How To Create A Linux Bootable USB Drive Using Linux

Create USB Drive With Etcher
Create USB Drive With Etcher.

Most guides show how to create a Linux USB drive using Windows.

What happens though if you have already replaced Windows with a version Linux and you want to try out a different distribution?

This guide introduces a new tool for Linux which works well with older machines running a standard BIOS and newer machines requiring an EFI bootloader.

By following this article you will be shown how to create a Linux bootable USB drive from within Linux itself.

You will find out how to choose and download a Linux distribution. You will also be shown how to download, extract and run Etcher, which is a simple graphical tool used for creating Linux bootable USB drives within Linux.

Choose A Linux Distribution

Choosing the perfect Linux distribution is not all that easy but this guide will help you choose a distribution and it will provide the download links for the ISO images required to create a bootable USB drive.-

Click here for the guide to choosing the best Linux distribution for your needs.

Download And Extract Etcher

Etcher is a graphical tool which is easy to install and use on any Linux distribution.

Visit the Etcher website and click the "Download for Linux" link.

Open a terminal window and navigate to the folder where Etcher has been downloaded to. For example:

cd ~/Downloads

Run the ls command to make sure the file exists:

ls

You should see a file with a name similar to the following:

Etcher-1.0.0-beta.17-linux-x64.zip

To extract the files use the unzip command.

unzip Etcher-1.0.0-beta.17-linux-x64.zip

Run the ls command again.

ls

You will now see a file with the following filename:

Etcher-linux-x64.AppImage

To run the program enter the following command:

./Etcher-linux-x64.AppImage

A message will appear asking whether you want to create an icon on the desktop.

It is up to you whether you say yes or not.

How To Create The Linux Bootable USB Drive

Insert a USB drive into the computer. It is best to use a blank drive as all the data will be deleted.

Click on the "Select Image" button and navigate to the Linux ISO file you downloaded previously.

Etcher will automatically choose a USB drive to write to. If you have more than one drive installed click on the change link underneath the drive and choose the correct one instead.

Finally, click "Flash".

You will need to enter your password to give Etcher the permission to write to the USB drive.

The image will now be written to the USB drive and a progress bar will tell you how far through the process it is. After the initial flash part, it moves on to a verification process. Do not remove the drive until the full process is complete and it says it is safe to remove the drive.

Test The USB Drive

Reboot your computer with the USB drive plugged in.

Your computer should now provide a menu for the new Linux system. 

If your computer boots straight to the Linux distribution you are currently running then you may wish to choose the "Enter setup" option that most distributions provide in the GRUB menu.

This will take you to the BIOS/UEFI boot settings.

Look for the boot options and boot from the USB drive.

Summary

This process can be repeated again and again for trying out other Linux distributions. There are hundreds to choose from.

If you are running Windows and you need to create a Linux bootable USB drive then you can follow one of these guides: