Creating Bootable USB Flash Drive

NB! I will not teach you how to install software for your OS nor am I responsible when you brick your system following the guide below. This guide is not about creating a bootable image from your existing install, it is about writing an existing ISO image to the USB stick.

I wrote this page because people are scattering internet forums with help requests on this subject. It seems there is a great deal of confusion what tools to use. The success rate using the method described below is 100%. OK, here we go.

The ISO image is downloaded. Now we need to prepare it - note, this step is only needed if the ISO is not hybrid. You need syslinux for it.

$ isohybrid -u /path/to/iso

The -u switch is for UEFI boot compatible USB image, not needed in case you intend to create a bootable drive for booting in legacy BIOS mode (aka CSM mode).

Now lets write it to your USB stick. Below example assumes the USB stick is /dev/sdb. There is no preparation required, everything you had on your USB stick will be gone.

Big fat warning! The dd write is destructive! If you get it wrong it can destroy data on your hard drive!

# dd if=/path/to/iso of=/dev/sdb bs=1M

The bs=1M is optional, it will speed up writing, otherwise the dd utility defaults to bs=512.

DONE! Enjoy your bootable USB drive!


You need to be root to write to the raw devices. Depending on your setup you will need to execute one of following commands to elevate your rights:

$ su -

The command above is for setups with root account enabled, the command below is for cases when the root account is not activated.

$ sudo -i

Syslinux package is available for GNU/Linux, macOS and Windows, dd utility is part of GNU/Linux and macOS. DOS/Windows users can use RawWrite ... I guess ... I used it before the last Windows crashed out from my household, about 2003 it was.

Back to main page

* © 2016 *