Create bootable Linux USB stick

A big advantage of Linux is that you can try it out without installing it on your hard drive. Most Linux distributions provide disk images (ISO files) that contain everything you need to start up in a live environment and, optionally, begin installation.

You can write the ISO file to a USB stick to boot Linux from. This saves an installation and allows you to start Linux without installing it. If you still want to install Linux, you can also do this via the bootable USB stick with Linux. There are several Linux distributions that you can use to create a bootable USB stick.

Every Linux distribution has a slightly different installation process, but most all work through an ISO file that you can place on a USB stick to boot.

Create bootable Linux USB stick

Etcher is written in Electron is a cross-platform open-source tool for flashing ISO disk images to USB drives and memory cards.

It runs on Windows, macOS and Linux and offers an accessible graphical user interface that reduces the process of creating a bootable Linux USB to just three simple steps.

You also need a Linux distro. I assume you already have this, if not you can search on Ubuntu, the most user-friendly Linux distribution at the moment.

Create Bootable Linux USB via Windows with Etcher

To get started, download and install Etcher on your computer. Open Etcher and click on the “Flash from file” button.

Then select the Linux ISO file on your computer and click Open.

Select Linux iso file

Then click on “Select target” to select the USB stick. Make sure your computer is plugged into your computer and the USB stick is recognized.

Select USB stick to flash iso

Once you have selected the USB stick, click on the “Flash!” Button.

Make Linux bootable usb stick

The USB stick is now flashed with the Linux distribution. After this process, the USB stick is ready to boot from USB.

Linux flash to usb

Create Bootable Linux USB via Windows with RUFUS

Prior to the release of Etcher in 2016, Rufus was the best way to create a bootable Linux USB in Windows. This bootable USB flash drive creator is much faster than all its Windows competitors, and it can create live USB drives for systems with both BIOS and UEFI.

To create a bootable Linux USB with Rufus:

  • Download Rufus from his official website.
  • You can choose between an installer and a portable version.
  • Install it once you have downloaded the installer. Otherwise you can just start it via the Portable version.
  • Select the target USB device.
  • Click the Select button next to the boot selection dropdown menu and specify the ISO file you want to flash.
  • Choose the right partition format for your system.
  • Click the Start button and wait for Rufus to finish.

Create Linux bootable usb with Rufus

Create bootable Linux USB via Mac

To get started, download Etcher to your Mac. Open Etcher and click on the “Flash from file” button.

Then select the Linux ISO file on your Mac and click Open. Then select the USB stick on which you want to install the Linux distro and then click on “Flash!”.

Create bootable Linux usb in Mac

A bootable Linux USB stick is now being created in macOS.

Bootable Linux usb make macOS

I hope you have helped with this. Thanks for reading!