Could someone explain how to install Ubuntu from an SD card? I don't have any CDs or USB sticks around. My current operating system is Windows 10 64 bit.

  • If both the tool you want to use to "burn" the ISO allows selecting the SD as target and you computer can boot from it, the process is exactly the same as with a USB.
    – user589808
    Jan 16, 2017 at 17:48
  • But how do I burn to USB? There are no such options in the ISO viewer.
    – jimpix
    Jan 16, 2017 at 17:49
  • Many options in Windows: Rufus (recommended), Unetbootin, etc. But again, you need to make sure the computer can boot from it otherwise there's no point in making it.
    – user589808
    Jan 16, 2017 at 17:51
  • ubuntu.com/download/desktop/create-a-usb-stick-on-windows
    – user589808
    Jan 16, 2017 at 17:52
  • @CelticWarrior I check that by pressing F12 while booting right?
    – jimpix
    Jan 16, 2017 at 17:53

3 Answers 3


A few computers can boot from the built-in card reader, but most computers cannot do it. Many computers can boot from an SD card in a USB card reader. Some card readers can boot, and some card readers cannot boot. And some card readers can boot only some computers, and other readers can boot only some other computers. Chances are better with USB 2 than with USB 3. It is a jungle.

If you are lucky, you can boot from an SD card with your current devices. You create an SD boot drive like you install a USB boot drive, for example with mkusb in linux and with Rufus or Win32 Disk Imager in Windows.

But if you would need a new card reader, it is better to buy or borrow a USB stick for this purpose. It is at least as cheap, and more reliable. See this link and links from it,



Here are three elements of answers, depending on what you really want to do. Since I'm providing lot's of "ideas", I don't go deep inside them, if you want more details on some steps, ask me in comments.

I want to install Linux from Windows without USB key/CD

You can use Unetbootin as explained here to put the iso on the C: drive, then reboot and install linux from the "fake" dual boot that will be available. If you want to understand how it works, here are some docs.

I want to install another Linux from a Linux without USB key/CD

Idea 1 : You may want to try Unetbootin, but I didn't try it.

Idea 2 : You can also create a new partition, use debootstrap to create a new ubuntu system into it, chroot into it, and run from it the commands needed to update the grub (the commands depends on whether you are using the old legacy boot are the new uefi grub). Here are some docs to install Ubuntu.

Idea 3 : Edit the already existing grub rules to boot on an iso. Here are the explanations to modify the rules of grub2, based on these configuration.

I really want to boot on SD card, without using USB/CD

I let you read the answer of sudodus. I hope you'll be lucky.

I really want to boot on SD card, but I can use a USB key before

The idea would be to boot from USB/CD on the distribution plop. Then you should be able to select the SD card once you boot into plop.


you can use wubi it is now currently discontinued but there is a fork called wubiuefi which lets you dualboot your windows and linux without partitioning your system here is the link if you are interested: https://github.com/hakuna-m/wubiuefi/releases


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