Install Any Linux From a Usb the Easy Way




Are you tired of wasting all your disks on Linux distros?
Maybe your cd drive is broken?
Maybe you are simply too cool for ancient tech like CD's?

In this Instructable I am going to show you how to install linux from a USB, the easiest way I know how.

Edit: I wrote this awhile ago (xp era!). It included a poorly made video and terrible grammar. Its had a lot of views and hopefully helped some people so I have updated the whole Instructable with better instructions.

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Step 1: What You Need

Not much! You can most likely get these things without leaving the room.

1.A copy of linux.This can be any distro you want. Choosing an OS mostly personal opinion, if you are looking for a simple user friendly OS I would suggest Linux mint

(I am using a copy of kodibuntu in the shown install)

2.You will need this program unetbootin

3. A USB.

Step 2: UNetbootin

The program we downloaded allows you to create bootable Live USB drives.

Its extremely simple to use.

(Numbered steps match arrows on images)

1.Insert your USB and check the corresponding drive letter.

2. Open the program.

3.Click the Diskimage radiobutton.

4.Select your diskimage.

5.Select the correct drive letter for your usb

6. Click ok and watch the magic happen

Step 3: You Now Have Linux on Your Usb!

That was easy! You are ready to install it on your computer.

Go into the bios and set it to read from usb during boot.This is different for every computer so do some research.Once you have enabled this restart with the usb plugged in.You will see a screen similar to the image.Choose default and let it do its thing.

Step 4: Now Install It

Now its all loaded up and on the home screen(hopefully).
You will see a icon that looks like a disk and says install.
Click on it and it will.. wait for it.. install!
During the install it will ask you questions to set your preferences. All very straightforward.
You will have to reboot and that's that. Done :)

Step 5: Finished

Well that it, you should have Linux working.If something went wrong or you don't understand then just ask a question!
If I have left anything out or you think there is a way to make this better then feel free to tell me, I don't bite (and even if I did your safe on your side of the internet)

Thanks for reading. Hope you enjoyed the revised edition of this Instructable,

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    20 Discussions


    1 year ago

    Spot on instructions , had no problem at all , just remember to remove that usb drive before it re-boots.

    Xrenon der Magier

    1 year ago

    Can I use the USB drive like a normal one afterwords? Or is it broken like the DVDs?


    2 years ago

    I need help! I have unetbootin open, drives selected, diskimage botton togglled, but when i go to select my iso on the flash drive it doesnt do anything! Help!


    2 years ago

    All of the apps are black, I cannot even install it to the hard drive because I can't see what i am doing, any suggestions?


    5 years ago on Step 5

    I created the boot usb in my macbook ( using unetbootin) and wanted to install Linux ( tried both Linux mint and Ubuntu) on another PC. I changed HDD boot priority with USB stick first.
    I saw some message on black screen, and soon the screen changed to a black screen with a blinking cursor on line 1. Cannot proceed from here.

    6 replies

    Reply 3 years ago

    Cool buy a Windows Next time good luck


    Reply 3 years ago

    +JanusR1, you misspelled "Windows"! It should be Win-doz! I switched to Linux 4 years ago and haven't looked back! Oh, and I no longer get freeze ups or black screen of death! And most important, no viruses so I don't have to run virus software!!


    Reply 3 years ago

    Try changing the boot order back to prioritise your harddrive (in BIOS). solved the issue on my laptop.


    Reply 3 years ago

    Don't suppose you ever solved the problem did you? I'm having that exact problem and I can't find a thing other than this


    3 years ago

    Your video card may not be able to handle linux 4 try old versions of linux...mine only accepts linux 3 and lower so i force it to boot through plop


    3 years ago

    Thanks great article


    5 years ago on Step 5

    do you think i can install this on a old gateway laptop that cant connect to the internet?

    2 replies

    Reply 5 years ago on Step 5

    First,the specs depends of the linux,a bobyx runs on a pentium 3,a linux mint need at least a 1.2 core if i remeber well.

    And about the internet,you can install,but you wont be able to update anything or install a program ( the last one can be solved by carrying the new programs on a usb...)


    7 years ago on Introduction

    I love Unetbootin if the PC I am installing to has a USB port, and can boot off of it. Unfortunately that is not always the case. I can recall some Linux distribution not working with Unetbootin at all too. Although I cannot remember right now which it was. It may have been Arch. Whatever it was I remember I couldn't even get it to work with the manual image installation in Unetbootin. But manually setting up the flash drive I managed to get the distro to USB boot.


    7 years ago on Introduction

    Another relatively "beginner friendly" distro to try is Puppy Linux. Of the 4 or 5 others I tried to install, Puppy was fast, friendly, and functional. UNetBootin rocks! Thanks!


    8 years ago on Step 3

    Many Linux distros can be run directly from the usb stick, so it is easy to try one out for a few days before committing. This also allows for testing out several distros to find one that suits you.