How to: Create Live USB, the easy way!

Ever wondered if you could create a live usb without using any third party software ? Read on…


  • Linux
  • USB Stick
  • ISO image of your favorite linux distro

We’ll be using the dd command to write the iso file to the usb stick. The general syntax is shown below:

# Use the dd command to write to your usb
# parameters: if='input file', of='output file/device'
# use dmesg to find out your usb device. Ex: /dev/sdb
# replace sdx with your device name
sudo dd if=path_to_iso.iso of=/dev/sdx

And now, the example. Suppose you want to create a live usb out of your ubuntu-12.04 iso, assuming that your usb stick is mounted at /dev/sdb, the command to issue is:

# Example
sudo dd if=ubuntu-12.04.iso of=/dev/sdb

Extremely simple, isn’t it ?


  • Take extreme caution while specifying the output device! You do not want to be messing up your HDD.
  • As with many linux commands, you will not see any output when you issue the command. You will be notified when the process is complete.
  • Your USB stick will be formatted, ensure that you have a backup of your data!