Most Linux distros are distributed via ISO files. In addition to burning an ISO file to CD, you can also use it to make a live USB, whether on an USB flash drive or an USB hard drive. There are several tools you can use to make a bootable USB flash drive/hard drive. One of which, you can use Unetbootin.
Unetbootin is a cross-platform tool which you can install on Linux, Windows or macOS. It’s originally created by Geza Kovacs. Unetbootin is an open source software which is licensed under the GNU General Public License. It has a built-in support for automatically downloading and loading some Linux distributions like Ubuntu, Linuxmint, Arch Linux, Debian, Fedora and so on. This features allows you to create a live USB even if you have no ISO file on your computer.
However, I suggest you to use your own ISO file instead of using that features since the downloaded Linux version is not the newest one.
You can use Unetbootin to create a live USB of nearly all Linux distros. The tool doesn’t use distribution-specific rules to make your live USB drive. In order to be successfully create a live USB, be sure your USB drive is available in a FAT32 format. I will show you an example of how to use Unetbootin to create a live USB of current version of Ubuntu (17.10).
Whatever the operating system you use, the methods is same. If you haven’t installed Unetbootin, you can download the binary file on its official site. Or if you use Ubuntu like me, you can install Unetbootin using Synaptic Package Manager or
aptsince Unetbootin has been available on the repository list of Ubuntu.
sudo apt install unetbootin
Here is how to use Unetbootin.
- Plug your USB flash drive on your computer.
- Launch Unetbootin and select the Diskimage.
- Click the … button to select an ISO file you want to make the live USB of.
- Unetbootin will be automatically detecting your USB flash drive. Just click the OK button to continue and Unetbootin will extract the ISO file you have selected and copy the extracted files on your USB flash drive.
- Wait until the extraction process is done, it can take seconds or even minutes depending on your computer specs.
In some case, Unetbootin may will stop for seconds (or minutes) in the middle of the process. Don’t worry about this, Unetbootin will keep finish its job. Once the process is done, you can choose whether to immediately restart your computer to start the live USB or exit to continue using your computer.