To create a USB stick from which you can install Ubuntu, you must first download Ubuntu and then follow http://www.ubuntu.com/download/desktop/create-a-usb-stick-on-ubuntu.

Why can't we download the http://releases.ubuntu.com/14.04/ubuntu-14.04.2-desktop-amd64.iso to a flash drive, and that's all, and use it for installation?

What does "create a bootable USB stick on Ubuntu" actually do?


  • It doesn't need to be done on Ubuntu, there are tools for Windows as well (and OSX too, I think). – muru Mar 8 '15 at 21:08
  • Related: askubuntu.com/a/512065/158442 – muru Mar 8 '15 at 21:11

Actually, you can: recent Ubuntu ISO images are "hybrid" and meant to be both writable to CD media or directly to a CD. Read here:


If your host operating system is unable to write a raw image to the USB stick without mangling it (I know Ubuntu can do it, using the "dd" command, but I'm unaware if Windows or OS X can) then you need to use a USB creation tool which copies the files from the ISO in a different way and then prepares the stick to be generically bootable.

FWIW, I usually just sudo dd if=ubuntu-image.iso of=/dev/sdb (where /dev/sdb is the device for the USB stick) and the resulting stick boots fine.


Ah: some computer archaeology: You need to "create a bootable USB stick" to create the bootable MBR/GPT sectors on your USB stick. Otherwise all of the information would be available on the stick, but the BIOS wouldn't know where to look for it...

BIOS is actually extremely dumb and dates back to the CP/M area where "booting" was: read track 0 and track 1 and show a prompt. Booting took all of 1 second on a floppy drive...

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