in your USB stick if there’s any. Next, launch Gparted. You will need to enter your password in order to use GParted.
Select your USB stick from the drop-down menu on the upper-right corner. My USB stick is /dev/sdb . Yours may be different.
If there’s a key icon after the partition name, that means the partition is mounted. Make sure all partitions on your USB stick are unmounted. To unmount a partition, simply right-click on it and select unmount.
Next, on the menu bar, select Device > Create partition table.
Choose GPT as the partition table type and click Apply.
Then right-click on the unallocated space and select New to create a new partition.
Change file system type from ext4 to fat32 and click Add.
Note: The install.wim file in Windows 10 October 2018 update ISO is 4.1G, so if you downloaded this ISO image, you need to change ext4 to ntfs . If you downloaded Windows 10 April 2018 Update ISO, which contains a 3.9G size install.wim file, you can change ext4 to fat32
Update: It is my observation that my NTFS formatted USB stick isn’t bootable on my old laptop, which was bought in 2012. However, it is bootable on my desktop computer, which was bought in 2017. It has a graphical UEFI firware (I can use my mouse to configure firmware settings).
Next, click the green check button on the toolbar to apply this operation. Once that’s done, close GParted (This is important), then find your Windows 10 ISO in file manager. Open it with disk image mounter.
Open the mounted file system. Select all files and folders and copy them to your USB stick.
Sometimes the file manager on Ubuntu hangs and it seems that the copy operation has stopped. Actually it’s working, just be patient. When you see a check mark, it means the copy operation has finished.
If your file manager doesn’t have the Disk image mounter in the context menu, then you can use the following commands to mount. The first command will create a mount point for Windows 10 ISO and the second command will mount Windows 10 ISO under that mount point.
Now in your file manager, go to /mnt/windows10/ and copy all files and folders to your USB stick.
Once the file and folders are copied, your windows 10 bootable USB is created! You can shut down your computer, boot it from this USB stick and install Windows 10 in UEFI mode. Keep in mind that you may need to disable compatibility support module (CSM) in the firmware in order to boot in UEFI mode. You may also need to remove USB stick from your computer and insert it back in order for the firmware to detect the boot loader on your USB stick.
Creating a Windows 10 Bootable USB for Legacy BIOS Using WoeUSB
WoeUSB is a fork of WinUSB. Both of them are open-source software (licensed in GPL) for making Windows bootable USB sticks on Linux platform, but the latter hasn’t been updated since 2012. You may be wondering why it’s named WoeUSB. The author said it’s a GNU convention to abbreviate software that support Windows to “woe”.
To install WoeUSB on Ubuntu 14.04/16.04/17.04, you can use the following PPA. Simply open up a terminal window and run the following commands one by one. Other Linux distro users can compile this software by following the instructions on the Github project page.
This PPA contains many other software. If you don’t need them, you can now remove this PPA from your system.
You can launch WoeUSB from Unity Dash or your application menu.
You can also start it from command line with:
It’s very easy to use the WoeUSB GUI. Select Windows ISO image and your target USB device. Make sure your data on the USB device is backed up before hitting the Install button.
Then wait for the installation to complete.
Once done, you can use the bootable USB to install Windows 10 on your computer.
How to Use WoeUSB From the Command Line
First, find the device name of your USB stick using the following command.
Mine is /dev/sdb . Make sure your USB is unmounted with the following command. Replace /dev/sdb1 with your own partition name.
Then create a bootable Windows 10 USB like below. Red texts shoudl be adapted to your own ISO file name and USB device name. The -v (–verbose) option will give more detailed output.
In my test, the Windows 10 USB created with WoeUSB can boot in both legacy and UEFI mode on my old computer. On my new computer, it can boot in legacy mode but failed in UEFI mode. I don’t know the exact reason, but it’s probably because of bug in this software.
That’s it! I hope this tutorial helped you create windows 10 bootable USB on Ubuntu or any Linux distribution. As always, if you found this post useful, then subscribe to our free newsletter to get new tutorials.