I'm trying to create a bootable USB stick of ubuntu-11.10-desktop-i386.iso using usb-creator-gtk on my ThinkPad X220. Usb-creator-gtk appears to work OK, but the resulting stick fails to boot either of my laptops. I tried two different USB sticks. Boot just shows a blinking cursor.

If I mount the USB stick, I see it has 729M of data on it.

One more clue: After usb-creator-gtk exits, the activity light on my USB drive continues to blink for a minute or so, and even after that's done, /media/XXXX-XXXX and /tmp/tmpXXXXXX remain mounted. I have been manually umounting them before pulling out the stick.

Is there any way to get debug output from usb-creator-gtk? Or is there a straightforward command-line alternative to usb-creator-gtk that would offer more debugging options?

UPDATE: In syslog, I noticed the error:

usb-creator-gtk[xxxxx]: segfault at 4 ip xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx sp xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx error 6 in libdbus-1.so.3.5.7[xxxxxxxxxxxx+xxxxx]

Turns out this is ubuntu bug #875758.

Is there an alternative to usb-creator-gtk? Ideally, a bash recipe that would help me isolate the problem and work around it?

  • 3
    Have you tried unetbootin - I find this far better that the default in Ubuntu: unetbootin.sourceforge.net
    – fossfreedom
    Dec 13, 2011 at 9:38
  • Also copying the ISO image to USB drive (not partition) with dd should work.
    – enzotib
    Dec 13, 2011 at 9:44
  • Thank you, fossfreedom. Unetbootin worked where usb-creator-gtk failed.
    – Joe
    Dec 14, 2011 at 2:53
  • @fossfreedom want to add that as an answer? Feb 1, 2012 at 11:39
  • @Stefano - not really - I dont think it answers the question directly. The OP seems to have disappeared - possible this question could be considered as abandoned?
    – fossfreedom
    Feb 1, 2012 at 12:51

2 Answers 2

  • Identify device (/dev/xxx) and unmount device

  • Device should be in FAT32 if not:

    sudo mkdosfs -n 'USB-LABEL' -I /dev/xxx -F 32

Mount the iso file and copy content to USB device:

sudo mkdir /media/iso
sudo mount -o loop /path/to/ubuntu.iso /media/iso
cp -a /media/iso/. /USBMOUNTPOINT/

Make the device bootable:

sudo apt-get install syslinux mtools
syslinux -s /dev/sdd1

Rename the isolinux directory to syslinux and copy config:

mv /media/xxx/isolinux /media/xxx/syslinux
mv /media/xxx/syslinux/isolinux.cfg /media/xxx/syslinux/syslinux.cfg

Reboot your pc and change the boot-order in bios to USB. Now your ubuntu usb flash drive will booted up and you can install it.


mkusb-nox wraps a safety belt around dd

It is possible to use dd 'naked', but I would discourage you to do it, because it is risky.

dd if=file.iso of=/dev/sdx

dd is very powerful and does what you tell it to do without any questions, even if you tell it to overwrite your family pictures. A simple typing error is enough ...

mkusb-nox is a tool, that works in text screens and terminal windows (nox: no X graphics).

It uses dd under the hood to clone the content of a hybrid iso file to a target block device (USB drive, memory card ...). Most current linux iso files are hybrid iso files. You can say that mkusb-nox (as well as mkusb with a GUI) 'wraps a safety belt' around dd.

mkusb-nox uses an extraction method to create install drives for Windows.

See these links,

Edit: It is also possible to use mkusb version 12 in text mode

  • 1
    mkusb-nox is great! It's better than usb-creator-gtk
    – diyism
    Aug 18, 2017 at 7:02
  • @diyism, I'm glad that mkusb-nox works well for you. Thanks for the feedback :-)
    – sudodus
    Aug 18, 2017 at 8:57

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