I need a reliable application which will make usb pen drives bootable. Recently, I tried creating a bootable lubuntu-13-04-alternate usb on a ubuntu 12.10 system but ended up with 'boot error' when trying to boot. I tried startup disk creator as well as unetbootin. This is not the first time I am experiencing this, rather the above two utilities have always had high failure rates in my experience. Universal-usb-installer, YUMI, LiLi have worked great whenever I tried them, but all of them are windows only! So I have two questions:

  1. What is the method to reliably create a bootable usb in ubuntu?
  2. Why does windows have some of the best bootable usb creators while linux dosent?
  • 1
    Startup Disk Creator is buggy, but usually works fine as long as you don't change the setting for the "reserved space". I use Startup Disk Creator, and although it is buggy, it usually works fine as long as you don't change that setting. Also make sure to check your BIOS and change it from UEFI to EFI or Legacy Boot Mode if necessary. Also make sure to change your BIOS' disk order if it has one (it's a completely different thing than boot order)!
    – John Scott
    Jul 6, 2014 at 2:06
  • I don't believe there is a single application to achieve this. There are a lot of issues to consider. I have managed to create a bootable USB for several different OS and tested them on this post.
    – VRR
    Apr 4, 2015 at 13:47
  • Grub and dd is reliable. Nov 15, 2015 at 16:35

11 Answers 11


Try UnetBootin. Worked everytime for me.
Install by :-

$sudo apt-get install unetbootin

And, always use as root

$sudo unetbootin

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I've been using the .AppImage version. Good thing about it is that it is auto-updating and can be used on any linux distro.


My pain killer is:


Tested on Ubuntu 15.04 to burn 14.04.

  • mkusb works in all current Ubuntu versions to make USB boot drives with all current Ubuntu versions. It can manage many other linux distros too. See this link, help.ubuntu.com/community/mkusb/…
    – sudodus
    Nov 4, 2017 at 17:45

KDE version of Start-up disk creator works better than the GTK version the times I've used it.

  • The KDE USB Creator works on 16.04 if you start it as root, i.e sudo usb-creator-kde Nov 27, 2017 at 11:43

Try FUSBi.

FUSBi, the Free USB Installer, downloads free GNU/Linux Distributions for you and creates bootable USB images.

FUSBi supports automated installation of of all the FSF-endorsed Free Software GNU/Linux Distributions, such as gNewSense, UTUTO, Dynebolic, Musix GNU+Linux, BLAG and GNUstep. You can also use it with your local image files.

FUSBi is a Free Software itself and is licensed under GNU General Public License version 3 or later.1

To download and install click Here

Note: Before executing it by double clicking, make sure you have p7zip-full installed sudo apt-get install p7zip-full.

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Just click OK

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You can follow the instructions here on the official Ubuntu site: http://www.ubuntu.com/download/desktop/create-a-usb-stick-on-windows

I know it says Windows but the application which you will need to download say that you need either Windows or Wine on Linux: http://www.pendrivelinux.com/universal-usb-installer-easy-as-1-2-3/#button


I wouldn't use a creator program myself, I'd make a manual multi-boot usb by installing grub & editing a grub.cfg file to point to the .iso file that's just copied onto the usb.

Or as a last resort, plain dd to get the iso onto a usb drive (though I don't especially like it's overwriting the usb's default MBR & partitioning).

Here's pasted quick multiboot usb instructions from my other answer here https://askubuntu.com/a/572023/129271

I like the multi-boot usb method, described here on Arch's Wiki or here on pendrivelinux.com, for many distros you just copy the ISO file onto the usb and edit grub.cfg. Cliff notes instructions are:

  1. Mount the usb
  2. Install grub grub-install --force --no-floppy --boot-directory=/mnt/USB/boot /dev/sdx (replacing x with your actual USB device & /mnt/usb with mounted dir)
  3. Put demo grub.cfg ( http://pendrivelinux.com/downloads/multibootlinux/grub.cfg ) in /mnt/USB/boot/grub and edit to match your iso's

Or see the Ubuntu help on creating & installing from bootable USB's, can the Ubuntu tool Startup Disk Creator, Unetbootin, or plain dd.


I have never had any problems with dd, just open up the terminal run the following command

sudo dd if=/path/to/iso of=/dev/sdX bs=5M

replacing "/dev/sdX" with your usb (you can find it with sudo fdisk -l) and "/path/to/iso" with the actual path. MAKE ABSOLUTELY SURE ABOUT YOUR USB DEVICE PATH. Using the wrong path will have ugly consequences! Note that it will only be sdX and not sdX(0-9) (example /dev/sda and not /dev/sda1)


Try Universal USB Installer. It is specifically used to make bootable USB drives for all Linux distributions. There is a drop down list containing all the Linux distros and several relevant programs. Just choose the one you need and provide the ISO and voila!


  • Looks like you have to install Wine to use it on Linux. Not very convenient...
    – wjandrea
    Jun 14, 2018 at 6:04


Multibootusb (opensource) works both for windows and linux.


According to me, UNetBootin and YUMI are one of the best bootable USB creators for Ubuntu users. You can use any of these tools to create your bootable usb for Ubuntu OS. Also Ubuntu has its own USB creator inbuilt which is trusted and more reliable but not user friendly. In that, case you can use any of the above mentioned two tools.


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