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There are many reasons why you might want to install Linux from a USB stick/drive. For example, you may not have a CD/DVD burner available or you simply do not want to waste a blank CD/DVD medium.  If this is the case the UNetbootin utility can become quite helpful to you.


1. Step 1: Install UNetbootin

On Ubuntu Linux or Linux mint distribution install UNetbootin by using a following command:

$ sudo apt-get install unetbootin

Once UNetbootin is installed you can start this application with:

$ unetbootin

The following UNetbootin window appears on your screen:

Install linux from USB - UNetbootin


2. Step 2: Download bootable ISO

If the Linux distribution you wish to install from USB is not available from UNetbootin's drop down menu you will need to download it manually by downloading its installation ISO image and saving it to some arbitrary location for later use.

3. Step 3: Prepare your USB stick

There are a few requirements given by UNetbootin before you are able to create bootable Linux install USB. These are:

  • your USB drive has at least one partition formated with vfat file system
  • the above partition is mounted

You can verify this with

# fdisk -l


# mount
  • the last and the most obvious requirement is that your mounted partition has enough free disk space. Free disk space should be at least equal to the size of your ISO image you have downloaded earlier. To check for free disk space on your USB stick execute a command:
$ df -h /path/to/my/usb/stick

4. Step 4: Create bootable USB

Once you have ISO image and UNetbootin ready, insert your USB stick into your PC's USB port and start UNetbootin. UNetbootin's interface is quite self explanatory. It gives you two choices, either let UNetbootin download ISO for you or select ISO manually. Next, select your USB stick followed by appropriate partition and you are ready to go.


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