How to create a bootable Ubuntu USB from Mac and Windows

create bootable usb

With the different Linux-based distributions out there, it is very common that we want to create a Bootable USB in which we do not run any danger when trying a new version or making any type of modification. There are several ways to do it directly from Ubuntu, but in this article we are going to focus on how to do it from Windows and Mac, because there is always the possibility that we cannot access our computer with Ubuntu and we need to create one from another computer.

Logically, each operating system will have its method or application to create it, but all are valid. Perhaps the one with the most options is Windows, one of them being the one that I liked the most of all the methods I have tried. Next we go on to detail how to create a Live USB o USB Bootable with operating systems that we don't usually talk about in Ubunlog.

How to create a Bootable USB from Windows

LiLi USB Creator

LiLi USB Creator

By far, LiLi USB Creator It is my favorite method of creating a Bootable USB. The interface is very intuitive and allows us both to create a Live USB in which the changes made will not be saved and to use the Persistent Mode in which all the changes made will be saved. Or, well, all the changes we can make in 4GB, which is the maximum we can give to our unit.

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Creating a Bootable USB or Live USB with LiLi USB Creator is very simple. It will be enough that we carry out these steps:

  1. We download LiLi USB Creator (Download).
  2. We put the Pendrive in a USB port.
  3. Now we have to follow the steps that the interface shows us. The first step is to choose our USB drive.
  4. Next we have to choose the file from which we want to make a Bootable USB. We can choose a downloaded ISO, an installation CD or download the image to install it later. If we choose the third option, we can download the ISO from a very extensive list of operating systems.
  5. The next step is to indicate if we want it to be only Live, for which we will not touch anything, or if we want it to be in Persistent Mode. If we choose the second option, we can tell you what size we will give to our hard drive up to a maximum of 4GB (the maximum that the FAT32 format supports).
  6. In the next step I usually check all three boxes. The middle one, which is unchecked by default, is for you to format the drive before creating the Bootable USB.
  7. Finally, we touch on the beam and wait.



Surely you already know this option. It is available for both Linux and Windows and Mac. Create a Bootable USB with UNetbootin it is as simple as:

  1. We download UNetbootin (Download)
  2. We open UNetbootin.
  3. Next we have two options: the one you see in the previous image is to create the USB from a downloaded image. If we check "Distribution", we can download the ISO image from a list of available operating systems.
  4. We tap on accept and wait for the process to finish.

How to create a Bootable USB from Mac


As we said before, UNetbootin also available for Mac. The explanation for Linux and Windows also applies to OS X, so it is not worth mentioning anything beyond recalling the page to download the tool.

Flash and Linux logos
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From the terminal

Terminal on OS X

Another way to create a Bootable USB, and the one recommended by Canonical, is to do it from the Terminal. We will do it by following these steps:

  1. If we don't have the Ubuntu ISO image downloaded, we download it.
  2. We open a Terminal (from Applications / Utilities, from the Launchpad or from Spotlight)
  3. We convert the ISO image to DMG with the following command (substituting path / to / file by the actual path):
hdiutil convert -format UDRW -o ~/ruta/al/archivo.img ~/path/to/ubuntu.iso
  • Note: OS X tends to put ".dmg" at the end of the file automatically.
  1. We execute the following command to obtain a list of devices:
diskutil list
  1. We introduce our Pendrive
  2. We re-enter the previous command to see which node assigns to our USB Pendrive, such as for example / dev / disk2.
  3. We execute the following command, where the "N" is the number that we have obtained in the previous step (something that will be repeated in the rest of the commands):
diskutil unmountDisk /dev/diskN
  1. We execute the following command, replacing "path / to / file" with the path to our .dmg file:
sudo dd if=/ruta/al/archivo.img of=/dev/diskN bs=1m
  1. Finally, we execute the following command to remove the USB:
diskutil eject /dev/diskN

And we would already have our USB Bootable with Ubuntu created. Now you should not have any problem to create a USB Bootable with Ubuntu regardless of the operating system you use.

From here, we can install Ubuntu from USB with the bootable unit that we just created by following the steps above.

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  1.   Jose Francisco Barrantes placeholder image said

    thanks. . . what it occupied, I can do it for Linux - ubuntu - kubuntu etc. . . but for Windows NO. . . let's try that! 😉

  2.   Alonso Alvarez Juárez said

    Excellent contribution I did not know it for Mac OS Thank you

  3.   Victor said

    Thank you very much, you have helped me a lot. You have to modify point 8: in "of = / dev / rdiskN" the r is left over, you should put "of = / dev / diskN"

  4.   jose said

    UNetbootin does not work for me, I did all the steps and go to the netbook to install it and I got a series of continuous numbers and then it says the following FAT-fs (sdb1): error, invalid access to FAT entry 0x and another series of numbers and continuous letters

  5.   xDD said

    You can also with Etcher

  6.   matrushko said

    I could not install the damn windows 7 on an SSD for an asus eepc, very limited in performance and I have tried this one and… voila! it works.

    The downside is that I have NEVER -or almost- used linux, and it is something completely new for me. If there is a short tutorial and pa'tontos, I would ask you to put it here, without prejudice to the fact that I start looking for one in google.

    I'm only interested in:

    Web navigator

    and a good video player that allows subtitles and LIGHTWEIGHT photo player like ACDSEE in its old version.

    Thank you!

  7.   José Antonio said

    After point 8 I get the message
    "The drive is not readable for this computer"