Burning ISO to USB flash drive in Debian / Ubuntu / Linux


100% Tier-1 Gogent
I like many here do a lot of OS installs.   Still mainly burning ISOs to discs (CD or DVD).  It's wasteful and pain to organize.  Sure PXE would be ideal, some day :)

Long been meaning to find out how to put little flash sticks to good use since most modern computers support booting from USB.  Where I want to be for a bunch of different reasons.

Being a Debian user (bound to work for others in Linux land) we can use gddrescue to 'burn' that ISO onto a USB stick.

Install gddrescue:

apt-get install gddrescue

Plug the USB stick into a computer.  Make sure it doesn't auto-mount (if so unmount it).  To determine if mounted do this:


That should display everything mounted.  If you find anything related to that USB stick mounted, do this:

umount /mnt/whatever   [where /mnt/whatever is the mounted point]

Determine where the USB stick is

fdisk -l

Carefully match up the stick size to relative /dev/id, failure to do so will result in you writing over your precious data on wrong drive

Now navigate to where you have that ISO image.  In terminal again:

ddrescue -D --force isoimage.iso /dev/sd[location from above]

ex: ddrescue -D --force isoimage.iso /dev/sdd

You are off to the races, ddrescue should start outputting status updates on the progress:

GNU ddrescue 1.17
Press Ctrl-C to interrupt
rescued:   118358 kB,  errsize:       0 B,  current rate:      5600 kB/s
   ipos:   118358 kB,   errors:       0,    average rate:    9104 kB/s
   opos:   118358 kB,    time since last successful read:       1 s
Copying non-tried blocks...


Active Member
Or if you have a windows spare computer laying around, just install lili (LinuxLive USB creator) a do 3 clicks. +1