How to Create Bootable Ubuntu Linux USB Drive

Installing Ubuntu Linux on USB drive has many benefits. It can solve many administrative issues and protect the data or help recover it. How you wish to use this functionality is up-to you. In this article, we are going to discuss multiple ways to create a bootable Ubuntu USB drive.

Bootable Linux USB drive can solve a lot of your installation issues. You can use it to recover corrupted hard disk. It can also be used to perform dual boot installation. You can use it to run Live instance of operating system on shared computers. It can be used to test Ubuntu installation without having to risk the current installation on hard disk. However making such bootable USB is not so easy. You can't just copy and paste the files on the drive. You have to use the installer apps or scripts to make use of an ISO image to create a drive bootable. Let's take a look at some of the ways to create bootable Ubuntu Linux pen-drive.

There are multiple ways to install Ubuntu on USB drive. You can use Windows operating system to format the drive and install Ubuntu Linux. In another method you can use any other Linux distro to install Ubuntu on pen-drive. And optionally, you can use the software called Netbootin to install Ubuntu on pen drive.

Before you install Ubuntu on Pendrive, make sure you meet following requirements.

1. Pen Drive 4GB onward
2. Universal USB Installer Setup (for Windows)
3. UNetbootIn (for Linux based OS)
4. Ubuntu Linux ISO Image
5. Internet connection

Universal USB Installer on Windows

In order to create live USB Ubuntu version, you need Universal USB installer. Alternatively you can also do the same installation using UNetbootIn. We'll cover the installation using Unetbootin later in the article.

Follow the instructions below to install using Universal installer.

1. Download the installer from Softpedia
2. After you install the software you can run it with admin privileges.
3. Select "Ubuntu" from the dropdown menu option.
4. Select Click on the browse button and point it to the Ubuntu ISO image.
5. Select the USB drive where you want to install Linux.
6. Click on "Create" button to start the installation.

That's all. After you go through the above process, the installation will be successfully performed. Do note that this installer only works on Windows operating system.

Startup Disk Creator on Ubuntu

Another way to create bootable installation of Ubuntu is by using startup disk creator in Ubuntu. Follow the steps below to install Ubuntu on USB drive.

Check the image below for visual guidance.

1. Open dash on Unity
2. Search for Startup disk creator.
3. Click on icon and start the app.
4. Choose other to point out the Ubuntu ISO file.
5. Click select button once you find the ISO image.
6. Choose USB stick where you wish to perform installation.
7. Erase disk if you have not done yet.
8. Click on make startup disk.

This process will take some time and after installation, it'll generate necessary message on screen.

Install using UNetbootin (Any Linux distribution)

This app makes it easy for you to format and install Linux on any USB drive. If you are using Ubuntu then you can search for Unetbootin in adept or software center. From there onwards the installation is one click. You don't have to spend time on terminal to install the software.

You should see screen similar to the below image:

Here's what you need in order to install Ubuntu on pen drive.

1. Ubuntu ISO image.
2. Internet connection if you don't have ISO image

When you open Unetbootin you get the window that looks similar to this.

Follow the steps below to install Linux on your USB drive.

1. You can choose the option to download the distribution from the internet on your computer or use ISO image directly.
2. If you choose to install from online install, then make sure you have internet connection enabled.
3. After that select the type of drive where you want to install and the drive name.
4. From here onward you don't have to click on any drive options.
5. Unetbootin does the installation and other steps from here onward.

The steps for the ISO image installation are same, only you have to select install from DiskImage option. Do note that Unetbootin works from the Windows operating system as well.


Depending on the method you choose to install, the process of verifying the drive varies. However, you can use VirtualBox to verify the installation on USB drive pretty quickly without having to restart your computer. There are many other ways to install Ubuntu Linux on your USB drive. You can use any one of the method explained in the article to install Ubuntu Linux on USB drive.


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