How to create a bootable USB stick for any operating system !

TDK USB flash drive
USB flash drive

Now a days its normal to have laptop without dvd drive, specially those mini laptops and ultrabooks. To replace an operating system or install an operating systems on those devices USB installer is the best and fastest way. It is very convenient to create an bootable usb drive for any operating system. I am going to show you the possibilities to create a bootable usb key under Windows and Linux as well.

Creating Ubuntu bootable USB key on Windows

To run Ubuntu from a USB stick, the first thing you need Ubuntu ISO and USB stick with at least 2GB of free space into your PC.

The easiest way to put Ubuntu onto your stick is to use the USB installer provided at You’ll need to download and install and follow the instructions.

Select the Ubuntu edition from the list

Select Ubuntu Desktop Edition from the dropdown list.

Click ‘Browse’ and open the downloaded ISO file.

Click 'Browse' and open the downloaded ISO file.
Click ‘Browse’ and open the downloaded ISO file.

You just have to take care that you should have correct ISO of Ubuntu version which is selected in terms of edition.

Creating Other Linux bootable on Ubuntu

If you are already Linux user, and want to test or prepare for another flavor of Linux operating such as Fedora, CentOs or Mandriva. You can use “Startup Disc Creator” application under Ubuntu. It allows you to create an bootable media from the ISO so, you can have bootable USB or SD card too.

Before you proceed for creating bootable USB keys, you should have correct ISO of operating system for which you are creating bootable media.

Startup Disc Creator
Startup Disc Creator

Click on the “Make Startup Disc” and just 5 to 6 minutes you are ready with the installation media. Sometimes some ISO doesn’t work “Startup Disc Creator” program in that case you can create a media manually basically all those program copies block by block from the source to destination media so that bootsector and other files remains on the same locations. We can do the same magic using the following command which just duplicates the content of any media to other media.

To write the image to a USB drive command line:

Insert the drive (any data it contains will be erased!)
Run dmesg in a terminal: this will give you the location of the stick in square brackets, such as sdb
To write the image, run sudo dd if=OPERATING-SYSTEM.iso of=/dev/DRIVE bs=8M conv=fsync, replacing DRIVE with the location

This is manual but effective way to create a bootable media for any operating system under Linux.


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