Distros compatibility: Universal
What this guide accomplishes: Making a USB drive bootable to install Linux.
- This guide favors NEW USB drives due to how cheap small capacity drives are. If you want to reuse an old drive, then those will also work.
- I have removed all information from this guide that targets DVD burning. Many new laptops (and some desktops) no longer include optical drives.
- In a lot of cases, the optical drives that come with used equipment is likely already broken in some way. It isn't uncommon for the previous owner to neglect a failed optical drive. In regards to laptops this is even more common then it is on desktops.
- In the case of a USB drive, they can be reformatted and reused multiple times before the flash memory wears out. DVD media is typically single use.
Note: This problem typically only comes up for users with very old hardware (or systems with buggy USB boot implementations). It does NOT affect the majority of readers.
If your system that has trouble booting from USB media directly, a CD boot ma manager can be used as a workaround. These guides cover how to use the boot manager option:
Get a 8-16GB flash drive. While an 8GB drive is more then you need, 16GB drives are becoming cheaper (and more common). Note: While an 8-16GB drive is recommended, a 4GB drive drive can be used if you only want to copy the OS to the drive.
To write the ISO to the drive, download Rufus. Put this program somewhere where you can easily find it for later.
Once Rufus is downloaded, download the Linux distro you prefer. You can do this using the FTP link (slowest) or a torrent (fastest).
After you have the ISO downloaded, find out where it is located. The default download location depends on what OS you are currently running, and if you kept the default download location settings in your browser.
Plug your USB drive in now, so it is detected for later.
Find Rufus and open it. Once Rufus is open, find the ISO of the Linux distro you downloaded. Click on the image that looks like a CD to locate the ISO.
Once you find the ISO, click it and then click Open. After you click this, the ISO will be selected and is now available to write to your USB drive. Note: If ISO image is not automatically selected, click on the drop-down menu to select it manually.
WARNING! If you have any files you want to keep, back them up BEFORE writing the image to the USB drive. Once you locate the ISO to write to the drive, select Start. The program will warn you this will erase the drive. Confirm this by clicking OK and the process will begin.
Embed this guide
Choose a size and copy the code below to embed this guide as a small widget on your site / forum.