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Blog About JV Roig

Easiest way to create a USB Linux Installer

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by JV Roig
on October 13, 2017

There are various ways to use a USB flashdrive as a Linux installer media. Fedora, for example, has Live USB Creator, and Ubuntu has Startup Disk Creator.

But if you’re already on a Gnome-based distro, you already have a built-in way to use your flashdrive as an installer (be it a plain “installation-only” installer, or a “Live USB” installer you can use temporarily as a live system without actually installing anything to the harddisk). It’s also super simple and easy – using the Disks tool (a.k.a the “gnome-disk-utility” package). In most CentOS / Fedora / Ubuntu installations, it’s already installed by default, so just hit the super key (the Windows logo key) and type “Disks” then press enter.

In the main screen, you’ll notice that there’s a hamburger menu. Click that and you’ll see the Restore Disk Image option:

Before you actually use that option, however, you should make sure you have chosen the correct disk to put the image in. In the screenshot above, I’m still on my main disk (240GB Disk, Intel SSD). Restoring a disk image there probably isn’t what I want, as that could potentially overwrite my main drive’s contents.

Instead, you should first plug in a USB flashdrive or a USB card reader loaded with the appropriate SD or microSD card. Once it appears on the left-side menu of the Disks app, make sure to click it (should highlight blue), and you get something that looks like this:

As in the screenshot above, you’ll see that “32GB Drive” is highlighted in blue in the left-side menu. Consequently, it’s details are shown in the main body of the Disks App, instead of the details of my Intel SSD. (It shows “Generic STORAGE DEVICE” instead of a brand like Kingston or SanDisk because I actually used a card-reader loaded with a 32GB class 10 microSD card).

Now we can restore the disk image. As before, just click the hamburger menu, then the “Restore Disk Image...” option. You’ll get a small dialog window that will let you choose the image you want to restore – simply click the box that initially says “(None)” to be able to navigate and find your ISO image. In the example below, I’ve chosen a Fedora 26 Live Workstation image.

It’ll inform you whether you have too little space (in which case you can’t proceed) or if you have too much space (in which case, as in the screenshot above, you can proceed; it just FYI’s you that you’ll end up having some space unusable).

Assuming your disk image isn’t bigger than your plugged-in USB media, click “Start Restoring...”, and you’ll have a bootable installer created once the process is done.

Tags: Linux, USB Installers, Disks