DriveDroid is an Android application that allows you to boot into a number of Linux distributions on your computer from their ISO/IMG files stored on your device.
This enables you to create an emergency rescue disk on your smartphone or try out different Linux distributions instead of using many different USB pendrives or CDs.
DriveDroid has both free and paid versions which can be installed from the Google Play Store.
The paid version is ad-free and allows resizing of image files, but is otherwise exactly the same as the free version.
You can search for DriveDroid on Google Play or just follow this link.
Before you proceed, make sure your device is rooted or it will not work. Also make sure you have lots of space for the Linux distribution you plan to download.
Keep in mind that not all .iso files support being booted through this method, but most of the popular distributions are covered.
Once you have installed the application, it will attempt to guide you through the configuration process.
It will then check if your device is on its blacklist of known devices that are not working properly with the app. Then you will need to give the application root access.
At this point you’ll need to plug in your device to your computer using a USB cable. You will be prompted to select the USB system used by your device for handling USB. Most devices will work with the first one available.
Next, you should open your file explorer to confirm if your device is recognized as a USB drive or CD drive. In my case it was shown as a USB drive.
If your PC does not recognize your device, try going to the previous page and trying a different USB system or try connecting to a different PC.
How to set up a live bootable USB
With your device connected to a PC, open DriveDroid and select the Linux distribution you’d like to run. Most of the popular distros such as Ubuntu, Arch Linux, Linux Mint, Elementary OS, Fedora are well supported.
If you already have a downloaded .iso/image file, you can move it to your Android device, and select “Add image from file” instead.
Next, you’ll need to host the .iso./image file as a bootable USB. Just tap on the distro name, and select the highlighted option in the pop-up box.
Once this is done, you’ll see a notification on your device confirming that the image file is successfully hosted. Your Android device will now be treated as a regular USB drive and should follow normal protocols.
You can now reboot your computer into your BIOS settings and then boot into your hosted image file from the USB drive.
That’s it! Quick and easy, right? You can now carry all your favorite Linux distributions around with you everywhere on one device and boot into them at anytime. If you create a customized USB image file, you can also keep that on your Android device and boot into it using DriveDroid. Some people have had success installing Windows from DriveDroid, but the process is slightly different.
Have you used DriveDroid? Don’t forget to share your experiences in the comments section below.