Linux for Starters: Your Guide to Linux – Make a Bootable Ubuntu USB Stick in Windows – Part 3

Last Updated on June 12, 2023

This series offers a gentle introduction to Linux for newcomers.

One of the easiest ways to install Linux is by creating a bootable USB key. We will walk you through the process for the Ubuntu Desktop distro.

Before we start, you’ll need a 4GB or larger USB stick, Windows XP or later, USB stick writing software (balenaEtcher), and an Ubuntu ISO file.

Step 1 – Download the Ubuntu ISO

Download the Ubuntu 21.04 Desktop ISO. Save the file to your local hard drive. It’s a 2.6 GB file so it will take a few minutes (or longer) to download.

Step 2 – Download and Install balenaEtcher

Go to https://www.balena.io/etcher/ where you can download the Windows installer for balenaEtcher. Save the 124MB file to your local hard disk.

When you run the downloaded file, it’ll generate a popup dialog box with a license agreement. Click the “I agree” button to accept the license. It’ll launch the program. You should see this:

balendaEtcher - launch
Click image for full size

Step 3 – Flash the Ubuntu ISO file to the USB stick

  • Insert a USB stick into your machine The USB stick needs to be at least 4GB in size.
  • Click the ‘Flash from file’ button and select the Ubuntu ISO file you downloaded from Step 1.
  • Click the ‘Select target’ button and choose the USB stick. Make sure you don’t choose your system drive (which balenaEtcher should have hidden).
  • Click the “Flash!” button. You’ll see a confirmation dialog box. Click “Yes” to begin the writing of the ISO file to the USB stick. Here’s an image of the flashing in progress.
balenaEtcher - flash
Click image for full size

Once the ISO file has been written to the USB stick, balenaEtcher will validate that everything is in order. Here’s an image of the validation process in progress.

balendaEtcher - validating
Click image for full size

If everything goes ok, you’ll see

balentaEtcher - flash complete
Click image for full size

We’ll now use the Ubuntu USB stick to install Ubuntu 21.04 on your hard drive.

All articles in this series:

Linux For Starters: Your Guide to Linux
1What is Linux? Why use Linux? What do I need?
2Choose a Linux distribution meeting your specific needs and requirements.
3Make a bootable Ubuntu USB stick in Windows.
4We show you how to install Ubuntu 21.04 on your hard disk.
5Things to do after installing Ubuntu.
6Navigating your way around the Desktop.
7Updating the system, install new software.
8Open source replacements for proprietary Windows desktop software.
9Get started with the power and flexibility of the terminal.
10We cover the basics of files and permissions.
11Getting help from your system.
12Learn all about the file system.
13Manipulating files from the shell.
14Maintain your system with these simple tips.
15Managing users on your system.
16Explore different desktops to GNOME 3.
17Gaming on Linux.
18Protect your privacy with this guide.
19Access the Windows desktop from Linux using a remote desktop client.
20Set up a virtual machine running Ubuntu as the host and openSUSE as the guest.
21Wine lets you run Windows programs on Linux without emulation.
22Extend your GNOME desktop with extensions and themes.
XUseful Linux commands.
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2 years ago

FYI: I use Pop!-OS and it came with “Popsicle” USB Flasher, and it actually works better than Etcher. It will also do multiple USB Flash Drives. The Popsicle GUI is a whole lot simpler than even Etcher

2 years ago

I’m not keen on Etcher but it’s perfectly acceptable for creating Ubuntu USB keys in Windows.

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1 year ago
Reply to  Craig

This article about install and prepare soft or terminal code for OS at USB or CD/DVD, – probably more supposed for this article more, than only one soft and more, than only one OS before new OS installing?
For example, by MacOS and terminal code for prepare USB stick, DVD, and more software at a list of badic OSes coming from to Linux.