How to Make a Bootable Linux USB Drive in Windows 8

by Ross McKillop on July 9, 2013

Linux Windows

This tutorial will guide you through the steps to create a bootable USB thumb drive of your favorite Linux distribution using Windows 8.

Make sure you have the following items ready before you start this tutorial -

  1. A USB Thumb drive
  2. The .iso file of the version of Linux you want to create a bootable drive from

The list of supported versions of Linux is nearly endless – so this method should work no matter which version of Linux you want to install (Ubuntu, Debian, Fedora, OpenSUSE and many others). If it’s Ubuntu you want to use, here’s their download page: http://www.ubuntu.com/download/desktop.

Once you’ve downloaded the .iso file of the version of Linux you want to install, follow these steps:

  1. Plug in your USB thumb drive. Copy any files that you want to keep to your PC because this process involves wiping all the data from that thumb drive.
  2. Head over to the Pendrive download page, scroll to the bottom and click the Download UUI button. Save the file to your Downloads folder. Once the download has completed, double-click the file to run it.

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  4. Click the I Agree button.

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  6. Now you’ll be presented with the main Universal USB Installer screen. There are three steps to create your bootable drive. First, select the “drop-down menu” next to Step 1: Select a Linux Distribution from the dropdown to put on your USB

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  8. Select the version of Linux you want to use. As you can see, the list is huge.

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  10. Now click the Browse button next to Step 2.

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  12. Navigate to your Linux .iso file, select it, and click the Open button.

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  14. Place a check in the box labelled Show all Drives. The name will switch to Now Showing All Drives.

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  16. Open Windows Explorer and confirm the drive letter that your USB stick is currently using. As you can see in the example screenshot below, my USB drive is D:

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  18. In the Step 3: section, use the drop-down menu to select the drive letter that corresponds with your USB thumb drive. As you can see, I selected D:, as that’s the drive letter assigned to my thumb drive.

    Next to the drop-down menu, make sure there is a check-mark in the box indicating that your thumb drive will be formatted. Click the Create button.


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  20. Review the information to confirm it’s accurate, then click the Yes button.

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  22. Sit back and watch as the Universal USB Installer does its thing.

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  24. Additional windows may ‘pop-up’- this is normal. It’s also normal if your Desktop background ‘blinks’ or changes briefly.

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  26. Once you see Installation Done. Process is Completed!, click the Close button.

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  28. If you go back to Windows Explorer, you’ll see that the drive letter associated with your USB thumb drive will be titled PENDRIVE. If you select that drive, you’ll see all the files that will be used to install Linux via your newly created bootable drive. Eject the drive as you normally would and you’re done!

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  30. You can now use this USB thumb drive to boot into (and/or install) Linux.