This is the third time I've tried to install Ubuntu Server 14.04.03 64-bit on the same laptop, and each time it caused different problems.

Each time I wrote the same iso image to a USB flash drive by using a different application and OS.

  1. Universal USB Installer (pendrivelinux.com) from Windows
  2. WinImage writer from Windows
  3. built-in image writer from Linux Mint 17.2

The iso image is the same in all three cases, the USB flash drive is the same, and the laptop is the same. However each time the installation of Ubuntu gave me different installation options. For example, the last time I installed Ubuntu, it didn't show all the packages to choose while installing (Basic Ubuntu server, etc.).

  • So far UNetbootin and Lili failed. I'm giving mini-iso 14.10(64) a try now. – emrecnl Sep 15 '15 at 14:47
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    checksum the ISO before anything – userDepth Sep 16 '15 at 2:02
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    I appreciate the editing as a non native English speaker, my question seems in correct form now. – emrecnl Sep 16 '15 at 8:02
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    @karel Hmm well this is less general, and the different-options part is unanswered and a bit vague. I don't want to prune dupes, but to close/link them. Unlike other closed Qs dupes aren't auto-deleted, and (like other closed Qs) the non-mod delete votes needed to remove them go up with the combined question+answers scores. I doubt closure would lead to deletion here unless all answers from the closed Q were first mod-merged into the other. OTOH I see what you mean about the answers. I've retracted my close vote. Should askubuntu.com/q/287064 be closed/merged? Should we ask meta? – Eliah Kagan Jul 25 '17 at 6:57
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    @karel Don't know if it helps, but I'm Voting to leave open given your comments with Eliah. – WinEunuuchs2Unix Jul 25 '17 at 13:42
up vote 38 down vote accepted

This flowchart shows how to make a bootable USB for installing Ubuntu and troubleshoot problems booting Ubuntu from it.

IMG:

In Windows 10 the dd command can be run from Bash on Windows. Bash on Windows is a full, Ubuntu-based Bash shell that can run Linux software directly.

Links

How to make an Ubuntu USB on Ubuntu using Startup Disk Creator

Ubuntu has a built-in application for creating a bootable Ubuntu live USB for installing Ubuntu called Startup Disk Creator. Search the Dash for Startup Disk Creator and click the Startup Disk Creator icon to open the Make Startup Disk window.

The USB flash drive that you use with Startup Disk Creator should be 2GB or larger, and for Ubuntu 18.04 and later it should be 4GB or larger. Startup Disk Creator will automatically format your USB flash drive to FAT32 and make it bootable. If you have only one USB flash drive plugged in to your computer, Startup Disk Creator will select it automatically. Be very careful to select the USB flash drive in the Make Startup Disk window in order to avoid overwriting the partition which Ubuntu is installed on, which may make Ubuntu unbootable. In the screenshot below you can see how the USB flash drive Device is identified by its model name, the same model name that appears under the Drive heading after Model: in the Disks (disk utility) application.

IMG: Startup Disk Creator in Ubuntu 16.04

How to make an Ubuntu Minimal USB using dd

  1. Download the Ubuntu Mini CD iso file from the link on the Ubuntu Documentation Installation Minimal CD webpage. Download the file called mini.iso to your Downloads folder. You can download the mini.iso file to wherever on your computer that you want, but download it to your Downloads folder so that you can easily run the commands in the following steps without changing anything.

  2. Verify the md5 checksum of the Ubuntu mini CD iso file that you downloaded by running these commands:

    cd ~/Downloads/
    md5sum 'mini.iso'
    

    If you are using Windows Subsystem for Linux download the Microsoft File Checksum Integrity Verifier tool from the official Microsoft Download Center. The Microsoft File Checksum Integrity Verifier tool is a command line utility that computes MD5 or SHA1 cryptographic hashes for files.

  3. Check that the results of the command match the MD5 checksum of the mini.iso file on the Ubuntu Documentation Installation Minimal CD webpage.

  4. Get a USB flash drive, 1GB or larger. Delete all the files from the USB flash drive. Mount the flash drive using the Disks disk utility.

  5. Check in the Disks disk utility to find out the device name of your USB flash drive. This is very important because if you use the wrong device name in step 6, you will overwrite your whole operating system instead of writing to the USB flash drive. So check the USB flash drive device name twice. It should be something like /dev/sd* where instead of the * character there is a lower case letter like a, b, c, etc. In the following step I am assuming that the device name is /dev/sdc, but the device name of your USB drive could be something else like /dev/sda or /dev/sdb so check the device name of your USB drive twice and make sure that you get it right in step 6!

  6. Open the terminal or Windows Subsystem for Linux and run the following commands:

    cd ~/Downloads/  
    sudo -i  
    dd if='mini.iso' of=/dev/sdc bs=4096  ## make sure that the device name of your USB drive is correct!
    

    The dd if='mini.iso' of=/dev/sdc bs=4096 command should take only a few seconds to complete on most computers because the mini.iso is a small file, less than 60MB. The result of running this command will be a bootable Ubuntu mini USB.

  7. Boot the computer from the Ubuntu mini live USB. The Ubuntu mini live USB should boot successfully and show a menu screen.

  8. If you select the Install option (the complete install, not the cli install) from the menu screen in Step 7, then you can select other options during the Ubuntu installation process to download all the packages that you need to perform a complete Ubuntu installation. Select the Ubuntu desktop package collection from the list of predefined collections of software in the Software selection screen in the Ubuntu mini CD installer. When you restart the system at the end of the installation, you will have a working Ubuntu desktop with the default desktop environment.

    enter image description here

  • Thank you sir for letting me know there's an online installing method with these Mini iso files. Step 6 did not work, laptop showed a corrupt iso image error although I corrected md5. But I must admit I ran the command on Linux Mint as I didn't have a working Ubuntu environment at that moment. So I burned this image under Windows with USB Universal Installer and selected Other linux iso option not Ubuntu. I am now installing. Only difference I noticed is that, it did not ask me to unmount hdd before partitioning. USB stick is detected as sda, and hard drive is sdb lol. – emrecnl Sep 15 '15 at 15:20
  • Great answer, I think particularly the flow chart and the instructions to install from the Ubuntu mini.iso file :-) – sudodus Jun 27 '17 at 13:03
  • This response is the model that all can aspire-to and emulate – gatorback Oct 18 at 21:00

Try "Startup Disk Creator" or "UNetbootin" on Linux.

I installed Ubuntu 15.04amd64 last week using Unetbootin and it worked fine.

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    +1 for UNetbootin - in addition it can download many distribution automatically by itself and is available for Windows too – Marek Bettman Sep 15 '15 at 14:16

Download the iso file and check that it was downloaded correctly

The official website is

www.ubuntu.com/download

and you find all current iso files including standard Ubuntu and the community flavours (Kubuntu, Lubuntu ... Xubuntu) via the following link,

releases.ubuntu.com/

and the mini.iso files via

cdimages.ubuntu.com/netboot/

It is somewhat tricky to find Ubuntu 16.04.1 LTS (the version with the longest support time). The following link works (2017-06-27),

old-releases.ubuntu.com/releases/xenial/

The following link can help you check that the iso file was downloaded correctly,

help.ubuntu.com/community/UbuntuHashes

You can use md5sum or one of the other checksum programs, and check that the result matches what is provided in the corresponding file with upper-case name, for example 'MD5SUMS', as shown with the following command line, and check with your own eyes,

md5sum ubuntu-16.04.1-server-amd64.iso

or copy and paste from 'MD5SUMS' to the following command line,

echo 'd2d939ca0e65816790375f6826e4032f *ubuntu-16.04.1-server-amd64.iso'|md5sum -c

This last command should return

ubuntu-16.04.1-server-amd64.iso: OK

Cloning from a hybrid iso file to a USB drive or a memory card

If you clone from a hybrid iso file to a USB drive or memory card, everything relevant will be overwritten, so wiping and formatting will make no difference (except maybe making the final cloning faster, but the total time and effort will increase).

All current Ubuntu iso files are hybrid iso files (including Ubuntu Server and Ubuntu mini.iso).

dd deserves the nicknames 'disk destroyer' and 'data destroyer'

Cloning with dd produces a reliable result, if you do it correctly,

sudo dd if=/path/file.iso of=/dev/sdx bs=4096

where x is the drive letter. But dd does what you tell it to do without questions. If you tell it to wipe the family pictures ... and it is a minor typing error away.

Tools with a final checkpoint

So I would recommend that you use a tool with a final checkpoint, that gives you a chance to double-check that you will install the live system to the correct drive.

Two such tools come with standard Ubuntu and the community flavours (Kubuntu, Lubuntu ... Xubuntu),

  • The Startup Disk Creator (in Ubuntu 16.04 LTS and newer versions; older versions come with an old and buggy version, that you should avoid),
  • Disks alias gnome-disks.

You can install mkusb from its PPA.

  • The standard function is to clone from an iso file or [compressed] image file,
  • but it can also wipe a drive,
  • restore a drive from an 'install device' to a 'standard storage device' (with an MSDOS partition table and partition with a FAT32 file system),
  • create Windows install drives and
  • create persistent live drives with Ubuntu and Debian.

Ubuntu Server is normally run without a desktop environment, so you need a text mode tool, if you want to create the USB install drive or memory card when running Ubuntu Server.

  • mkusb works in text mode too, and is a safe alternative to dd. You can use the simple text version mkusb-nox but also the new mkusb version 12 alias mkusb-dus, which will test for zenity (when there is a GUI), then test for menus with dialog, and finally fall back to a simple text screen interface, if dialog is not installed.

In Windows you can use the cloning tool

If cloning does not work

Most modern linux distros provide iso files treated with isohybrid, which make them hybrid iso files. Such iso files can be used to

  • burn CD/DVD disks that are bootable
  • clone USB drives and memory cards that are bootable

But some iso files are not hybrid iso files, for example Windows iso files and older Knoppix iso files (before version 8.1). These iso files must be extracted and special care must be taken to make the target drive bootable. (You can treat an older Knoppix iso file with isohybrid, but it does not work with Windows iso files.)

There are several extracting tools, for example Rufus, which is the officially recommended tool to install Ubuntu from Windows.

Most of the Ubuntu installation ISOs are hybrid mode ISOs, which means they will be bootable and fully operational when directly copied to either an optical disc (DVD) or a USB drive.

So, the simple method is just to use any utility which can copy an image directly to a drive unmodified.

This includes dd on Linux/unix, or a tool such as WinImage or Win32 Disk Imager on Windows.

There is no need to use a utility that converts an ISO to a bootable USB drive image such as UNetBootin or PenDriveLinux Universal USB Installer.

I've had 0 problems with Linux Live USB Creator if you're using Windows.

UNetbootin has been working great too.

  • I don't think his problem is writing the iso – AlexGreg Sep 15 '15 at 15:09
  • The title of the topic is "How can I burn ISO image to USB stick?" and his errors could be attributed to using a faulty soft to burn is to the ISO. In addittion, this comment askubuntu.com/a/674442/451163 has been upvoted twice. What's the problem here ? :/ – Eihwaz Sep 15 '15 at 15:12

Windows Boot Drive Programs

If you are creating an installer USB from Ubuntu 18.04 that needs BIOS and UEFI boot options, mkusb is the best solution.

UNetbootin Linux is not working with 18.04. Startup Disk Creator uses up the whole read only disk and has no persistence option.

There are lots of options for making an installer USB from Windows, most are syslinux based..

Some offer Live installs, (without persistence):

Rufus

Rufus - 3.1.1320 (BIOS and UEFI)

Copy/Paste ISO Contents

Copy/Paste ISO Contents - (UEFI only)

Some offer a choice of either Live or Persistent installs:

MultiBootUSB

MultiBootUSB - 9.2.0 (BIOS and UEFI, 4GB persistence, Problems: Missing casper-rw file)

Linux Live

Linux Live - 2.9.4 (BIOS and UEFI, >4GB persistence BIOS only, comes with Portable Virtualbox)

enter image description here

UNetbootin - 661 (BIOS and UEFI, 4GB persistence)

enter image description here

Universal - 1.9.8.3 (BIOS and UEFI, 4GB persistence)(>4GB BIOS/NTFS)

YUMI

YUMI - 2.0.5.7 (BIOS only, >4GB persistence NTFS)

YUMI-UEFI - 0.0.0.8 (UEFI only, 4GB persistence)

All of the commercial Syslinux installers require at least three inputs:

  • Location of source ISO.

  • Target drive letter.

  • Amount of persistence.

Several of the programs will allow formatting the drives FAT32 or NTFS, if not sure choose Default, (FAT32).

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