Making a bootable USB drive for your favorite operating system is very easy. The command line ‘dd’ tool can do that for you, writing an image ISO file to a USB drive with minimal effort.
But there is an easy command line way too. There is no need for the above applications. We can make bootable ISO, for any operating system, by using the
dd tool in Linux. Most Linux distributions have preinstalled dd tool.
dd (Data Duplicator) utility is a powerful tool that makes copies using block by block from one device to another. So we can also use the dd tool for data backup and restoration from one device to another.
Create Bootable USB Drive Using dd Command
This assumes you already have an ISO file that you want to move to an external “thumb drive” type of USB storage volume.
First, connect the USB drive and unmount it, assuming you know its designation, with something like the following:
This assumes that your USB drive is showing as
If you have multiple hard drives already connected to your machine, the drive you’d like to target might be like
/dev/sde. You get the picture.
We can have a look at the partitions and file systems on the system with this command:
After confirming which is your target drive and unmounting it, we need to format the unmounted drive. Let’s do this formatting with:
sudo mkfs.vfat /dev/sdb
We’re all ready to copy the ISO file to the USB drive using the dd command.
I’d recommend navigating to the directory where you downloaded the ISO. For this example, let’s say you put the ISO in your user’s
Since we’re already in the right directory, we can use:
sudo dd if=name-of-iso.iso of=/dev/sdb status=progress
name-of-iso.iso is, of course, replaced by the actual name of your ISO file.
ifstands for “input file.” It is used to specify the location of the ISO file.
ofstands for “output file.” It specifies where to write the ISO file. In our case, it’s
This may take several minutes to execute. You should see something like these results returned:
That’s all. You can use the same procedure to make any OS a bootable USB drive.
As you can see, creating a bootable Linux USB drive is a relatively straightforward task.
You can load your USB drive with your preferred Linux distribution and use it to install the operating system on your PC or laptop in minutes.