One way to make a Linux USB drive is to use Windows. However, if you replace Windows with a Linux version and you want to try a different distribution, use Etcher. Etcher is a simple graphical tool that makes Linux USB drives bootable under Linux. This works well on older machines with a standard BIOS and newer machines that require an EFI bootloader.
Choose Linux Distribution
Choosing the perfect Linux distribution is not easy, but we have a guide that will help you choose the distribution. This guide also has a download link for the ISO image needed to create a bootable USB drive.
Download and Extract Etcher
Etcher is a graphical tool that is easy to install and use on any Linux distribution. To get started, visit the Etcher website and click the Download for Linux link.
1. Open a terminal window and navigate to the folder where Etcher was downloaded. As an example:
2. Run the ls command to make sure the file exists:
3. You will see a file with a name similar to the following:
4. To extract files, use the unzip command:
5. Run the ls command again:
6. You will now see a file with a similar file:
7. To run the program, enter the following command, replace your actual file:
8. A message appears asking you to create an icon on the desktop. Choose Yes or No, depending on your preference.
Create a Linux Bootable USB Drive
When you create a bootable Linux USB drive, use a blank drive because all data will be erased.
1. Insert the USB drive into the computer.
2. Click Choose Image, then navigate to the Linux ISO file that you downloaded earlier.
3. Etcher automatically selects a USB drive for writing. If more than one drive is installed, click the change link under the drive and choose the correct one.
4. Select Flash.
5. Enter your password to give Etcher permission to write to the USB drive.
6. The image is written to the USB drive, and the progress bar shows how far the process is. After the initial flash, it moves to the verification process. Do not remove the drive until the full process is complete, and it is said to be safe to erase the drive.
Test USB Drive
Restart your computer with the USB drive connected. Your computer must now provide menus for the new Linux system.
If your computer boots to the Linux distribution that you currently use, then you might want to select the Enter settings option provided by most distributions in the GRUB menu. This takes you to the BIOS / UEFI boot settings. Look for boot and boot options from a USB drive.