I am trying to run ubuntu off of USB. Here is what I did:

  1. Checked USB formatting. confirmed that it is FAT32
  2. From instructions on this page I downloaded (Universal USB installer).
  3. From this page I downloaded ubuntu 32 bit onto my windows PC.
  4. I ran the universal USB installer as per the instructions here and successfully (seemingly) downloaded everything onto the USB
  5. Restarted computer; hit esc. for start up options; F9 for list of options but then Flash Drive is not an option.

I don't know what I did wrong but last week I took a class using this same computer where flash drives were provided with Ubuntu and I was able to boot right up, no problem. I think I missed a step putting together this USB.

Any assistance would be appreciated.

  • 1
    What options are there? What kind of computer do you have? Old BIOSes sometimes can't boot from USB devices so a CD could be burned as an alternative. – hexafraction Sep 3 '12 at 20:05
  • The options are 1. Notebook Hard Drive 2. Internal CD/DVD ROM Drive and 3. SanDisk. Below it says to hit F10 for BIOS set up options. Based on the comments below it seems that I should go ahead with F10 and take a look at the BIOS options. I am confused by one thing: as I mentioned last week in a class that I was taking I did not have any issues booting off of the USB (and I haven's made any changes to the computer since). Last week USB was #4 on the list above. I am using a HP Pavillion g6 with Windows 7. I will let you know hot it goes with the BIOS options. Thank you. – hydro Sep 3 '12 at 20:12
  • 1
    Try SanDisk, especially if your flash drive is made by this manufacturer. – hexafraction Sep 3 '12 at 20:43
  • I just went through the BIOS options and under boot options, external USB device is not an option. It is listed as activated under the boot order options but again, not actually under the actual boot options. I do not have this problem with my other flash drive. The problematic flash drive is a 4MB SanDisk. I am will look at the SanDisk webiste. I am looking for a SanDisk installer instead of the universal USB installer, correct? Thank you. – hydro Sep 3 '12 at 21:40
  • No. You want the universal installer. You should still boot from "SanDisk". – hexafraction Sep 3 '12 at 21:48

In your boot menu, you just need to pick SanDisk, as per the OP's first comment, as well as succeeding ones.


In some case, you need to Enable External Device boot or sometimes called USB Boot from BIOS Settings in order to see Flash Drive in option.

Check your computer specific BIOS Settings for more precise USB Settings, External Device Boot & BOOT ORDER related information.

Try other Boot Devices listed in Boot Menu, sometimes it is known as Mass Storage or comes under Hard Drive!

PS: Don't forget to Save Changes and Exit. in BIOS!


On some systems, you'll find the option "floppy disk" or something that suggests that. That's the one you need to pick in BIOS for USB.


This is a hardware limitation, if USB is not a boot option then either it's turned off on your BIOS or your system does not support USB booting.

If that is the case you are better off using a CD to install Ubuntu.

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