With the fact that most new laptop designs don’t have an optical drive (due to their very thin design), creating a bootable USB flash drive is the best way to install a Linux distro. To create one, you need a tool called live USB creator. Popular Linux distros like Ubuntu already have a default live USB creator. But, what if you use a distro that doesn’t have one yet. Or, you are probably a Windows user?
There several live USB creators you can install by yourself.
In order to be able creating a live USB you need to have the ISO file of the Linux distro you want to install. A live USB creator works by extracting an ISO file and copies the extracted files to your USB flash drive. Some live USB creators, like UNetbootin, also features a built-in support for automatically downloading the necessary files from the internet so you don’t need to manually download the ISO file of the distro you want to create the live USB of.
Below are the tools you can use to create a live USB.
We have just created a post covering how to create a live USB using UNetbootin. It only takes few steps to create a bootable USB using this tool. UNetbootin itself is cross-platform, open source live USB creator that you can use to create a live USB of nearly all Linux distros. All you need is just the ISO file of the distro you want to create the live USB of. As I said above, this tool also has a built-in support to automatically download the necessary files of the distro you want to create the live USB of, from the internet. UNetbootin is originally Geza Kovacs. In addition to Linux, you can also install this tool on Windows and macOS.
2. Startup Disk Creator
Startup Disk Creator is the official live USB creator of Ubuntu. This tool is designed specifically to create a live USB of Ubuntu. The tool is included as a default app of Ubuntu since the release of Ubuntu 8.04. Startup Disk Creator was written in Python by Evan Dandrea.
3. Fedora Media Writer
Formerly known as “Fedora Live USB Creator”, Fedora Media Writer is designed specifically to create a live USB of Fedora. You can also install this tool on Windows and macOS, but you need to build it manually from the source code since there is no binary file is offered. Fedora Media Writer is capable of automatically downloading the required image for them and write them in a dd-like fashion, using either dd itself or some other way to access the drive directly. Or, you can also pick the ISO file from your computer.
4. LinuxLive USB Creator
If you are currently still using Windows and plan to migrate to Linux, you can start by creating a live USB to try the distro you want to switch to without needing to install it. LinuxLive USB Creator is a live USB creator designed specifically for Windows, no other operating system is supported. This tool is created by Thibaut Lauzière and released as an open source software under the GNU General Public License. You can use this tool to create a live USB of nearly all Linux distros without exception.
5. SUSE Studio ImageWriter
Like the name suggests, SUSE Studio ImageWriter is a live USB creator designed specifically to create a live USB of SUSE and OpenSUSE. It’s the official live USB creator for SUSE just like Startup Disk Creator for Ubuntu. In addition to SUSE, you can also install SUSE Studio ImageWriter on Windows although the installation steps may a bit complex. This tool is developed by Matt Barringer.
Rufus is a live USB creator developed specifically for Windows. It’s an open source software licensed under the GNU General Public License. Pete Batard is the man behind this tool. You can also use this tool to create a bootable USB from an ISO file. According to a brief description on its official site, Rufus is twice faster than similar tools, including UNetbotin.