How to create a LIVE Thumbdrive of Ubuntu

Try Ubuntu w/o changing your Windows setup

USB Creator

Linux Live USB Creator

This article shows you how to create a Ubuntu “live” USB thumb drive or CD. (The word “live” means that the resulting disk will boot and run on your Windows computer independent of the installed Operating System & hard drive.)

The creation process is all done in Windows. AND, it is super simple. The only “problem” is that you must download the 700MB *.iso file from Ubuntu.com – which could take a few minutes. But when you have the iso file, the process is both easy and quick. All together, you could have Ubuntu up and running in about 30 minutes!

Afterward, running the live disk allows Windows users to use Linux commands and programs – without modification to their Windows computer or setup.

Here is a video clip of the process:

Prerequisites:

  • Must have a Windows computer with a USB 2.0 (or newer) port that can be used as a boot device. Most newer computers will meet this requirement.
  • USB Thumbdrive with at least 2GB of space. This could be ANY type of removable media that works in a USB adapter (memory stick, sdcard, micro sd, etc). I recommend using a device with at least 4GB available.
  • Download theLinux Live USB Creator(LiLi) program here: http://www.linuxliveusb.com/en/download (click here for a direct download of the exe file)
  • Download the Ubuntu (iso) file here: http://www.ubuntu.com/download. If you do not download the file now, the LiLi program is capable of downloading it for you. Also, the program will allow you to create the thumbdrive with some other version of Linux – which it can also download for you.

Process: (Windows)

  1. Install the LiLi program. Most of you use Windows MUCH more than I do so you should not need help with this :-). If you do need help, check with the teenager that lives next door. He/she is probably a Windows EXPERT!
  2. Copy (or move) the Ubuntu???.iso file into the folder with the LiLi program. You could leave the file on the desktop or in the downloads folder (or anywhere that you can locate it) but it is simpler if you move it to the LiLi folder.
  3. Insert your USB Thumbdrive into an available USB port on the computer
  4. Execute the LiLi program & fill in the blanks..
  5. The USB “Key” is the “thumb drive” that you inserted in the computer. Be sure to select the correct item.
  6. The “Source” is the ubuntu???.iso file that you downloaded. If you moved it as I recommended, it will just pop up in the dialog.
  7. The slider for “Persistence” should be moved to the far right. This will use all available space on the thumbdrive. For most purposes, around 500MB is sufficient. BUT, in our case, we will be copying files into the system and running scripts there, so we want at least a couple GB of space.
  8. Select the option to FORMAT the USB Disk to FAT32 and “erase” the existing data. If your Thumbdrive is large enough, you COULD leave the existing data on the drive and create the Ubuntu “live” disk in the unused portion but I would not recommend it.
  9. Press “CREATE” to start building the “live” disk.

When the process is finished, remove the Thumb Drive & start using Linux!

Procedure: (How to use it)

  1. Power off your computer.
  2. Insert the USB Thumbdrive in one of the available USB ports on the computer
  3. Power on the computer
  4. If your computer presents any dialogs asking whether you want to use the USB or alternate boot device, respond appropriately.
  5. If the computer boots into Windows, just power off, move the Thumbdrive to another USB port and try that. If it still fails, you will need to set the “boot devices” option in your BIOS. If you don’t know how to do that, call up your teenage neighbor or just “Google” it 🙂
  6. When Ubuntu presents a screen asking if you want to “Try Ubuntu” or “Install Ubuntu” (takes a couple of minutes) click on the button (below the graphic) that says, “Try Ubuntu”
  7. After another minute or so, the computer will present the Ubuntu desktop and you can start issuing Linux commands or programs!

As always, we appreciate your comments. Please tell us whether this worked for you and how we can improve the guide.

 

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28 Responses to How to create a LIVE Thumbdrive of Ubuntu

  1. knight says:

    ray i know i have exceede my qota of questions but as you mentioned in the reply to my question you said that “The commands above that start with “sudo” are done from a terminal in Ubuntu.” so how can i acess the “terminal”

    • Ray says:

      First, if you use the same (real) username & email address, your comments will be automatically approved.
      Second, as I said before, use Google to search for the answers. I entered “ubuntu terminal” and this is the first hit:

      Contents
      Starting a Terminal
      In Unity
      Unity is the default Desktop Environment used as of 11.04. Where systems are not ready for Unity they revert to Gnome which is also used in previous releases such as Ubuntu 10.04 LTS (Lucid), see next sub-section.

      The easiest way to open the Terminal is to use the ‘search’ function on the dash. Or you can click on the ‘More Apps’ button, click on the ‘See more results’ by the installed section, and find it in that list of applications. A third way, available after you click on the ‘More Apps’ button, is to go to the search bar, and see that the far right end of it says ‘All Applications’. You then click on that, and you’ll see the full list. Then you can go to Accessories > Terminal after that. So, the methods in Unity are:

      Dash -> Search for Terminal
      Dash -> More Apps -> ‘See More Results’ -> Terminal
      Dash -> More Apps -> Accessories -> Terminal
      Keyboard Shortcut: Ctrl + Alt + T

      BTW, the “Dash” is the circular icon at the top left of your screen.

  2. knight says:

    I cannot get my computer to boot from my pendrive i tried checking the solution online but the solution says that i have to change my boot sequence i ve tried it many times but i am unable to correct it

    • Ray says:

      Possibly you did not properly create the drive and it is not bootable. Try it on a different computer.
      Some older computer require an updated bios before they support usb boot.

      • vijay says:

        it worked!!!! now i can get my PC to boot from the pen drive but the ubuntu dosent recognize any of my cds it also dosent recognize my nook tablet when i connect it to the usb port.when i go to the home folder it shows the nook and my cd under the devices but when i click on it it gives an error message saying
        “unable to mount nook
        Adding read ACL for uid 999 to `/media/ubuntu’ failed: Operation not supported”

  3. Dave says:

    In the “caution” box at the top of the site, you state that this can be done on a USB thumbdrive or CD. I could not find any information on creating this on a CD. Did I miss something or is there another link? I would like to have a more permanent copy of this since I use my thumbdrives for many different things. Thanks.

    • Ray Waldo says:

      The “caution” is not meant as a warning of some type. It is simply a FORMAT that I use to offset a small paragraph for some purpose. It is normally interpreted correctly by your browser. You must be reading it via a mobile app?

      It would not work correctly via a CD. You CAN do a CD by going to the http://ubuntu.com website and download the .iso file and just burn it (as an ISO) to a CD. It will run and you can use Ubuntu but it will not have any storage space on the CD so it cannot do what is needed here.

      You MUST use a USB Stick / Thumbdrive for this function. They are very cheap – less than $10 at Walmart. Any size greater than 2GB is fine. You can create the drive on an SDCard if you have a USB adapter for it. However, your computer might not boot from it.

  4. Dave says:

    In the “caution” box at the top of the site, you state that this can be done on a USB thumbdrive or CD. I could not find any information on creating this on a CD. Did I miss something or is there another link? I would like to have a more permanent copy of this since I use my thumbdrives for many different things. Thanks.

    • Ray Waldo says:

      The “caution” is not meant as a warning of some type. It is simply a FORMAT that I use to offset a small paragraph for some purpose. It is normally interpreted correctly by your browser. You must be reading it via a mobile app?

      It would not work correctly via a CD. You CAN do a CD by going to the http://ubuntu.com website and download the .iso file and just burn it (as an ISO) to a CD. It will run and you can use Ubuntu but it will not have any storage space on the CD so it cannot do what is needed here.

      You MUST use a USB Stick / Thumbdrive for this function. They are very cheap – less than $10 at Walmart. Any size greater than 2GB is fine. You can create the drive on an SDCard if you have a USB adapter for it. However, your computer might not boot from it.

  5. Plainfieldrob says:

    Worked perfectly for me, thanks!

  6. Plainfieldrob says:

    Worked perfectly for me, thanks!

  7. Don says:

    Is there a way to make this in windows instead of Ubuntu?

    Thanks

    • Ray Waldo says:

      The thumb drive is created in windows.

      I assume that you are speaking of creating an SDCard for something? Ask the question on the article for whatever you are trying to do.

  8. Don says:

    Is there a way to make this in windows instead of Ubuntu?

    Thanks

    • Ray Waldo says:

      The thumb drive is created in windows.

      I assume that you are speaking of creating an SDCard for something? Ask the question on the article for whatever you are trying to do.

  9. Don says:

    I have not tried it on other computer, but I have tried using different usb sticks with same results.

    • Ray Waldo says:

      Sorry, but I don’t really have that much expertise with Ubuntu – From my perspective, it just works.

      I have almost no problems with Ubuntu. When I do have an issue, I just google “ubuntu ” and the answer is usually easy to find and fix. You might also want to go to the Ubuntu.com website and check their forums for help.

  10. Don says:

    I have not tried it on other computer, but I have tried using different usb sticks with same results.

    • Ray Waldo says:

      Sorry, but I don’t really have that much expertise with Ubuntu – From my perspective, it just works.

      I have almost no problems with Ubuntu. When I do have an issue, I just google “ubuntu ” and the answer is usually easy to find and fix. You might also want to go to the Ubuntu.com website and check their forums for help.

  11. Don says:

    I have a dell laptop d610 and this will not work for me. The ubuntu screen freezes when I boot the the usb.

    • Ray Waldo says:

      I don’t know what might be the issue but I do know that I have used my Dell e1505 for the past 6 years – mostly on Ubuntu. I have booted it with the thumb drive many times and it works well.
      Is it possible that your thumb drive is not functional? Have you tried it on a different computer?

  12. Don says:

    I have a dell laptop d610 and this will not work for me. The ubuntu screen freezes when I boot the the usb.

    • Ray Waldo says:

      I don’t know what might be the issue but I do know that I have used my Dell e1505 for the past 6 years – mostly on Ubuntu. I have booted it with the thumb drive many times and it works well.
      Is it possible that your thumb drive is not functional? Have you tried it on a different computer?

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