Install Linux using a USB stick

Because something happened to my main Arch install (I don’t know exactly what I screwed up, but half the time X wouldn’t boot and I was stuck at a blank screen), I decided to download the latest release and re-install it. However, I accidentally ended up with a file with an *.img extension, which is not an image for a CD-ROM but for a USB stick. I must have clicked the wrong link somewhere…

In any case, I knew my PC is able to boot from a USB stick, and I didn’t want to wait for the “right” download to finish, so I gave it a try. “Burning” it to the stick was the most difficult part, but as always, the Arch wiki came to the rescue. The CLI command “dd” doesn’t offer much visual feedback, so I just waited until the light on the stick stopped blinking, checked if the job had indeed finished, rebooted, and installed.

The package install was quite a bit faster than usual, so I’ll keep installing distributions this way (if possible). It’ll save me a lot of CD-ROMs that’s for sure, and the USB stick can contain 4GB instead of 700 MB…should open another range of possibilities.


7 Responses to Install Linux using a USB stick

  1. flammenwurfer says:

    USB stick is always my preferred method. Especially when I’m just trying a distro, so I don’t have tons of distro cds laying around that I will never use again.

  2. and you can UNetbootin ( to burn ISO images to your USB stick.

  3. Adrian says:

    I have a problem with this, I wrote an usb IMG to my USB-stick (i think it was Ubuntu or Arch with unetbootin) but now only a tiny 84mb partition is visible in both linux and windows, how can i “erase” the image and gain back the lost space?

  4. celettu says:

    Adrian: simply reformatting it would do the trick.

  5. Tricky says:

    @Adrian repartition the stick. (I’m probably too late and you’ve probably figured this out already)
    In Windows:
    right-click (My) Computer, click Manage, find “Disk Management”.
    In *nix GUI, use gparted (gnome) or partitionmanager (kde).
    In *nix cmdline, I recommend cfdisk (much easier than fdisk)

  6. Adrian says:

    I tried, but it doesn’t let me set up a new partition on the unallocated space.. And i don’t have immediate access to a linux installation..


  7. Tricky says:

    Oddly enough, I’ve been working on documenting (what I think) will help you:

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: