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Having live media that can boot both ways can be a problem when installing Ubuntu onto currently available Windows 8 computers.

In other words the key advantage to creating UEFI-only bootable USB live media is: You know that it definitely booted and installed via UEFI.

Since Valve has already been doing UEFI-only booting USB installers with their Steam OS and UNetbootin — the top voted alternative to Ubuntu's Startup Disk Creator — isn't UEFI compatible and therefore misleading, I think we should have a separate topic for creating UEFI-only bootable USB live media.

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2 Answers 2

up vote 14 down vote accepted


Creating UEFI-only booting USB live media is pretty straight forward. Just copy the files to your FAT32-formatted USB drive. That's it!

Remember that:

Table of contents

  • ISO loop back method
  • Copy files from the ISO method
    1. Example via terminal
    2. Example via GUI
    3. Example on Windows

ISO loop back method

In preparation, will also include instructions for persistency.

Copy files from the ISO method

1. Example via terminal

You can do something like the following if 604A-00EA is your USB drive and you already have p7zip installed:

$ 7z x ubuntu-12.04-desktop-amd64.iso -o/media/$USER/604A-00EA/

You're done if you have only one partition on this USB drive, otherwise you need to flag the partition as bootable e.g. via parted:

# parted /dev/sdX set 1 boot on

Where /dev/sdX would be your USB stick and 1 the partition number that should be used to boot.

2. Example via GUI

  1. Mount the .iso-file and copy the contents over to your USB drive. Press Ctrl+H in Nautilus to display and copy hidden files as well.

    nautilus showing Disk Image Mounter in context menu when .iso-file is selected

  2. Add the boot flag via GParted.

    GParted showing how to manage partition flags

3. Example on Windows

  1. Same as above, just copy files.
  2. Press Windows/Super+X, go to Disk Management and check if the partition is marked as active. On Windows versions prior to Windows 8, you press Windows/Super+R to open the run menu and open diskmgmt.msc, that would open Disk Management.
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let me point out (a) that all PCs shipped in the last 5 years or so have this capability; (b) that the .iso installer root then can use the full usb stick as ordinary persistent storage. (use ro mount options to protect from accidental deletion.) for modern PCs and common usage patterns, this seems like a better solution than live-usb-creator's default solution. –  user1539216 Dec 19 '14 at 6:22

Using dd worked for me, for some reason, the GUI version did not work. So, first, you might want to monitor the progess of dd


sudo dd if=path/to/image/file | pv | dd of=/dev/device_you_want_to_use

(/dev/device_you_want_to_use will typically be /dev/sdb, but check with df!)

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Creating media this way does not result in UEFI-only bootable media. Emphasis is on the last paragraph of the question: "There is also one advantage to creating UEFI-only booting USB live media: You know that it definitely booted via UEFI." Having media that can boot both ways is a problem when trying to understand and setup a UEFI-bootable Ubuntu installation. –  LiveWireBT Jul 27 '14 at 21:14
I see. The weird thing is that this way, I was able to produce a image that booted in UEFI mode (I know that, since the laptop was set to allow only uefi boot and also because of the inital screen). The preffered answer did not work for me, the computer would just not boot with an image created by just copying the files. –  sup Jul 28 '14 at 7:32

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