my ideas in action

live USB linux with dd command

I use linux most of the time and from time to time I want to test a new distro. The easy way to try a new distro is to use the USB stick. The CD is outdated and the DVD is expensive.

There are many ways to make a live bootable USB but I want to show the easiest one. All you need is the ISO file and any linux machine. Any Unix OS should be fine but I did not tested.

So no special software is required.

First you have to download the ISO for the distro you want to try. For example Mint, Debian , Ubuntu, etc…etc…

Then open a terminal and use dd command to transfer the ISO image to the USB stick.

For this you need the root privileges. You can become root with su or you can use sudo in front of the command.

So in terminal type (first read this post till end !):

sudo dd if=/path/to/linuxdistro.iso of=/dev/sdb bs=4M ; sync

That’s it ! Now the ISO image is copied on the USB stick and you can boot from it.

Details about the command:

sudo = to get super user privileges, if not then you have to become root first with su command

dd = command to copy to disk

if=/path/file  = select the input file, in this case the ISO file.

of = the destination of the copy

/dev/sdb = your USB device. First check what is the name of your USB stick. You can plug the stick and check it with df command. Do not use any number after sdx since the dd must transfer the ISO file to the disk and not to the partition !

bs=4M = it means to copy up to 4MB at a time – it is optional but it optimize the transfer

sync = optional for the linux OS to flash the buffers

For more info about dd or sync commands please use man from terminal:

man dd

and / or:

man sync


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