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!

How to: Create bash aliases for frequently used commands

The alias command can be quite useful for creating handy shortcuts and save you some typing. It has this general syntax:

# General alias syntax
alias name='command'

where ‘name’ is the alias name and command is any valid shell command. If you want your aliases to be persistant then put them in your ~/.bashrc file.

For example, you can create some handy shortcuts for apt-get:

# Alias for apt-get
alias install='sudo apt-get install'
alias addrepo='sudo apt-add-repository'
alias remove='sudo apt-get remove'
alias autoremove='sudo apt-get autoremove'
alias update='sudo apt-get update'
alias upgrade='sudo apt-get upgrade'
alias distupgrade='sudo apt-get dist-upgrade'

Restart your shell and you should be good to go!

Now you can simply type install firefox instead of sudo apt-get install firefox.

It is a common practice to put all your aliases in a separate file and then load that file into your .bashrc. The way to do this is to copy all the aliases to another file say, .bash_aliases.

Then, edit your .bashrc file and add the following code:

# include .bash_aliases if it exists
if [ -f "$HOME/.bash_aliases" ]; then
. "$HOME/.bash_aliases"

Inform the shell of these changes by executing the command: exec $SHELL


If you are on Ubuntu, you do not have to edit the .bashrc file; .bash_aliases will be already included for you.