--All this is about terminal-- I know some of you will laugh, but I'm trying to install Arch Linux, since I want to learn as much as I can about linux system and how it works. I want to be an expert (maybe in 1000 years, but that's okay :)).

The problem is that even tho I know how to do some stuff under linux I'm having a hard time with those names about hard drives, usb, cd, blah blah and how to access them. Big introduction and no question yet, but the purpose is for you to see where I'm standing and give me as many details as possible.

And here's the question: How can I put the .iso file in a usb that will run on computers startup and allow me to install Arch linux? Details as to how to turn my pc on and hit F8 or whatever can be discarted lmao :)

Ty in advance.

2 Answers 2


If the .iso is a "hybrid mode" image (like most Ubuntu and Debian images these days, have no idea about Arch), then you can just write it directly to the USB just as if it was a CD-ROM drive. For instance, using dd.

dd if=imagefile.iso of=/dev/sdc oflag=direct bs=1048576

If the .iso is not a hybrid mode image, then you can use UNetBootin, available from Ubuntu's repositories, which is an easy way to burn an ISO (for a Linux distro) to a USB key, converting its filesystem to be compatible. Note: UNetBootin is a GUI app.

  • Hello, Thanks for your answer.Now I saw that dd command countless times while searching the net. If you look at my question, you might understand that the problem is that I'm not sure what's the name for my usb drive :$... That was the reason for the long introduction. I want to be sure about what I'm doing. So I would like to be told how to recognize & understand everything before hit that enter key. :)
    – Not Amused
    Dec 3, 2012 at 23:07
  • You could try fdisk -l to get a list of your drives and partitions. Dec 3, 2012 at 23:32
  • Yup I just found that out and came back just to hit the "answer accepted button" since you are the only one who bothered :) Ty again. Funny thing is that I had to look at linux mint installation for that information -.- Linux Arch is I guess for more advanced users than what I am. So maybe I should skip it for now. Thanks again
    – Not Amused
    Dec 3, 2012 at 23:41
  • is it necessary to use "oflag=direct bs=1048576"?
    – Incerteza
    Apr 21, 2014 at 18:18
  • No it's not necessary. Those options may speed up the copy in some cases. oflag=direct avoids the buffer cache and bs=1048576 (which could also be written bs=1M, I don't know why I didn't just write that) makes it write in chunks 1M large. On modern USB keys you may get better performance with bs=16M. I could have just left out those options to make the answer simpler, and the OS caching might still ensure fast enough copying anyway. Aug 14, 2014 at 0:16

First let's find out where your USB is in using the fdisk command:

sudo fdisk -l 

and you'll see a list of partitions in your computer.

sysfs on /sys type sysfs (rw,noexec,nosuid,nodev)
/dev/sda1            2048    15624191     7811072   82  Linux swap / Solaris
/dev/sda2   *    15624192    64452607    24414208   83  Linux
/dev/sdb1         1214121     3244232    42323242   84  vfat   

now you'll know that your usb is at /dev/sdb and /dev/sdb1 is the only 'partition' on it, if not per se a partition.

Now you have to do a block-by-block copy of the .iso file that you have to boot from to the disk. dd command is the one to use.

dd if=/path/to/iso.iso of=/dev/sdb

Notice that I'm using sdb here, not sdb1 or any other partition.

Now you'll be able to boot from the usb when you restart your computer. Just select to boot from the USB disk.

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