Make Linux Live Disks Easily with Etcher

Make Linux Live Disks Easily with Etcher

Making live USB disks on Linux has always been hit or miss. You could use dd and the command line, and it’s mostly a good tool, but a lot of times the dd tool can destroy a drive. Other GUI tools like Unetbootin or Gnome disks are good too, but they’re mostly hit or  miss, and sometimes the flashing gets messed up.

This is why Etcher is such a great tool. It’s elegant, so anyone can use it easily, and it doesn’t mess up when you flash an image. There is no more making a bootable flash drive with Unetbootin only to find out that a .c32 menu file is missing or some other error.


Installing Etcher is refreshingly simple. Best of all, the developers have decided to go with AppImage instead of bothering with DEB or RPMs, so the program is compatible with all Linux distributions and is just as easy to install. To get started, head over to this website, and click the “Download for Linux” button.

Once you’ve downloaded the Etcher AppImage, you’ll need to get a terminal window ready. Once the terminal is open, it’s time to enter the directory in which the Etcher executable was downloaded to.

Once there you’ll need to mark Etcher as executable by the user. If this isn’t done, Etcher can’t be installed.



After Etcher has been marked as executable, it’s time to run the installation.


Running the above command will start a GUI installation tool. The tool will ask for your password.


After that, AppImage will ask you a “yes or no” question. Select yes. After that, Etcher will be installed on your system.


How to make a Linux live disk

First, launch Etcher. Now that it’s installed, it should be easy to find in your Application menu. Once launched, click the “Select image” button. A file dialog will open, and you’ll be able to browse and find an ISO or a compressed image.


When you’ve located the ISO or compressed image file, plug in your USB flash drive or SD card, and click the “Select drive” button. Use the menu and find the drive you wish to use. Don’t worry about clicking on a hard drive by mistake. Etcher has been designed to protect you from accidentally flashing images to your main hard drive.


Now that the flash drive and operating system image have been selected, it’s time to flash. Click the “Flash” button under step 3 pictured above and start the process. Just wait until the process is complete, and you’ll have a Linux USB disk ready to use.


Live USB disks are increasingly important as the world moves away from optical media. That is why it’s very important to have a disk creation program that works every single time. This might not sound like a huge task, but after using Linux for a very long time, it seems as if it’s a tall order.

That’s why I’m such a huge fan of Etcher. It’s simple, easy to install, and gets things done right every time.

Linux users: What’s your favorite way to make a live USB on Linux? Tell us below!

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  1. My favorite tool to make a multiboot live USB on Linux is MultiBootUSB – – because it is open-source, cross platform (Windows and GNU/Linux) and free.

    For GNU/Linux I also recommend MultiSystem – .

    I also like LinuxLive USB Creator – – for Windows, because it is also open-source and free.

  2. I’ve been using Linux since 2004, when things were still “green” in certain areas, and aside from Brasero and the optical disc format I’ve used Unetbootin,….dd….and PenDrive, to me they all seemed to work for one or two flashes then something would go wrong, and I’d have to whip out the old Windows 7 laptop to “format” the USB drive back into service, and sometimes even THAT wouldn’t help! So I’m glad this came along, I will test it out on a few systems and see if it can hold water, if it does, then it goes into my permanent arsenal of helping to convert others to the Linux platform!!

  3. Thank u for this notification. Finally a tool that seems to get the job done right. My own experience with other apps for this is almost the same as yours. Got some USB drive messed up with dd (which I still like using when everything else fails) and unetbootin is unreliable as hell.

  4. I’ve been a linux user for about ten years, and i can tell you that dd is the best possible tool for the job. in keeping with the *nix philosophy, it does one job – very well. dd is incredibly stable, and anyone who says that it has failed to do the job isn’t exactly telling the whole story.

    There are however two main reasons why ISO to flash drive writes using dd don’t result in a bootable image. The first is that the original ISO image that you’ve downloaded has been corrupted. Unfortunately this is a very common issue, and if it is the case then no tool designed to create a bootable USB drive will work properly. The second possibility is unfortunately the cause of most problems on any system, whether that be Linux, windows, or anything else… And that of course is user error.

    I only bring this up because I feel that oftentimes dd gets a bad rap, which is unfair because ‘almost’ every tool that creates bootable flash drives uses dd to do it. But the strength with using a graphical cool is that it often times diminishes the capacity for user error, which for most people makes them a better choice.

    I personally still use dd most of the time for these types of tasks, but I will admit that sometimes if I have to do it repetitively or if I’m feeling lazy I will turn to a graphical tool. In those cases my number one choice has typically been mintstick, the tool developed by the linux minr team. (although i dont use mint anymore, i nevertheless still install mintstick on any distro im using!)

    And I have to admit I’m not a purist – i do like eye candy. When you take into account aesthetics, etcher is king of the hill. Another huge bonus (in my opinion) is the fact that etcher utilizes appimage, which i feel is far superior to any other “universal” linux binary format – at least from the end user point of view.

    Ive been using etcher for about a week, and at this point it seems likely to become a permanent addition to my linux toolbox.

    that being said, dd will always be my first choice ;)

  5. I have never had any problems creating Linux live (bootable) sticks. USB Image writer on this version of Mint 17.4 and other packages earlier versions such as UNetBootin. It is not and never has been unreliable..

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