Make USB drive

This page describes the following steps:

1. Make an Ubuntu USB drive
2. If you prefer an external HDD or SSD drive (optional)

Requirements:

– Ubuntu 12.04 64bit iso (download here)
– Rufus to create a bootable USB drive (download here)
– Windows PC (only for Rufus, all other stuff can be done with OSX or Ubuntu)
– Mac or Ubuntu PC (for  some terminal commands)
– USB stick
– External hard drive (optional)

1. Make an Ubuntu USB drive

1a. Download Ubuntu and Rufus
1b. Use Rufus to write the Ubuntu ISO to an USB stick

1a. Download Ubuntu and Rufus

Download Ubuntu 12.04 64 bit ISO here.

Why not Ubuntu 13.10?
I noticed quite some bugs. See the Known issues section.
Why not 32 bit?
I did not try this with the 32bit version. I think this wouldn’t work since it uses some sort of EFI boot, which is known not to work with 32bit.

Download Rufus here (at time of writing the latest version is 1.3.4).

Why Rufus?
Rufus is the easiest tool I could find which makes an USB stick that boots on Mac’s and PC’s.

1b. Use Rufus to write Ubuntu ISO to USB stick

Rufus seems not to support external hard drives, so this is the part where we use the USB stick (next chapter explains how to write the USB stick to an external hard drive).

Write ISO file to the USB stick with Rufus:

Rufus_ExampleThe settings shown above speak for them selves. Make sure you choose “MBR partition scheme for BIOS or UEFI computers”, this makes the USB stick bootable on most computers. Select the Ubuntu ISO by selecting and pressing .

Press “Start” and wait..

If everything was successful, you should now have an USB stick which boots the Ubuntu Live CD on most Mac’s and PC’s.

Since Rufus can’t find external hard drives, I added the next chapter. But if you’re happy with the USB stick you’re using now, you can skip to “Make it persistent“.

2. I prefer an external HDD or SSD drive (optional)

You can skip this chapter if you’re happy with the USB stick you’re using now.

2a. How to find where the drives are mounted
2b. Write the USB stick to the external hard drive

2a. How to find where the drives are located

Plugin both the USB stick (written with Rufus) and the preferred external hard drive. Now we are going find where they’re are located.

Ubuntu terminal:

# fdisk -l

OSX terminal:

$ diskutil list
The # means this command is executed with sudo rights, normal user commands are marked with $

Using OSX you should see something like this (looks pretty much the same using Ubuntu):

Diskutil_Example

In my case:

/dev/disk2 = USB stick
/dev/disk3 = external hard drive

Make absolutely sure which drive is the USB stick and which is the external hard drive.

2b. Write the USB stick to the external hard drive

Know you know where the USB stick and the external hard drive are located.

BEFORE YOU DO THE NEXT STEP, BE SURE YOU HAVE THE CORRECT DRIVES!

Why the warning?
We are using the dd command in the next step. This will overwrite any drive you selected without any warning. Therefore; be sure which is which. If you choose your internal hard drive by accident you will lose everything!

Unmount the external drive using the following command.. (you only have to unmount the drive you’re writing to)

Ubuntu terminal:

# umount /dev/sdX

Where sdX is your external hard drive.

OSX terminal:

# diskutil unmountDisk /dev/diskX

Where diskX is your external hard drive.

Next we will write the USB stick to the external hard drive using the dd command. THIS IS TE MOMENT WHERE YOU NEED TO BE SURE YOU HAVE THE CORRECT DRIVE LOCATIONS.

And this should be obvious: ALL THE DATA ON THE EXTERNAL HARD DRIVE WILL BE ERASED (if you didn’t know this, you probably don’t know what you’re doing and should reconsider continuing this tutorial).

What is this dd command of which you speak?
The dd command is used for making an identical image of a drive or partition by writing it bit by bit to a file or another drive. This tool can be used to make backups and write a backup back. It works something like this:
# dd if=[the source drive, partition or file] of=[the destination drive, partition or file] bs=[byte size]
“if” and “of” stand for “input file” and “output file”. By setting the “byte size” you can manually set the writing speed. With USB 2.0 I usually set it to something like 4096, using USB 3.0 you can easily set is to something like 8192 (or way higher, depending on the speed of your drive).

Ubuntu terminal:

# dd if=/dev/sdY of=/dev/sdX bs=4096

Where sdY is the USB stick and sdX is the external hard drive.

OSX terminal:

# dd if=/dev/diskY of=/dev/diskX bs=4096

Where diskY is the USB stick and diskX is the external hard drive.

And now we wait.. This could take a while..

Using Ubuntu there are ways to add a progress bar to the dd command, either manually or with an application like this one or that one (but I have no experience using them).

If everything was successful, you should now have an external hard drive which boots the Ubuntu Live CD on most Mac’s and PC’s.

<< Home Top Make it persistent >>

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