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The 5 Best Tools to Create a Bootable USB From an ISO in Linux

The 5 Best Tools to Create a Bootable USB From an ISO in Linux

Creating a bootable USB drive is a cornerstone skill for anyone interested in exploring different operating systems or working in system administration. A bootable USB drive allows a user to boot into a different operating system, independent of the primary OS installed on the machine. This is particularly useful for system recovery, testing new OS builds, or installing a new system altogether. Linux, known for its robustness and versatility, offers a plethora of tools for creating bootable USB drives from ISO files, which are exact copies of disk data. This guide aims to delve into the top five tools available on Linux for crafting bootable USB drives from ISO files.

Understanding ISO Files

ISO files are disk image files that encapsulate the file system and the data content of a disk. They serve as exact digital replicas of optical disk data, whether it be a CD, DVD, or Blu-ray disk. The importance of ISO files in creating bootable USB drives cannot be overstated. They act as the source blueprint from which the bootable drive is created, ensuring that the resulting USB drive is an exact copy of the original disk data, necessary for correct operating system functionality and booting.

Top 5 Tools for Creating a Bootable USB in Linux


UNetbootin (Universal Netboot Installer) is a free and open-source tool that has been around for many years. It is widely recognized for its ease of use and support for a variety of operating systems.

Upon launching UNetbootin, you’re presented with the option to either download a distribution or use a pre-downloaded ISO file. Select the ISO file, choose the USB drive you want to write to, and click on the ‘OK’ button to start the creation process.


Rufus is known for its speed and reliability. Though originally designed for Windows, it also operates on Linux. It’s a small utility that packs a punch, offering a range of system file types to cater to different OS requirements.

Open Rufus, select the ISO file under the ‘Boot selection’ section, choose the USB drive under ‘Device’, set the desired system parameters under ‘Partition scheme’ and ‘File system’, and hit ‘Start’.

Etcher (BalenaEtcher)

Etcher provides a clean and straightforward interface, eliminating the hassle often associated with creating bootable USB drives. Its three-step process is simple and intuitive.

Launch Etcher, click ‘Flash from file’ to select your ISO file, choose your USB drive under ‘Select target’, and click ‘Flash!’ to begin the process.

dd (Disk Dump)

dd is a powerful disk copying tool that operates on a command-line interface. It’s native to Unix-like systems and is revered for its flexibility and advanced features.

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Author: George Whittaker

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