How To Create A Bootable openSUSE USB Drive

Run OpenSUSE Linux anywhere from a USB drive

This guide will show you how to create a bootable openSUSE USB drive using Windows.

Once the USB drive has been created you will be able to try all of the features of openSUSE. The USB drive can also be used to replace all versions of Windows with openSUSE and you will be able to dual boot Windows with openSUSE, however, the installation guides will be covered in a separate article.

The steps for creating an openSUSE USB drive are as follows:

  1. Download openSUSE
  2. Download the balenaEtcher software
  3. Create the openSUSE USB drive using balenaEtcher

How To Download A Live Version Of openSUSE

When it comes to OpenSUSE you have several options for how to try out the Linux distribution. OpenSUSE is broken into two main branches, Tumbleweed and Leap. Leap is the traditional release model, with new versions arriving on a regular schedule. Tumbleweed is a rolling release distribution, which means that it receives continual updates and has no static version. While Tumbleweed is fantastic for a permanent installation, it really isn't suited for a live USB. That's why this guide will focus on Leap.

  1. Open up your browser, and head over to the OpenSUSE download page.

    OpenSUSE download page
  2. If it isn't already, select the Live tab on the page.

    Live tab on openSUSE Leap website
  3. On the page, you'll see three options, Gnome, KDE, and Rescue LiveCD. The rescue option is only for recovering a broken system, leaving you with Gnome and KDE. Each desktop environment has its own benefits and drawbacks, so pick whichever you prefer. If you aren't sure, go with KDE, OpenSUSE is known for an excellent KDE Plasma experience.

    Options on openSUSE Leap website

Download and Run Etcher

There's no shortage of image writing applications that can flash your freshly downloaded OpenSUSE image to the USB drive. That said, balenaEtcher is easily among the simplest to use and run. Plus, if you're not on Windows, you can still use Etcher on Mac and Linux.

  1. Open your web browser, and head to the balenaEtcher download page.

    Etcher download page
  2. The top of the page is occupied by a diagram, showing how Etcher works. just below that, you'll see the option to download Etcher for your operating system in green.

    If you're on Windows, you have the option of installing Etcher or running it in portable form. The portable one is simpler to work with, since you can just run it from the download directory, and that's the method this guide will cover.

    Press Download for... to start your download.

    Download button for balenaEtcher
  3. After the download, open up your Downloads directory, and locate the Etcher executable file.

  4. Select Etcher to run it.

Flash OpenSUSE to Your USB With Etcher

Now, you have everything in place, you're just a few short steps away from a bootable OpenSUSE USB drive.

  1. The Etcher window will open up. It's divided into three sections, designed to walk you through the process of writing to the drive.

    Etcher on Windows 10
  2. If your USB drive is already inserted, you should see it in the middle column. If not, insert it now. It may or may not appear in the column after you do. Either way is fine.

    Drive location in Etcher
  3. Next, press Select image in the first column.

    Select Image button in Etcher
  4. A new file browser window will open up. Browse to and select your OpenSUSE disk image. Then, press Open to load it into Etcher.

    Open button
  5. Now, if your USB isn't already loaded, use the center column to browse to and select it.

  6. When everything looks right, press Flash! in the final column.

    Before you flash the USB, be advised that everything on the drive will be erased.

    Flash button in Etcher
  7. Etcher will get to work writing the image to your USB. This can take some time, so sit back and relax.

    Etcher flashing image
  8. When Etcher is finished, it will display a message letting you know that you can close the application and use your USB.

    Etcher flashing complete
  9. Now, you can reboot your computer into the USB. If you are using a computer with a standard BIOS you should be able to reboot your computer and boot straight into openSUSE. (As long as the boot order has a USB drive before the hard drive).

If you are using a computer with UEFI you will be able to boot into openSUSE by holding down the shift key and rebooting your computer. A UEFI boot menu will appear with an option to Use a device. When the sub-menu appears, choose the EFI USB Device.

openSUSE will now begin to boot. It takes a fair amount of time to do so and patience is required.