How To Create A UEFI Bootable Linux Mint USB Drive

Linux Mint
Linux Mint and Shutterstock

The most popular Linux distribution according to Distrowatch for the past few years has been Linux Mint.

A good reason for Mint's popularity is it's ease of installation the very small learning curve, the complete ease of use and also because it is based on the long-term support release of Ubuntu which provides stability and support.

You can use the Linux Mint USB drive as a way of testing Linux Mint out to see if it is suitable for your needs and you can also use it to install Linux Mint to your hard drive.

After you have finished this article you will be able to follow this guide which shows the process for dual booting Linux Mint and Windows 8 and 10

What You Will Need

The tools required to create a UEFI bootable Linux Mint USB drive are as follows:

  • Linux Mint ISO (this will be downloaded as part of the tutorial)
  • Win32 Disk Imager (this will be downloaded as part of the tutorial)
  • A blank USB drive
  • A laptop with Windows 8.1 or Windows 10 pre-installed

Download Linux Mint

There are 4 versions of Linux Mint available:

  • Cinnamon: 
  • MATE
  • XFCE
  • KDE

The Cinnamon desktop is the main version and provides a great user experience with a modern looking environment. MATE is better for older computers as is XFCE. The KDE version provides an alternative to Cinnamon but we prefer Cinnamon.

For each version, there is a choice between 32-bit and 64-bit. To find out whether your computer is 32-bit or 64-bit press the Start button and search for system information.

Once you know what version of Linux Mint you'll need, visit the Linux Mint download page and follow these steps to download the correct distro.

  1. Click the icon that appears for system information and scroll until you see System Type. If your computer is 64-bit it will show x64 or in a few cases ia64.
  2. Click the Download link for the version of Linux Mint you wish to create a USB drive for.
  3. A screen appears with the release information, the size of the download, release notes and a list of Linux Mint download mirrors. Pick the link from the country closest to your geographical location.
  4. The file will be downloaded into the downloads folder.

Download Win32 Disk Imager

  1. Next, download Win32 Disk Imager.
  2. Double click on the downloaded file to start the installer.
  3. A welcome message will appear, click Next to continue.
  4. Accept the license agreement and click Next.
  5. Choose where you want to install Win32 Disk Imager (it is fine to stick with the default option) then click Next.
  6. When greeted with the window asking where to create the start menu folder click Next.
  7. Choose whether to create a desktop icon by checking or unchecking the box and then click Next.
  8. Finally, click Install.
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Create The Linux Mint USB Drive

Win32 Disk Imager
Win32 Disk Imager.

Format A USB Drive

You will need a blank USB drive.

  1. Insert the USB drive you wish to use in the drive.
  2. To format the USB drive open Windows Explorer and right-click on the drive letter that symbolizes the drive.
  3. Click the Format option on the menu.
  4. When the Format Volume screen appears make sure the quick format option is checked and the file system is set to Fat32.
  5. Click Start.

Write Linux Mint Image To The USB Drive

  1. Start Win32 Disk Imager by clicking on the desktop icon.
  2. Make sure the drive letter is set to the USB drive you wish to write the image to.
  3. Click the little folder icon and navigate to the Linux Mint ISO downloaded previously. You will need to change the file type to show all the files. Click on the ISO so that the path appears in the box on the main screen.
  4. Click Write.
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Turn Off Fast Boot To Make It Possible To Boot From USB

Turn Off Fastboot
Turn Off Fastboot.

In order to boot a UEFI bootable Ubuntu USB drive, you need to turn off a fast startup.

  1. Move the mouse to the bottom left corner and right click so that the menu appears again.
  2. Choose Power Options.
  3. When the power options screen appears, click the second menu item on the left-hand side called Choose what the power button does.
  4. At the bottom of the window is Shutdown Settings. Make sure the Turn on Fast Startup checkbox is unchecked and click Save Changes.

Note that if the box is grayed out you can enable it by clicking the link at the top which reads Change settings that are currently unavailable.

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How To Boot From A UEFI Bootable Linux Mint USB Drive

UEFI Boot Menu
UEFI Boot Menu.
  1. To boot into Linux Mint restart your computer whilst holding down the shift key.
  2. When the UEFI boot menu appears to choose the Use a Device option and select the USB EFI Drive. If Linux Mint hasn't booted at this point then you should go to the Linux Mint page to verify the integrity and authenticity of the ISO file you downloaded. 

If you don't see the blue UEFI screen to choose to boot from EFI then there are other things you can do. For instance, you can reboot your computer and press the function key that pulls up the boot menu.

Here is the list of function keys used by a manufacturer:

  • Acer - F2 or delete
  • Asus - F2, F9 or delete
  • Compaq - F10
  • Dell - F2
  • Emachines - tab or delete
  • HP - Escape, F1 or F10
  • Lenovo - F1 or F2
  • NEC - F2
  • Packard Bell - F1 or F2
  • Samsung - F2 or F10
  • Sharp - F2
  • Sony - F1, F2 or F3
  • Toshiba - Escape, F1, F2 or F12

You should now have a live version of Linux Mint 18 running.

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