I've installed Ubuntu by USB many times before. It's not working now and I'm not sure why.

I format the USB drive (a Kingston DataTraveler 100 G2, 16 GB) using GParted by wiping it and installing a FAT32 primary partition on it. I change the permissions of the drive filesystem from root to the main user (sudo chown user1: /media/user1/4B8C-3997). I download Ubuntu (wget http://mirror.switch.ch/ftp/mirror/ubuntu-cdimage/15.10/ubuntu-15.10-desktop-amd64.iso) and then write the ISO to USB using UNetbootin. Then, when I try to boot from the drive, it simply loops back to asking which drive to boot from.

Do you have any ideas about what might be causing this?


Unetbootin does not create the Ubuntu installation media properly.
Use the Disks tool (gnome-disk-utility) to create the USB media.

Open Disks, select Restore Disk Image from the menu on the top right.
Choose the ISO file and the USB drive to write it to and start restoring.

When you want to create the installation media from within Windows,
boot Windows, open command prompt as administrator and execute :

list disk  
select disk *  
create partition primary  
format fs=fat32 quick  
assign letter=**  

Note : * = number of USB drive | ** = select a free drive letter
Now mount the ISO file and copy the content to the USB disk.

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  • Does opening as administrator make a difference? – 54D Apr 18 '16 at 12:00
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    @ArceusMaster0493 : You cannot use the Windows diskpart tool as a normal user, because you need to have elevated privileges to work on disks - so you will have to execute the commands as administrator. :) – cl-netbox Apr 18 '16 at 12:09
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    Can you at least explain why unetbootin doesn't work ? as it is actually supposed to.. – Matt Dec 5 '18 at 8:59

Use this git clone for a faster bootable usb creator.

git clone git://github.com/pbatard/rufus

Alternative Windows mirror: https://github.com/pbatard/rufus/archive/v2.8.zip

It can also format the partition to FAT32 easily

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If you want to boot from USB and you are prepared to wipe all existing contents from the USB device, there is a much simpler way:

cat ubuntu-15.10-desktop-amd64.iso >/dev/sdx

Where /dev/sdx is the device name of the USB media. Be very careful because a small typo in this command could wipe your hard drive.

This works because the Ubuntu ISO images utilize the free space at the start of any ISO image to include a partition table and boot loader suitable for booting from USB.

It is also possible to partition the USB device manually, create a file system, copy the ISO file to that file system, install a boot loader, create a boot menu entry to boot from the ISO file. But performing all of these steps manually is more work, and it is easy to make mistakes meaning you have to try a few times before you get the system to boot.

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