Is it possible to download Ubuntu 12.04 to an SD card and then use that to install or to boot directly from it, rather than using a USB stick?

The plan is to install Ubuntu on an old Toshiba Portege M200 laptop, which does not have a CD drive.

  • 6
    Yes, treat it as a USB stick. Use unetbootin to make a bootable media. – Uri Herrera Sep 6 '12 at 15:42
  • 2
    Agree with the above comment with the small disclaimer that it does depend on your BIOS to some extent. Older BIOSes might not support booting from their SD card readers, newer ones should. You could probably circumvent this even on an older BIOS by using a USB SD card reader. – adempewolff Sep 6 '12 at 15:47

The answers in this question: Is there a way to install Ubuntu on usb pendrive as normal instalation (not live cd)? are also applicable to SD Cards. (Tested by me)

Pay special attention to this:

Anyway I suggest you to disconnect all your hard disk drives in your computer, specially those which are having a OS installed (Windows, Linux, etc.) as you may finish having a multi-boot USB/SD Memory with GRUB and in certain cases the bootloader can be written in a different device, other than the USB Memory/SD Card.

Included in my answer here.

Good luck!


UNetboot works perfectly fine for the process of downloading Ubuntu onto USB/SD card.

Install UNetbootin in Ubuntu

Using these few commands, downloading and running it will work.

sudo apt-get install unetbootin

Once you get into UNetboot,

  1. Click disk image
  2. Click on the ellipsis(the box with three dots)
  3. Locate your Iso *(Newbies and kids) click on "computer" (you will see an icon in the box.. click on that), then "home", then "user", then "downloads"... locate your iso and click on it.

If anyone has issues with it telling you to reformat your card to fat32, check your "disk utility" via dash home(where you type in you the apps your. If your using an sd card, it will probably already set as fat32. If not... simply change it to fat32, then go back to UNetboot. If your Still experiencing issues, this simple technique I'm going to tell you should do the job. Where it says "Type", make sure its set to "USB".. even though some of us will be using SD cards. Now switch it from USB to "Hard Disk". Now where it says "Drive", you should see " / ". Now switch "Hard Disk" back to "USB" and your device should pop up. Enjoy you portable Ubuntu.

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