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I'm trying to install ubuntu from an already-formatted USB flash drive. After opening the Rufus and selecting the drive and pressing start, It gives an error:

 Error: Access to the device is denied

My USB flash drive is already formatted. Is there anything else I can change?

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Did you try running Rufus as administrator?

You could also try simply copying the contents of the ISO to a freshly formatted USB stick. I have installed Ubuntu that way before.

I have also used Universal USB Installer (https://www.pendrivelinux.com/universal-usb-installer-easy-as-1-2-3/) without issues; you may want to try it.

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Rufus is a Windows tool, so I assume that you try from Windows. It is usually working well, but if you have problems, you can try with Win32 Disk Imager.

If you are trying to use Rufus via Wine in Ubuntu, I suggest that you try a native linux tool, for example mkusb.

-o-

If there are still problems, there might be something wrong with the flash drive. Try to format it again in Windows, or to wipe and restore it to a storage drive with an MSDOS partition table and a FAT32 partition with mkusb in linux.

It this does not work, the drive is probably damaged in a way, that it difficult or impossible to repair with the tools we have available.

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This is addressed in the Rufus FAQ:

If you are seeing Access is denied during USB drive creation, it means that something external to Rufus is preventing it from accessing the drive, and YOU will need to figure out what it is.

It could be something like a security application, or your OS settings or it could even be a hardware issue with your USB drive. For instance, there exist poorly designed security solutions that scan removable drives, but "forget" to relinquish access to the drive when they are done scanning. This creates conflicts with Rufus, as the first thing Rufus does is request exclusive access to the drive before repartitioning and reformatting it, which is done to ensure that it never erases a drive that is still being accessed for reading or writing. Understandably, requesting exclusive access to a drive is something that any formatting applications should do.

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