Best Linux software to make a USB drive bootable

To install a new operating or to repair an existing one we often need to make a USB drive bootable. For this purpose, different tools are required on different operating systems.

Probably you may be familiar with such tools on Windows or macOS, the Linux platform also has many tools.

In this article, I will discuss some of the best command line and GUI tools to make a USB drive bootable.

DD tool

dd command

In a Unix-like operating system, dd is a command-line utility that is used to convert and copy files. It is a powerful tool that can be used for various purposes like backing up and restoring a disk, converting data formats, converting the case of a file, etc. The best thing is that it comes preinstalled with many Linux distributions.

We can use this command to create a bootable disk from an existing image as it clones data from one disk or partition (or a disk image) to others at the byte or block level. When I said clone, I mean dd command copies the whole partitioning information, filesystem data, and every bit of information as well, which is not possible to copy using file system copy.

balenaEtcher

etcher

balenaEtcher (OR simply Etcher) is a free and open-source utility for creating a live USB drive. It writes images such as .iso or .img files to a USB drive or SD card. It offers a clean and simple user interface where you can select your operating system’s iso file and USB drive to make it bootable.

It is built using the Electron framework and can be installed on Windows, Linux, or macOS.

Download balenaEtcher

UNetbootin

unetbootin

UNetbootin is a free and open-source, cross-platform application for making a USB drive bootable. This tool is written in C++ and Qt you can create a bootable USB of almost any Linux distribution, Windows operating system, macOS, etc.

Initially, this tool was written by Geza Kovacs and released in April 2007.

Download UNetbootin

USBImager

USBImager

USBImager is a free and open-source tool with minimal GUI which writes compressed disk images to USB drives. It is available for installation on different distributions of Linux, ARM devices such as Raspberry Pi, Windows, and macOS.

Some features of USBImager are –

  • Free and opensource
  • lightweight and small in size
  • Portable, no installation needed
  • Makes synchronized writes
  • Available in multiple languages

Download USBImager

GNOME MultiWriter

gnome multiwriter

GNOME Multiwriter is a free and open-source tool that can write an ISO file to multiple USB devices at once. Using this application you can create bootable USB drives of size between 1 to 32 GB.

This application can be useful in quality assurance testing, you can connect multiple USB drives to your system by using a USB hub.

Download MultiWriter

Startup Disk Creator

start up disk creator

Startup Disk Creator is a free tool for creating live USB drives. It is the official tool for creating a bootable USB of Ubuntu from its iso image in a Linux system. You simply need to launch the application select the iso file and USB drive and click on Make Startup Disk to start creating it bootable.

Use the following command to install it on your Ubuntu system –

sudo apt install usb-creator-gtk -y

Ventoy

ventoy

Ventoy is a free and opensource tool to create a bootable USB drive using .iso, .wim, .img, .efi, .vhd(x) files. You don’t need to reformat a USB drive for new installation files you simply need to copy it. While installation it displays the different options you can choose one of them to proceed with.

The key features of Ventoy are –

  • Free and opensource
  • Simple, fast, and easy to use
  • Supports MBR and GPT partition style
  • ISO file above 4GB supported
  • Native boot menu style for legacy and UEFI
  • Linux vDisk boot supported
  • Highly customizable theme and menu

Download Ventoy

Ok, that’s all for now, you can use one of the given tools to make a USB drive bootable on a Linux system. For any queries please write us in the comments below.

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