Some specs in relation to my laptop:

  • 8x SATA DVD±R/RW/Dual Layer (+ 24x CD-RW)
  • Has both usb 3.0 and 2.0 ports.
  • Will be installing on a msata SSD with no other OS

Since Ubuntu gives you the option of either creating a DVD or USB to use to install Ubuntu I am wondering is their any advantage or dis-advantage of using one device over the other when both are present?

Main items I'd be interested in is one less error/fault prone than the other and is it faster to install Ubuntu by USB or DVD?

4 Answers 4


There is no advantage or disadvantage of installing it through DVD or USB.

Installation may be a little faster through USB.

Also if you use a DVD, you have the risk of "disk read error" during install, due to possible scratches of DVD disk.

My opinion is to use a USB "burned" with unetbootin :)

  • 1
    Unetbootin has absolutely no advantage over the official Startup Disk Creator.
    – user280493
    Aug 31, 2014 at 15:45

You have USB 3.0 ports. If you have a USB 3.0 drive available, the speed alone should be enough to justify using it.

Other than speed, one advantage would be availability of persistence on USB drives, but I don't think that would be important enough for you.


If you computer supports booting from USB stick (most modern computers do), then go for installation with USB stick. Preparing USB stick takes far less time than burning DVD and installation time is also greatly reduced, since reading from USB stick is much faster than reading from DVD.

To prepare bootable Ubuntu USB stick, use official Ubuntu tool - Startup Disk Creator. Remember that USB stick has to have FAT32 partition on it. Otherwise Startup Disk Creator will fail.

If you are going to prepare USB bootable stick on Windows, do it as described in Ubuntu documentation: How to create a bootable USB stick on Windows.

  • Startup Disk Creator should format it, so it shouldn't matter what's already on it.
    – muru
    Aug 31, 2014 at 15:53
  • 1
    @muru no, Startup Dick Creator fails if partition on USB stick is different than FAT32. Try it yourself if you don't believe me ;-).
    – user280493
    Aug 31, 2014 at 15:56
  • 1

Errors are possible regardless of the media, but since USB is not liable to errors from surface damage and since it is reusable many times without any noticeable deterioration, I would suggest a USB.

Neither is officially better than another, though, but some machines do not have optical drives, which is why both are an option.

I will say it's super easy to dd to the USB. No burning involved.

  • dd is not recommended for "burning" dvd images on usb sticks.
    – przemo
    Aug 31, 2014 at 14:56
  • @przemo says who? Most USB ISO creation utilities are just front ends to dd. The only risk with it is wiping the wrong drive :-)
    – wxl
    Aug 31, 2014 at 15:36
  • 1
    No, most of them unpack .iso and write content to a fat partition and modify boot. CD/DVD use ISO 9660 or Joliet. I didn't say it can't be done, if it works it works, I'm saying that it is not recommended because you have to know what you're doing.
    – przemo
    Aug 31, 2014 at 15:42
  • 1
    Ubuntu Bootable USB sticks often fails if prepared with dd. It is super easy, but it is also super unreliable.
    – user280493
    Aug 31, 2014 at 15:46
  • Seems as of 12.04, this is a non-issue.
    – wxl
    Sep 1, 2014 at 1:14

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