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4 ways to create a bootable USB installer on Linux

The primary way of installing a Linux operating system is from a USB. The problem is, many beginner users do not know how to create a bootable USB installer. In this list, we will go over 4 ways to create a bootable USB installer on Linux.

All of the programs we cover on this list require a USB flash drive of at least 2 GB in size. Before you attempt to follow this list to create a bootable USB, make sure the USB flash drive is adequate.

1. Etcher

The number one way to create a bootable USB installer on Linux is with the Etcher tool. The reason? It’s an incredibly easy program that anyone can figure out. To create a bootable USB installer on Linux with Etcher, do the following.

First, download the Etcher program from the official website. It comes in a ZIP archive and is an AppImage file. Extract the file and double-click on it with the mouse to run the program.

Once the program is open, download the Linux OS you want to create a bootable USB installer with. Then, plug in your USB flash drive. When the drive is plugged in, find the “Flash from file” button in Etcher, and click on it.

Browse for the ISO file you downloaded earlier, and select it to add the ISO file to Etcher. After that, click on the “Select target” button, and choose your USB flash drive.

With the ISO file and target set up in Etcher, click on the “Flash!” button to start the creation process. When it is done, you will have created a bootable USB installer on Linux with Etcher!

2. Gnome Disks

If you’re not a fan of the Etcher application, another easy way to create a bootable USB installer on Linux is with the Gnome Disks application. To start the process, you must install the program.

To install Gnome Disks, open up a terminal window and follow the command-line installation instructions down below that correspond with the Linux OS you currently use.

Ubuntu

sudo apt install gnome-disk-utility

Debian

sudo apt-get install gnome-disk-utility

Arch Linux

sudo pacman -S gnome-disk-utility

Fedora

sudo dnf install gnome-disk-utility

OpenSUSE

sudo zypper install gnome-disk-utility

After installing the Gnome Disks program onto your computer, launch it by searching for “Disks” in the app menu. You can also press Alt + F2 on the keyboard and enter the gnome-disk-utility command to run it.

Once the Gnome Disks application is open on your computer, download the Linux ISO file you wish to use to create a bootable USB with. Then, go back to the Gnome Disks app.

Inside of Gnome Disks, look to the sidebar on the left. Locate your USB flash drive, and click on it with the mouse. Then, locate the menu button on the top right. If you can’t find it, it’s to the left of the minimize button.

In the Gnome Disks menu, locate the “Restore Disk Image” button, and click on it with the mouse. Then, select the Linux ISO file to add it to Gnome Disks. Select the “Start Restoring” button to create the bootable USB.

When the process is complete, you’ll have made a bootable Linux USB with Gnome Disks!

3. DD

Many Linux users prefer the terminal console as opposed to using GUI tools. If you’re a command-line fan and want to create a bootable USB, here’s what to do. First, open up a terminal window and use the lsblk command to show a readout of all connected storage devices on your Linux PC. Please make sure that your USB flash drive is connected when this command runs!

lsblk

Look through the lsblk command for the label of your USB flash drive. If you can’t find it, follow this in-depth guide on the subject. It will teach you how to read the lsblk command readout.

Once you’ve figured out your USB flash drive’s label, download the ISO file of the Linux operating system you’d like to create a bootable USB of, and execute the command below.

Note: change /dev/sdX in the command below to reflect the USB flash drive’s label found in lsblk.

sudo dd if=/dev/sdX of=~/Downloads/linux-iso-file.iso status=progress

The flashing process will take some time. You’ll know the process is complete when the numbers in the terminal are no longer updating, and you can type in it again with the keyboard. When the terminal is useable again, you’ll have created a bootable Linux USB in the terminal with dd!

4. ROSA ImageWriter

ROSA ImageWriter is a super useful GUI tool that you can use to create a bootable Linux USB if you’re in a hurry. To start the process, open up a terminal window and download the latest version of the app.

wget http://wiki.rosalab.ru/en/images/7/7f/RosaImageWriter-2.6.2-lin-x86_64.tar.xz

When the app is finished downloading, extract it, and start it up with the three commands below.

tar xvf RosaImageWriter-2.6.2-lin-x86_64.tar.xz

cd ~/RosaImageWriter

sudo ./RosaImageWriter

With the ROSA ImageWriter application open on your Linux desktop, go ahead and download the ISO file of the Linux OS you plan to create a bootable USB with. Then, click on the button next to “Image” to select the ISO file.

Go to “USB Device” and select your USB flash drive (if ROSA ImageWriter doesn’t do it automatically). Once both the ISO file and USB flash drive are selected, click on the “Write” button to start the creation process.

Creating a bootable USB with the ROSA ImageWriter will take time. When the process is complete, your bootable USB installer will be ready to use!

Conclusion

In this list, we covered 4 ways you can create a bootable USB installer on Linux. Each of the methods we demonstrated is great in their own way, but it is up to you to decide what one works best.

What is your favorite way to create a bootable USB installer on Linux? Sound off in the comment section below!

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